How To Clean Outside Windows You Can’t Reach

how to clean outside windows you cant reach

Throughout the year, dirt and grime accumulate on our windows, making them filthy and preventing natural sunlight from filtering inside. Here’s how to clean outside windows you can’t reach to achieve spotless and streak-free windows in high places. 

Unless you’re a trained window cleaner or have been successfully cleaning windows for decades, it’s challenging to clean windows spotlessly, without leaving behind residue. At the same time, cleaning exterior windows is a challenge in its own right that requires a ladder, physical strength, and balance. 

To prevent yourself from risking life and limb, read on to learn possible ways to clean seemingly inaccessible windows successfully.

In this article, we’ll look at basic methods that leave your window panes with a desirable shine and techniques to clean high rise windows from inside without hurting yourself. Additionally, we’ll provide invaluable tips, tricks, and homemade recipes for cleaning outside windows, inside windows, and other surfaces in the household.

Commonly Used Methods to Clean Outside Windows  

Clean windows make for a brighter, sun-lit home, but cleaning them is especially tricky, frustrating, and labor-intensive if you don’t wash your windows correctly. Employ these commonly-used and effective techniques to prevent your outdoor windows from looking grimier than before you started cleaning them.

Telescopic Squeegee 

Often, people are advised against cleaning unreachable windows themselves for reasons of safety. However, if you do decide to clean your windows without acquiring professional help, a Telescopic Squeegee is a useful tool that window cleaning companies swear by. 

If you’re a proficient window cleaner and general DIY’er, you may be looking toward using cleaning solutions that are more advanced than standard cleaning rags and used newspapers. You might want to know “What do professional window cleaners use?

If you’ve pondered these questions and others relating to what professional cleaner use to clean windows, this is one of the various tools they use.  

The advantage of owning one of these squeegees is that they can extend, helping you to reach those high windows easily from the ground. Therefore, instead of having to move around your ladder, you can slide this contraption from one area of your home to the next. 

A telescopic squeegee should form part of your apartment-friendly window cleaning kit, especially if you live five-floors up.   

However, if you do decide to invest in one of these window cleaning solutions, you must learn how to use it first – if you don’t know how they operate, they won’t be much use to you.

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Magnetic Window Cleaners

If you want to clean upstairs windows without a ladder, magnet window cleaners would be a viable solution for you. 

Magnetic window cleaners is another effective solution and life-changing invention that helps to remove tough dirt and grime, without having to call for outside help. 

Magnetic cleaners or gliders work to clean the interior and exterior windows sans ladders simultaneously. 

The nifty gadget comprises two squeegee wipers held together by a powerful magnet. It may take a few tries to perfect the gliding action, but once you do, you can enjoy streak-free window cleaning. 

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For smooth gliding and a professional finish, you must spray a cleaning solution on one side of the window.

Removing Sliding Windows

This method can only work if your windows are detachable. However, if your window panes are removable, it may be one of the best ways to clean windows, because you can eliminate dirt in those hard-to-reach crevices that are otherwise unreachable. 

For the most part, sliding windows are designed to be disconnected for cleaning purposes, and it’s a straightforward process done in three steps. 

  • Unlock the window and slide it halfway open – this must be done; otherwise, you won’t be able to lift it out of place. If the window doesn’t budge, don’t force it – there may be something blocking the path. 
  • Check for screws as your sliding windows might be securely fastened in place – loosen them with a screwdriver if this is the case. 
  • Lift the panel out of place using both hands, making sure to handle it with care to prevent cracking the glass. If the panel is particularly heavy, ask someone for help. 

Washing windows in this regard may be the best way to clean windows outside, but be careful when removing it. You don’t want to drop the window and break it while cutting yourself in the process. 

Helpful tip: you can always clean them in your bathtub if you’re short on space. 

If you can’t remove your windows, we’ve mentioned other methods to clean window screens in place and cleaning windows that can’t be removed that are as effective. 

Using A Ladder 

Extension ladders are the most direct ways to clean outside high rise windows. If you’re physically fit, comfortable with heights, and have a reasonably good center of gravity, this method of cleaning windows may work for you. 

