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I just tried to clean all the windows in my flat. In general, they now look great; should have done it ages ago!

However, maybe half of the windows have very faint streak marks on them. The sort of lines that you might get from running very-slightly-greasy fingers across the glass. It's only visible if the light hits it right, and/or if you look very closely, but it is there. It's not lint, just "lines" in the polish, I think.

I've tried to "buff" it out with further rubbing with a dry, clean sheet of paper towel (which is what I used to do the original cleaning), but no joy.

My instinct is that I used too much window cleaner (the windows were VERY dirty prior to cleaning) and these streaks are excess cleaner/polish?

Is my guess correct? Is that a thing that happens if you use too much cleaner?

Either way, is there an easy way to fix this?

  • Can try to post photos of the streaks, or of the window cleaner product that I'm using ... if anyone thinks that's going to be important to answer this. Let me know in the comments, if so. – Reinstate Monica --Brondahl-- Oct 14 at 7:16
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    No, you didn't use too much cleaner. Very dirty windows need several cleanings. That's the fact of the matter. There's residue left behind that needs to be removed. – isherwood Oct 14 at 13:53
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The best way to overcome this is to re-wash the windows with an entirely different technique.

  1. Get yourself some microfiber cleaning cloths and a silicone edge squeegee.
  2. Get a plastic bucket with some warm to hot water.
  3. Add some general purpose cleaning soap. I like to use Fabuloso from Costco as it is cost effective and works well.
  4. Wash down a window pane with the soapy water and a microfiber cloth.
  5. Use the squeegee to remove all remaining water from the window. With each swipe of the squeegee wipe its blade with another dry or wrung out microfiber cloth.
  6. Carefully dry the edges of the frame of the window pane where the squeegee didn't quite fit or lifted off the glass at the end of the stroke.

Some other things:

  1. If the windows are very dirty it can be helpful to use two buckets and two sets of the washing cloths. Get the dirt off with the first bucket and wash. Use the second bucket to come back and rinse the pane before proceeding to the squeegee step.
  2. When cleaning multiple windows that are very dirty do change the bucket of water often.
  3. When cleaning windows on the outside get a kit that includes an extendable pole and a head that consists of a microfiber mop on one side and a squeegee on the other side. When using these a rectangular shaped bucket is handy so the 12 - 13 inch wide mop/squeegee head fits nicely into the bucket.

Once I discovered washing windows this way I have never ever reconsidered the use of commercial window spray cleaners and paper towels -- even for my car windows.

  • Thanks for the suggestion, but that's not a useful one. Clearly using the spray can work as ~half the windows came out just fine. I'm sure the technique you've described is very effective (indeed it's what I see professional window washers doing, so it must be pretty good!), but it also requires a bunch more equipment and it's going to splash water everywhere, so it's not a straight forward alternative. – Reinstate Monica --Brondahl-- Oct 14 at 9:56
  • I use a squeegee also. The problem with paper towels is that they need to be clean or you will smear the dirt around. If you don’t want to squeegee, buy a huge package of microfiber cloths. Change them often. Wash them afterward. – Mattman944 Oct 14 at 14:26
  • @Mattman944 - Before I bought several squeegees I used microfiber cloths to clean windows and mirrors. First wash down the window with your soapy water. Then take another rinsed cloth that has been wrung out to be as dry as possible and use that to dry the glass. It works pretty good but not ever as good as a squeegee. The second cloth invariably leaves some dust fibers on the glass. A good squeegee job does not do that. – Michael Karas Oct 14 at 15:09
  • @Brondahl - It is not a "bunch more equipment" to wash windows and mirrors as I describe. With the cost of paper towels and spray cleaners these days it does not take long to cover the cost of a squeegee and some microfiber cloths. Secondly it does not have to splash water everywhere, you just have to adjust how wet your wash cloth is. The type of microfiber cloths I use are really rather absorbent and can control the washing effectively. I feel confident that once you tried it you would wonder why you had not done it long before. – Michael Karas Oct 14 at 15:17
  • #5 - wipe your tool. Every. Single. Time. +1 – Mazura Oct 14 at 21:48

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