7 Common Window Cleaning Mistakes You Should Avoid - Shine Windows

7 Common Window Cleaning Mistakes You Should Avoid

window cleaning mistakes to avoid

Window cleaning is not just about maintaining aesthetics; it’s also essential for the longevity and functionality of your windows. However, despite its apparent simplicity, many individuals make mistakes in their window cleaning routine, resulting in less-than-desirable outcomes or even damage to the windows.

In this article, we’ll look at 7 common window cleaning mistakes and provide practical tips on how to avoid them. By steering clear of these errors, you can ensure a pristine finish and prolong the lifespan of your windows.

7 Common Window Cleaning Mistakes You Should Avoid

Mistake 1: Cleaning in Direct Sunlight

Cleaning windows in direct sunlight can be tempting due to the ample light available, but it’s a common mistake that can lead to frustrating streaks and spots on the glass. When the sun’s rays directly hit the windows, the cleaning solution applied to the glass can evaporate rapidly, leaving behind streaks and residue before you can properly wipe it away. This occurs because the heat from the sun accelerates the evaporation process, making it difficult to achieve a clean, streak-free finish.

How to Avoid

To avoid this, choosing a time of day when the sun’s intensity is lower is best. Early mornings or late afternoons are the best time to clean windows as the sun is not directly overhead, minimizing the risk of rapid evaporation and streak formation. Additionally, cloudy days provide gentler light on the windows, making it easier to achieve a spotless finish.

Mistake 2: Using the Wrong Cleaning Solutions

Using the wrong cleaning solutions is a common mistake that can harm your windows. Harsh chemicals or cleaners not specifically formulated for glass surfaces can damage the windows or leave behind stubborn residues, compromising their appearance and longevity. 

Harsh chemicals such as ammonia or bleach can corrode or etch the glass, leading to permanent damage. These chemicals may also react with the window frames or seals, causing discoloration or deterioration. Some cleaners leave behind residues that are difficult to remove, resulting in streaks, smudges, or a hazy appearance on the windows. This residue can attract dust and dirt, making the windows appear dirty after cleaning.

Specific cleaning solutions emit harmful fumes that can be hazardous to your health, especially in poorly ventilated areas. Prolonged exposure to these fumes can cause respiratory issues or irritation to the skin and eyes.

How to Avoid

Instead, opt for cleaners specifically formulated for glass surfaces, which are gentle yet effective in removing dirt and grime without causing damage. Look for products labelled as “glass cleaners” or “window cleaners,” and avoid those containing ammonia, bleach, or other harsh chemicals.

Consider using natural cleaning solutions such as vinegar or lemon juice diluted in water. These eco-friendly options are safe for both the environment and your windows, providing effective cleaning power without the risk of damage or residue buildup.

Always read the labels and instructions on cleaning products to ensure they are suitable for use on glass surfaces. Avoid products with abrasive ingredients or strong chemical odours, as they may not be compatible with your windows.

Mistake 3: Ignoring the Frame and Sill

One common oversight in window cleaning is focusing solely on the glass panes while neglecting the window frame and sill. Ignoring these areas can lead to a buildup of dirt, debris, and even mould, detracting from the overall appearance of your windows and potentially hindering their smooth operation.

The window frame and sill are prone to collecting dust, pollen, and other airborne particles, especially in outdoor environments. Ignoring these areas during cleaning allows dirt to accumulate over time, resulting in a grimy appearance that diminishes the aesthetic appeal of your windows.

Dirt and debris can also accumulate in the window tracks and hinges, causing friction and hindering the smooth operation of the windows. Cleaning the frame and sill regularly removes obstructions and ensures that the windows open and close effortlessly.

Moisture can accumulate in the corners and crevices of window frames and sills, creating an ideal mould and mildew growth environment. Ignoring these areas during cleaning can lead to the proliferation of mould spores, which pose health risks and cause unsightly stains and odours.

How to Avoid

Before applying any cleaning solution, use a soft-bristled brush or microfiber cloth to gently remove dust and debris from the window frame and sill. Pay attention to the corners and crevices where dirt tends to accumulate.

Once the surface is dirt-free, apply a mild cleaning solution to the frame and sill using a sponge or cloth. Avoid using harsh chemicals that may damage the finish or paintwork of the window frame.

After cleaning, rinse the frame and sill with clean water to remove any remaining cleaning solution or residue. Use a damp cloth to wipe away excess moisture and allow the surfaces to air dry completely.

