Spring Cleaning Shortcuts
- Masking tape and Sharpie
- All-purpose cleaner
- Cotton cloths
- Plastic whisk broom
- Apron with pockets
- Plastic putty knife
- Handy Ladder Pail ($21, amazon.com), filled with a few drops of dish soap and a half gallon of warm water
- Old sheet
- Invisible Shield Glass & Surface Protector ($9, unelko.com)
1. Remove all screens, labeling each with masking tape and a Sharpie to indicate where it belongs.
2. Lay screens on the driveway, spritz with all-purpose cleaner, and spray with the hose. Wipe with a dry cloth to remove dirt. Flip the screens and repeat. Air-dry.
3. Sweep window exteriors and frames with a whisk broom.
4. Put on your apron and stuff the pockets with a few cloths, a putty knife, and a squeegee. Attach the pail (filled with your cleaning solution) to the ladder. Start with the high windows.
5. Dip a cloth into the bucket, wring it out, and wash one window, using circular strokes and working from the outside corners in. Use the putty knife to scrape off stuck-on grime.
6. Squeegee the window, starting in a top corner and working down and across in a continuous S motion. Wipe any drips from the windowsill with a fresh cloth. Follow these steps for all windows.
7. Remove pail from the ladder and head inside. Lay down the sheet to catch drips. Clean each window with your cloth and squeegee, as in steps 5 and 6.
8. Replace the screens.
9. Apply the protector (follow the label directions). On the exterior, it makes rainwater bead up and roll off, so less dirt and residue sticks to the glass. On the interior, it makes smudges come off with a dry cloth.
Time investment: No sugarcoating: Thorough window cleaning can be an all-day job.
Rather hire a pro? You’ll get the best results by calling in a window washer. Prices run from about $40 to $60 an hour. A home with 20 average-size -windows will take about four to six hours.