Make sure that the terrain is leveled when securing your ladder because you don’t want your ladder to dislodge due to uneven grounding. 

For this task, you’ll need a professional-grade ladder that can be bought from any home depot store or online.

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Using A Mop

How do you clean windows without spending exorbitantly on expensive products? A mop comes in handy when attempting to clean out-of-reach places because it grants you the advantage of height.

Mops are typically used to clean floors, but they’re also effective for scrubbing windows. Clean your windows how you would your floors – by preparing a soapy mixture to remove dirt and grime. Then apply the household device to your windows and rub vigorously.

Attach A Window Cleaning Detergent To Your Hose 

A crafty way to clean your second-story windows, without perching on a precarious ladder, is to attach a sprayer filled with a cleaning solution of your choice. One word of caution, though, water that comes from your hose may hit your windows hard, resulting in hard water stains that require chemicals to remove. 

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Tips, Tricks, and Advice to Clean Filthy Windows

Unfortunately, cleaning windows isn’t as simple as hosing them down with water or spritzing them with household cleaning materials. They require hard work and skill, which is why many individuals use the services of window cleaners. 

At the same time, not everyone wants to buy high-tech gadgets, such as telescopic squeegees, that they only use once or twice a year. 

Incorporate these simple window cleaning tips to keep your glass spick n span the first time around.

Remove Anything That Could Get In Your Way

Furniture, drapes, and loose wiring – remove these and anything else that may get in the way. 

Clear Away Dust, Cobwebs, or Water Before You Start Cleaning

Do you want to know how you clean really dirty windows? The first step is by clearing away loose particles of dirt before rinsing your windows with water. If you don’t, you’ll only create a muddy, soupy mess and have even dirtier windows afterward. 

Vacuum or sweep dust, cobwebs, and other debris in the nooks and crannies of your window sill. Use a broom with a long handle for exterior windows that are out of reach.

Choose An Effective Cleaner

We will go over which cleaning solutions to use in detail later. However, there are various outdoor window cleaners from which to choose. 

You can pick up a chemical detergent from your local grocery store, or create your own using ammonia and vinegar, and various other household items. 

Some people prefer using branded cleaners and consider them to be the best window cleaning solution because they’re marketed explicitly as being “streak-free.” That said, homemade recipes, such as vinegar glass cleaner diluted in water, is preferred by individuals who want chemical-free solutions.

Spray Generously 

For seriously dirty windows, you may need spritz the window with a lot of cleaner for it to have an effect. 

If you don’t spray enough, it’s more likely that your windows will be streaked and smeared with dirt. 

Clean using a top-down method

It doesn’t matter if you use the best window cleaners or products on the market, your windows will remain filthy if you don’t clean them correctly.

A common mistake that some people make is to clean dirty windows starting from the bottom. Cleaning from top to bottom is more effective because the cleaning solution will drip into areas that haven’t yet been cleaned; washing windows this way is sure to quicken the entire process.

Change The Direction

Have you ever spent hours washing your windows, only to notice later that they’re streaked with watermarks and still look somewhat grungy? 

One way of avoiding these frustrations is to use a variety of strokes, first starting with circular motions, and then sliding your rag horizontally and vertically across the glass.  

Pick The Right Rags 

Microfiber cloths are easily the most effective solution to prevent window streaks from forming. 

They’re also super absorbent, reusable, and won’t leave scratches. However, if you don’t own microfiber cloths, an old T-shirt is a viable alternative because they’re just as absorbent and won’t leave behind dreaded lint residue.

Never use paper towel to dry glass. While they may be super absorbent in mopping up messes, they do a terrible job on glass. This is because they contain paper fibers that leave flint and fuzz stuck to your windows, and could be the reason why your windows streak when you clean them. 

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Remove All Streaks And Watermarks Before Your Windows Dry

All your hard work will be in vain if you leave behind soapy suds or forget to remove excess moisture because the streaks left behind are a sight for sore eyes. 

But what is the secret to cleaning the outside of your house windows without creating marks? Some people use squeegees to wipe off excess soap, though you must frequently wipe the blade to prevent smearing dirt over your freshly-cleaned windows. 