Mistake 4: Using Improper Tools

Using improper tools for window cleaning is a common mistake that can result in unsightly scratches, streaks, and overall subpar results. Tools such as abrasive sponges or worn-out squeegees can inadvertently damage the glass surface or spread dirt and window cleaning solution unevenly, detracting from the clarity and cleanliness of your windows.

Abrasive sponges or scrubbers can scratch the glass surface, especially if it is tempered or treated with a coating. These scratches not only mar the appearance of the windows but also weaken their structural integrity over time, making them more susceptible to damage.

Worn-out squeegees or cloths can leave behind streaks and smudges on the glass, diminishing the clarity and transparency of the windows. These streaks are often caused by residual dirt and cleaning solutions that are not correctly removed from the surface during the cleaning process.

Using tools not designed for window cleaning, such as old rags or paper towels, can spread dirt and grime rather than remove it. This can result in a less effective cleaning process and leave residues that attract more dirt, leading to perpetually dirty windows.

How to Avoid

Choose window cleaning tools from durable materials such as rubber, microfibre, or silicone. Invest in a high-quality squeegee with a sharp, straight edge and replace it regularly to ensure optimal performance.

Opt for soft, non-abrasive materials such as microfibre cloths or lamb’s wool applicators for cleaning windows. These materials are gentle on the glass surface and help to lift away dirt and grime without causing scratches or streaks.

While commonly used in the past, paper towels and newspaper can leave behind lint and residue on the glass, resulting in streaks and smudges. Instead, choose lint-free cloths or towels specifically designed for window cleaning.

Mistake 5: Not Drying Windows Properly

One often overlooked aspect of window cleaning is properly drying windows after cleaning them. Neglecting to dry windows thoroughly can result in the formation of streaks, water spots, and unsightly residue, detracting from the overall cleanliness and appearance of your windows.

When windows are not dried properly, residual moisture can evaporate unevenly, leaving behind streaks and smudges on the glass surface. These streaks are not only unsightly but can also obscure the view and diminish the clarity of the windows.

Leaving windows damp allows water droplets to evaporate, leaving behind mineral deposits that form unsightly water spots on the glass. These spots can be challenging to remove and may require additional cleaning to restore the clarity of the windows.

Damp windows are more prone to attracting dust and airborne particles, which can settle on the glass surface and form a layer of grime. This not only diminishes the appearance of the windows but also requires more frequent cleaning to maintain their cleanliness.

How to Avoid

After cleaning the windows with a squeegee or cleaning solution, use a clean, dry cloth to remove any remaining moisture from the glass surface. Choose a lint-free cloth or microfibre towel to avoid leaving behind lint or fibres on the windows.

To ensure thorough drying, work in small sections and systematically dry each area of the window, starting from the top and working your way down. This helps avoid window streaks and ensures all moisture is removed from the glass surface.

After drying the windows, inspect them closely for any signs of residual moisture or streaks. If necessary, use a dry corner of the cloth to touch up any areas that may still be damp.

Mistake 6: Overlooking Safety Measures

One of the most critical mistakes in window cleaning is overlooking safety measures, mainly when dealing with high or hard-to-reach windows. Failing to prioritize safety can result in accidents, injuries, or even fatalities, highlighting the importance of implementing proper safety protocols during window cleaning tasks.

Cleaning windows, especially on upper floors or in challenging locations, can pose significant risks if proper safety measures are not observed. Falls from heights are a leading cause of injury and death in the workplace, emphasizing the need for caution and adherence to safety guidelines.

In addition to the risk of falls, window cleaning may expose individuals to hazardous chemicals, slippery surfaces, or adverse weather conditions. By implementing safety measures such as wearing protective gear and using appropriate equipment, individuals can mitigate the risk of injury and safeguard their health.

Employers and property owners are legally obligated to provide a safe working environment for employees and contractors. Failure to implement adequate safety measures can result in legal liabilities, fines, or penalties, underscoring the importance of prioritizing safety in all aspects of window cleaning operations.

How to Avoid

When cleaning high or hard-to-reach windows, use appropriate equipment such as ladders, scaffolds, or aerial lifts designed for the task. Ensure equipment is inspected regularly for defects and maintained in good working condition.

Familiarize yourself with safety guidelines and best practices for window cleaning, including proper ladder placement, weight limits, and use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, safety harnesses, and non-slip footwear.

