Very dirty windows that need a good clean

How to Clean Really Dirty Windows

Windows act as the eyes of our homes, allowing sunlight to stream in and giving us a view of the outside world. Over time, they can collect dirt, grime, and pollutants, which can obscure clarity and diminish their appearance. For those who find themselves battling particularly stubborn dirt on their windows, the task can seem daunting.

Dirty windows can significantly diminish the aesthetic appeal of a space. For optimal clarity and cleanliness, utilize traditional soap and water, a vinegar solution, or a baking soda scrub. If persistent stains remain or windows are hard to access, consider professional cleaning services. Proper tools, like squeegees and microfiber cloths, aid in achieving a streak-free shine.

Using the right techniques, achieving pristine, sparkling windows is very much possible.

Clean Really Dirty Windows With Traditional Soap and Water

Using soap and water is a classic and straightforward way to bring shine back to your windows. This method is known for its effectiveness in addressing everyday dirt and grime on window surfaces.

  1. Gather Materials: Prepare a bucket, dish soap, water, a sponge, and a squeegee.
  2. Prepare the Solution: Fill the bucket with water and mix in a few drops of dish soap until suds appear.
  3. Remove Loose Dirt: Before applying the soapy solution, wipe the dirty window with a dry cloth to remove any loose dirt. This step ensures a smoother cleaning process.
  4. Wash the Window: Soak the sponge in the soapy solution and begin to scrub the window, concentrating on areas with more dirt.
  5. Rinse: Empty the bucket and fill it with clean water. Rinse the window with a cloth soaked in clean water to remove soap residues.
  6. Squeegee: Start at the top and drag the squeegee down the window in a straight line. It’s essential to wipe the blade with a clean cloth after each pass.
  7. Final Touch: Wipe down the window edges and sill with a clean, dry cloth to ensure no drips or streaks are left behind. If any spots are missed during cleaning, address them with the soapy sponge and rinse again.

By following these steps, the windows should shine with clarity and be free from typical dirt and smudges.

Vinegar and Water Solution to Clean Really Dirty Windows

The acidity of vinegar makes it an excellent choice for tackling hard water stains or mineral buildup on really dirty windows. Mixed with water, it forms a potent solution that can break down stubborn residues.

  1. Materials Needed: Ready a spray bottle, white vinegar, water, a sponge or soft cloth, and a bucket for rinsing.
  2. Mix the Solution: Combine equal parts white vinegar and water in the spray bottle and shake gently.
  3. Pre-Cleaning: With a dry cloth, dust off the window to remove surface dirt, ensuring the vinegar solution works directly on the stains.
  4. Spray Generously: Coat the window evenly with the vinegar mixture, ensuring the entire surface is covered, especially areas with hard water stains.
  5. Allow to Work: Let the solution sit on the window for about 5-10 minutes, giving the vinegar time to break down the deposits.
  6. Agitate the Stains: Gently scrub the window using a sponge or soft cloth, paying special attention to spots with more buildup.
  7. Rinse: Pour clean water into a bucket. Dampen a clean cloth in the water and wipe the window to rinse off the vinegar solution.
  8. Squeegee Action: Use a squeegee to remove excess water from the window, pulling it from top to bottom. Clean the squeegee blade after each pass with a dry cloth.
  9. Dry and Polish: After squeegeeing, use a dry cloth to wipe any remaining water spots and give the window a final polish.

By using to this method, your windows should be become free of mineral deposits and other stains, revealing a cleaner, more transparent surface.

Baking Soda Scrub to Tackle Clean Really Dirty Windows

Baking soda offers a gentle abrasive quality, making it an ideal solution for removing sticky residues or persistent stains from windows. When combined with water, it forms a paste that can work wonders on those challenging spots.