When it comes to drying and removing excess water from your windows, it’s best to use chamois or microfibers because they don’t leave behind lint. 

Choose The Right Weather 

Do you want to learn another trick on how to get streak-free windows? The answer may surprise you: don’t wash them on bright and sunny days.

Despite what people think, the sun’s rays can quickly dry up cleaning solutions before you’ve had time to remove them. Overcast days where there’s minimal chance of rain are ideal window-washing conditions. 

If you need to urgently clean outside windows, but the weather isn’t working in your favor, first start with areas of the house that are in the shade.  

Don’t “Cut Corners”

When it comes to cleaning windows, the devil is in the details, and the effects of super-clean windows are ruined by the sight of unbudging dirt found in the corners of your windows. 

How do you clean these corners of the windows? While the task may be time-intensive, clean the inside of a casement window and those tricky corners with cotton swabs. They’re the perfect size to remove small dirt particles. 

The Old Newspaper Trick 

Scrunched up newspapers is synonymous with washing windows; it’s a tried-and-true method that’s been around since the early days. 

If you’re looking for window washing solutions that are cheap, effective, and leave your glass panels streak-free if it’s implemented correctly, newspapers do more than provide reading material. 

Why black-and-white newspaper is widely used is because it’s an efficient abrasive material that removes tough residue. Buffing your windows with it will leave them sparkling. 

If you plan to use scrunched up pieces of newspaper to clean outside windows from inside, ensure that only your arms are extended outside and no other parts of your body. 

What Are The Best Glass Cleaners?

As we’ve mentioned, there are multiple types of cleaning products that offer the best ways to clean windows inside and out. However, the one you select depends on whether or not you use chemicals. 

Should I Clean Windows With Vinegar?

Washing windows with vinegar is a seemingly miraculous cleaning solution that is especially useful to use on grimy windows and can cut through grease and grime. 

If you’re planning on going green, vinegar is an all-natural solution that works. Swallowing vinegar over a chemical solution won’t require an urgent visit to the emergency room if your child or pets get too close.

Not only that, but you won’t have to spend a fortune buying vinegar from the grocery store either – even better if you have some stored in your pantry. 

However, there are two pitfalls to using vinegar. Firstly, although people claim that the solution is anti-bacterial, vinegar does little to kill the germs found on your windowpanes. Secondly, vinegar can remove dust but is ineffective in cleaning sticky surfaces. 

Basic Homemade Formulas For A Professional-like Window Cleaning Solution

Concoct the best outside window cleaner by combining a few ingredients – you’ll find that specific liquids aren’t as useful or are too harsh to use on their own. For example, rubbing alcohol cleans well but has a potent smell that you won’t want wafting through your home.

Combine these three ingredients:

  • One cup rubbing alcohol 
  • One Tablespoon of vinegar
  • Warm water 

Combining these three ingredients creates a formula on-par with top commercial brands, call it a ‘diy windex’ if you will. Not only can the concoction clean glass, but also other surfaces, like ceramics and chrome, for example.

Another homemade window cleaning alternative is to replace rubbing alcohol with dawn detergent, producing a vinegar dawn window cleaner that works wonders. 

How To Wash Windows With Cornstarch

Surprisingly, you can use cornstarch to clean glass. The food item contains fine particles, which are naturally abrasive. 

So yet another best way to clean windows for a streak-free finish is to add cornstarch to your vinegar window cleaner solution. 

Follow this recipe:

  • ¼ cup rubbing alcohol
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • One tablespoon of corn starch

Are Soap And Water Considered A Streak-Free Window Cleaner?

Do traditional methods, such as using soapy water, work? Absolutely. Produce a homemade window cleaner with dawn soap mixed with warm water. 

 Make sure not to add too much detergent to the soapy solution because you don’t want too many suds, which leave unsightly marks behind if they aren’t all removed. 

Ammonia: Another Best Window Washing Solution (That’s Also Low-Costing)

If you’re not opposed to using chemicals, ammonia scrubs your windows clean. Ammonia, which is a staple for most households, is a powerful bleach that removes stains and dirt from various surfaces, including glass. 