Work in pairs or teams when cleaning windows, especially in high-risk areas. A spotter or assistant can provide an extra layer of safety and assistance in emergencies.

Pay attention to weather conditions when planning window cleaning activities, as high winds, rain, or extreme temperatures can increase the risk of accidents or injuries. Consider rescheduling tasks if conditions are unfavourable for safe work.

Mistake 7: Neglecting Regular Maintenance

One common mistake many homeowners or property managers make is neglecting regular maintenance of their windows. Over time, dirt, grime, and environmental pollutants can accumulate on the glass surfaces, compromising the appearance and functionality of the windows. Failing to address this buildup through regular cleaning and maintenance can lead to many issues, including decreased energy efficiency, reduced lifespan of the windows, and diminished aesthetic appeal.

Regular cleaning helps prevent the accumulation of dirt, dust, pollen, and other debris on the windows. Over time, this buildup can become stubborn and difficult to remove, leading to unsightly stains, streaks, and a dull appearance.

Clean, well-maintained windows enhance a property’s curb appeal and overall appearance. Neglecting regular maintenance can result in dingy, dirty windows that detract from the visual appeal of the building’s exterior and interior spaces.

In addition to aesthetics, regular maintenance is essential for ensuring the functionality and longevity of windows. Dirt and debris can accumulate in window tracks, hinges, and seals, causing friction, sticking, or damage that affects the operation of the windows. Routine cleaning and lubrication can help prevent these issues and ensure smooth operation.

How to Avoid

Create a regular cleaning schedule for your windows, considering climate, location, and exposure to environmental pollutants. Depending on these factors, you may need to clean your windows monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually to maintain their appearance and functionality.

When cleaning windows, use gentle, non-abrasive cleaning solutions and tools to avoid damaging the glass or frames. Start by dusting or vacuuming window frames and sills to remove loose dirt and debris before applying a cleaning solution and wiping the glass with a soft cloth or squeegee.

As part of your maintenance routine, regularly inspect windows for signs of damage, such as cracks, chips, or deterioration of seals and caulking. Address any issues promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the continued integrity of the windows.

Consider hiring a professional window cleaning service to perform regular maintenance for large or multi-story buildings or windows that are difficult to access. Professional cleaners have the expertise, equipment, and safety measures necessary to clean windows effectively and safely.


In conclusion, achieving clear, clean windows requires attention to detail and adherence to best practices in window cleaning. Avoid cleaning in direct sunlight and ensure using the proper cleaning solutions. Make sure to wash the entire window, including the frame and sill and use high-quality, non-abrasive tools to avoid scratches and streaks on the glass surface.

Thoroughly dry windows after cleaning to prevent streaks, water spots, and residue buildup. Prioritize safety, especially when cleaning high or hard-to-reach windows. Establish a regular cleaning schedule and follow proper maintenance techniques to prevent buildup and extend the life of your windows.

Avoiding these common mistakes is crucial for achieving and maintaining clear, clean windows that enhance the appearance and functionality of your property. You can enjoy sparkling windows year-round by implementing the tips in this article.

Take action today to improve the clarity and cleanliness of your windows. Whether you implement these tips yourself or enlist the help of professionals (just search for “window cleaning near me”), prioritizing proper window cleaning techniques is essential for maintaining a pristine environment. Clear windows elevate the aesthetic appeal of your home or business and contribute to a brighter, more inviting atmosphere for all who enter.

Choose Professional Window Cleaning Services in Toronto

If you are looking for a professional solution to your window cleaning, consider the efficiency and expertise of professional residential and commercial window cleaning services. Shine Windows specializes in top-tier window cleaning and provides a range of other services to meet your property maintenance needs. Whether it’s window cleaning, gutter cleaning, gutter guards, or deck cleaning, Shine has you covered with a commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction.

If you are looking for professional and reliable window cleaning services in Toronto and the GTA, contact the experts at Shine Windows. 

Our goal at Shine is to have the utmost integrity in performing the highest quality work for you while providing a turnkey solution for easy booking, coordination and experience.

We put our clients first. That is why we have a 100% satisfaction process. We only take final payments once you have done a thorough walk-around and signed off on the work.

Contact Shine Windows today at 416-949-3874 to schedule an appointment for a free estimate for your window cleaning Toronto!

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