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Our Guide to the Proper Way of Cleaning Exterior Windows

One of the best parts of any home are its windows. They let a lot of natural light in as well as make spaces seem bigger and brighter. While interior windows are often kept spic and span, the exterior windows don't get as much love. Many people tend to put off exterior window cleaning and sometimes forget about it until a particularly bad natural disaster, or if the property is going to be sold and needs to look its best overall.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to clean your exterior windows:

  1. Ensure there are no visible cracks or damage. Windows with those kinds of issues shouldn't be part of the cleaning, since more breaks or damages may occur.

  2. Visible dirt on the window frame should be wiped away by a towel.

  3. Make sure that the strip applicator was well-soaked in a cleaning solution.

  4. Scrub the windows, then take the solution off the glass with the squeegee.

  5. In case any solution remains, even small strips of it, use a detailing towel to remove it all.


Sometimes referred to as "s-motion", this is what cleaning companies usually use. In those cases, they have the squeegee move on the glass without being lifted until it's fully clean. This continuous motion earned the term 'fanning.’ Basic steps include:

  • Cut in

  • Clear corners

  • Cut down the middle

  • Close out

For the most part, a straight pull is done. However, more flexible maneuvers are needed for irregularly shaped or large windows.

More crucial tips for exterior windows to be cleaned well include this process:

  • After the window gets scrubbed and soaked through an applicator, the squeegee should be at the window's edge.

  • Be sure to pick the side which feels comfortable; left or right are both correct.

  • Clear the solution with a towel that runs down the window's side.

  • Do your best to clean using the 'straight pull,’ which involves the squeegee dragging over the glass for complete solution removal.

  • Edges will likely still end up with a cleaning solution, so take a detailing towel to your window.


There may be issues that will come up during window cleaning. Luckily, there are certain tips and techniques that can help resolve common concerns.

Broken Seals

Sometimes, there will be windows that seem to remain dirty no matter how hard cleaning is attempted. In those cases, a broken seal is probably at play. That means dirt and or water got in between double panes. At that point, window repair or replacement is in order.

Mineral Deposits & Hard Water Stains

Windows that are cloudy and constantly stained likely have hard water issues. Windows that usually get exposed to sprinklers or flower boxes that are regularly watered experience this more than most. Ideally, windows shouldn't end up sprayed with a hose: people think it's a cheap solution, but it ends up costing a lot later on. Dealing with this involves specialty window cleaning products that are acid-based, best left to professionals.


For some, exterior window cleaning can be less of a priority than interior windows, but that shouldn't be the case. A good rule of thumb is to avoid cleaning windows with breaks or damages of any sort. Otherwise, a strip applicator and squeegee should do the trick; either with a straight pull or through fanning.

Need to get reliable exterior window cleaning in Alabama, particularly Birmingham, Alabaster, and surrounding areas? Drop Absolute Cleaning Solutions a line to get a free quote today! We provide the professional care and attention our clients deserve.

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