Most store-bought window cleaners, as well as homemade remedies, contain small amounts of the chemical.

Making a homemade window cleaner with ammonia is simple; combine half a cup of ammonia with warm water, a liquid detergent such as Jet Dry, and rubbing alcohol – and there you have it, a homemade window cleaner with Jet Dry and ammonia as the principal ingredients. 

Helpful hint: while ammonia and vinegar work well separately, they cancel each other out when combined because the former is alkaline, and the latter is acidic.

Make sure you do the following when preparing your liquid:

  • If the spray bottle has been used before, give it a thorough cleaning. Any left-behind residue will have a negative impact on the chemical reaction between the new ingredients. 
  • Label your bottles.
  • Keep out of reach of children.

Cleaning Windows Without Streaks Using Branded Products


Windex outdoor window cleaner has been voted the best window cleaner in recent years. Unlike many natural solutions, Windex not only removes grit, dirt, and stains but also eliminates harmful bacteria. 

It’s also gentle on different surfaces, even glass, so you won’t have to worry about your windows getting scratched. 

Not only is it regarded as the best window cleaning solution for streak-free windows, but Windex window cleaner also an inexpensive product in which to buy.

Can you use a squeegee with Windex? Yes, these cleaning apparatuses make the task easier by removing dirt, water and the cleaning solution from your windows. 

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The Blue Rain Window Cleaning Method

A common complaint shared among homeowners is that shortly after cleaning them, their windows are marked by water drops, especially after a rainstorm.

How do you clean streak free windows outside for longer? By washing windows with dawn soap, then covering it with RainX. This method, which is called the Blue Rain Cleaning Hack, can keep your windows clean and streak-free for up to six months. 

Can you use RainX on house windows, though? Typically, the product is made for vehicle windshields to prevent the driver’s view from being obstructed from falling snow and rain. That said, it can also be used to protect house windows. However, you mustn’t use RainX to clean your windows, but rather to guard glass from the elements. 

Glass Plus Glass Cleaner 

Are you looking for a cleaner that’s not harsh? The ammonia-free Glass Plus Glass Cleaner is suitable for lighter cleaning. Therefore, you clean your windows frequently; this product is for you. 

Don’t use this product for your annual window cleaning session, though, because you will probably need stronger products to remove tougher scum.

Easy Glide Glass Cleaner

This professional cleaning formula cleans outside windows by removing stubborn debris and removing all traces of foam, film, or streaks that make your windows look filthier than ever. 

On top of being effective, the product is skin-friendly, biodegradable, non-toxic, and long-lasting – one glug makes 25 gallons.

Easy Glide Glass Cleaner is accessible online and available from home depot stores nationwide.

Recap: Cleaning Out-Of-Reach Windows Methods, Cleaning Solutions, Tips, And More

In this article, we’ve described how exterior windows can be cleaned using various pieces of equipment to make the task easier and less dangerous. We’ve looked at:

  • Standard methods that are used by the everyday layman and professionals have been outlined; these include telescopic squeegees, magnetic window wipers, and more. 
  • Sometimes detaching sliding windows is the easiest way to clean outside windows with screens, but make sure you remove them gently and ask for an extra set of hands if required. 
  • Use professional-grade ladders cautiously, making sure they’re in good condition and that you have good balance and aren’t height conscious. Standing on an unstable ladder with a fear of heights is a recipe for disaster. 
  • Having streaky or dirt-smudged glass after spending hours cleaning windows is highly frustrating. Still, there are ways to reduce their appearance, including vacuuming before washing and using the appropriate equipment, such as microfiber cloths, to absorb excess moisture.
  • How you clean is as important as what you use – scrub your window from the top-down and use circular motions, as well as moving you rag vertically and horizontally across the glass. 
  • There are various cleaning detergents you can use, ranging from store-bought to homemade.
  • Some homeowners prefer homemade remedies because they contain fewer chemicals, such as cleaning windows with vinegar and window washing solutions with jet dry. 
  • If you’d prefer using commercial detergents, Windex is a top-selling and is highly effective in keeping your windows dirt-and-streak-free for longer. However, other more organic products can be bought online if prefer greener products. 

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