  1. Materials Needed: Gather baking soda, water, a mixing bowl, a sponge or soft cloth, a bucket for rinsing, and a squeegee.
  2. Create the Paste: In a bowl, blend equal parts baking soda and water until you have a consistent mixture.
  3. Preparation: Wipe the window with a dry cloth to eliminate any loose dirt. This ensures that the baking soda paste targets only the stubborn spots.
  4. Application: Using your fingers or a cloth, spread the baking soda mixture onto the problematic areas of the window.
  5. Scrubbing Time: With a sponge or soft cloth, work in a circular motion over the applied areas, applying consistent pressure to lift the stains.
  6. Let It Sit: Allow the paste to sit on the window for about 5 minutes. This will give the baking soda time to break down and lift the stubborn residues.
  7. Rinsing Phase: Fill a bucket with clean water. Dampen a cloth in the water and gently wipe away the baking soda paste from the window.
  8. Clearing Excess Water: Employ the squeegee, moving from the top to the bottom of the window. Remember to wipe the blade after each pass to prevent reintroducing dirt.
  9. Finishing Touch: With a dry cloth, buff the window to remove any leftover moisture, ensuring a clear, streak-free finish.

This baking soda method is particularly effective for windows that have been victims of sticky substances or are marred by tough stains. With a bit of effort, your dirty windows can look as good as new.


What tools and products should I use to clean extremely dirty windows?

Selecting the right tools can make window cleaning more efficient. For windows with a high level of dirt and grime, consider the following:

  • Sponge or Scrubbing Brush: These help in loosening and removing caked-on dirt.
  • Microfiber Cloths: These are perfect for wiping away dirt and water without leaving lint or streaks behind.
  • Dish Soap: Mild and effective, it’s perfect for breaking down the average dirt.
  • White Vinegar: Great for mineral deposits and hard water stains.
  • Baking Soda: Effective for sticky spots and tough stains.
  • Rubber Squeegee: Useful for removing water and cleaning solutions, which helps in preventing streaks.

How can I prevent streaks and smudges when cleaning dirty windows?

Achieving a streak-free shine is often the ultimate goal in window cleaning. Consider these tips:

  • Quality Matters: Invest in a good quality squeegee, and always make sure its blade is sharp and free of nicks.
  • Distilled Water: If available, use distilled water as it doesn’t have the minerals that cause streaking.
  • Consistent Pressure: When using the squeegee, apply uniform pressure from top to bottom.
  • Vertical Movements: Cleaning in an up-and-down motion rather than side-to-side can reduce streaking.
  • Quick Dry: The faster the window dries, the less chance there is for streaks. Consider using fans or working in the shade.

Can I use a pressure washer to clean extremely dirty windows?

Pressure washers can be useful, especially for hard-to-reach exterior windows. A few things to keep in mind:

  • Gentle Setting: Use the pressure washer on a gentle setting to avoid damaging the glass or surrounding frames.
  • Consistent Distance: Hold the washer nozzle consistently about 12-18 inches away from the window.
  • Safety First: Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying debris.
  • Angle: Direct the stream at a slight angle to the window, which can help lift and remove dirt effectively.

Should I hire a professional window cleaner for heavily soiled windows?

There are certain situations where seeking professional help is beneficial:

  • Accessibility: If the windows are on a higher floor or hard to access, professionals have the necessary equipment.
  • Time Constraints: For those with busy schedules, hiring a cleaner can be a time-saving solution.
  • Specialty Cleaning: Professionals might have access to specialized cleaning solutions and tools that aren’t readily available for consumers.
  • Experience: Professionals have dealt with various types of dirt and stains, ensuring they can tackle even the most challenging scenarios.


Cleaning really dirty windows doesn’t have to be a challenging task. With a bit of elbow grease and the right techniques, you can restore clarity and shine to your windows.

Whether you opt for the traditional soap and water method, the vinegar solution, or the baking soda scrub, remember to always finish with a squeegee or microfiber cloth for the best results. If in doubt, professionals are there to help ensure your windows gleam with cleanliness.