Clean Those Hard-to-Reach Windows in 5 Easy Steps

If only every window in your home could be a first-floor window or a double-hung, tilt-sash window, you’d never need special tools or techniques to clean them. But for most homeowners, that’s simply not the case. Transoms, skylights, big picture windows, and older windows may all require a little ingenuity to clean.

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Fortunately, cleaning those hard-to-reach windows is definitely doable. With the right tools and the right plan, you can get all of your windows sparkling clean for spring. 

Assemble the Right Tools

Unless all of the windows in your house are designed to tilt, turn, or slide for easy cleaning, you’re going to need special tools to clean them. For cleaning exterior windows, you’ll need a long-handled window-cleaning tool with a microfiber pad and squeegee, a garden hose, and outdoor window cleaner. We suggest buying a bottle of cleaner that attaches to your garden hose so you can easily spray the cleaner onto the exterior of your hard-to-reach windows. 

For cleaning the interior of hard-to-reach windows, you will need your window-cleaning tool again, some towels to catch dripping water, and a gentle window cleanser. You can buy an over-the-counter window cleaner, or you can make your own.

Have a Strategy

If you really want to learn how to clean windows like a pro, you need to learn how to plan your window-cleaning route. Will you clean the interior of the windows first and then move to the outside, or will you start with the outside? It depends – if you’re can’t reach the outsides of your windows from inside the house, you’ll have to do the inside and outside separately. But if you can reach the outsides of some of your windows, but not others, from inside the house, you’ll have to plan a little more carefully. 

Plan to clean the exterior of your upper windows before cleaning the exterior of your lower windows, so that suds and dirt don’t drip down onto clean windows. Clean your windows on a cloudy day, or while they’re in the shade, since direct sunlight can make them streak, and make sure the temperature is at least 50°F. Remove the screens before cleaning your windows.

Be Safe

For your safety, don’t clean windows on a windy day – wait until conditions are calm. Avoid climbing ladders to reach high windows – rent a scaffold instead, or use an extendable squeegee pole so you can remain firmly on the ground. It’s all too easy to fall off of a ladder when trying to scrub window glass. If you can’t reach a window with a squeegee or a scaffold, it’s time to call the pros.

Prep the Area

Before you apply water or window cleaner to a window, wipe the glass and the surrounding area with your microfiber pad to remove any dust, cobwebs, dead leaves, spiders, and other debris that could contaminate your work area. If you’re cleaning the interior of your windows, lay down some thick towels under the work area to catch and absorb any soap and water that may drip down.

Clean with a Gentle Window Cleanser

Before you apply any cleansers to the glass, dampen it either with a wet microfiber pad or sponge on an extendable squeegee pole, or with your garden hose. For the outsides of your windows, use a window cleaner formulated for exterior glass. For the insides of your windows, use a commercial window cleaner, vinegar, or plain water. Most window manufacturers build protective coatings into their windows, and you don’t want to accidentally damage this with a harsh cleaner. Nor should you scrub too hard. Be gentle when cleaning your windows.

Once you have finished cleaning your windows, rinse them from the top down. You can spray exterior windows with your garden hose to rinse them. Wipe off interior windows with a wet sponge or microfiber pad on an extendable squeegee pole. Exterior windows can be left to air-dry, but you can dry off the insides of your windows with a squeegee.

It can be tempting to let your hard-to-reach windows stay dirty, but you don’t need a jetpack to get to them. With these tips, you’ll soon have all your windows sparkling clean so the sun can shine through once again.

Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!

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