Compare a clean window with a dirty one, and the contrast is clear. Streak- and grime-free windows offer an uninterrupted path for sunshine to enter into your home’s interior. But many people avoid this task because they are unsure how to clean windows. Luckily, it takes just a bit of planning and a little elbow grease. Here are six steps for cleaning windows:
Test the temperature
Don’t want to waste a sunny day chasing away the dirt and grime on windows? You’re not alone — and you’re in luck. One of the best pieces of advice for how to clean windows is to pick a cloudy day. The absence of sunlight will help to minimize the chance of streaks because heat makes window-cleaning solution evaporate faster than you can wipe it off. Lack of glaring sunlight also enables you to better see the windows. To quickly test the temperature, touch the window glass. If it’s hot to the touch, wait for a cooler day.
Remove dust and dirt from windows
No window-washing job is complete without using your vacuum first.
Dust and dirt can accumulate inside the sills of your windows, and once that gets wet, you’ll be left with muddy streaks to clean up.
That’s why an essential step in cleaning windows properly is to hook up the vacuum first, using hose attachments to clean out the interior side of your windows. While you’re at it, use the vacuum to suck up dust or bugs that have gathered at the window closing. Then wipe off any lingering dirt and cobwebs with a wet cloth to reduce grimy smears.
Clean outside windows
There’s one crucial step that many people skip when learning how to clean windows: an exterior hose-down. Close all your windows, and use a garden hose to spray the outside.
You’ll remove the first layer of dirt and make the detail work that much easier. Plus, on a summer day, you can use window washing as an excuse to splash in the water a little bit.
Clean inside windows
How you wash individual windows depends on the type of windows you have. Newer versions flip open, enabling you to clean both the outside and inside from the same spot. Older ones might be stationary, which means you’ll have to use a ladder to clean the exteriors.
Most will allow you to remove the screens and clean them separately. Clean indoor glass panes with a window cleaner. Screens can be cleaned with warm, soapy water, either on a paved outside area or in a bathtub.
Use a system for cleaning windows
Enlist the family for help cleaning windows. Have one person work inside, wiping windows horizontally, while another wipes outside vertically. That way you’ll know which side the dirt or streaks are on. Be sure to find a ladder you feel comfortable on. If you have a window you’d have to reach for, leave it to the pros.
Dry the glass
There are few things that can ruin freshly cleaned windows quicker than gobs of left-behind lint.
Instead of paper towels, utilize a lint-free option, such as clean coffee filters, crumpled newsprint or a microfiber or flour-sack towel. Alternatively, try a small squeegee with a sharp, nick-free rubber blade. This foolproof trick will make you feel like a professional window-cleaning service.
How to clean windows with vinegar:
There are many DIY window-cleaner recipes available, but our favorite starts with a vinegar base. To make your own glass cleaner, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- ¼ cup rubbing alcohol
- ¹⁄³ cup vinegar
- Distilled water
For best results, look for vinegar that says “made from grain” on the label. Funnel the ingredients into a 32-ounce spray bottle, and lightly shake to mix. Spritz onto a lint-free cloth, and clean your windows.
10 ways to make your home as comfy as a luxury hotel
Upgrade your mattress
The centerpiece and most important furnishing in any hotel room is the bed, and the foundation of that is the mattress. If you don’t have a comfortable mattress that finds the perfect balance between firmness and softness, chances are you won’t be getting a restful night’s sleep. Given that mattresses last for several years, they’re worth the investment. Although Westin has their signature Heavenly Beds and Hilton uses Serta mattresses, we’re hard-pressed to find a mattress better than the TEMPUR-LuxeAdapt by Tempur-Pedic ($4,499, amazon.com). The luxurious Hotel on Rivington also uses Tempur-Pedic brand mattresses, and this model has multiple layers with comfort and cooling ability in mind, plus a memory-foam mattress that adapts to your body shape.
Switch out your bedding
Hotel sheets are renowned for being soft, crisp and durable. Luxury linen brands such as Frette and Sferra are popular choices for many hotel brands, but their high price point puts them out of reach for many buyers. Looking for a good dupe? Since Brooklinen was founded in 2014, it’s been a major supplier of hotel-quality sheets at a fraction of the price of competitors, thanks to its direct-to-consumer model. The chic-looking 100% linens keep sleepers warm on cold nights and cool on warm nights. We recommend purchasing the Linen Move-In Bundle ($714, brooklinen.com) for the most bang for your buck. It includes one fitted sheet, one flat sheet, one down comforter and four pillowcases, plus laundry detergent.
Play music on a portable speaker
Walk into any luxury hotel room these days, and you’ll undoubtedly see (and likely hear) some type of music player by the bed. Portable speakers have become the preferred swap for the previously ubiquitous radio alarm clocks. Undoubtedly the most common are Bose speakers — as seen at the Dorado Beach A Ritz-Carlton Reserve — as they offer stellar sound and easy connectivity in a small, portable and affordable package. For your house, we recommend the Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker ($129, amazon.com), which can be easily carried from room to room and even synced up with other speakers for parties.
Make cocktails like a pro
Whether you’re in a hip resort room with its own cocktail shakers like the Rosewood Phuket or in a luxe hotel with a popular lounge, chances are you’ll be imbibing during your luxury hotel visit. So bring the mixologist home with a Mixology Bartender Kit ($79.99, amazon.com) that includes a cocktail shaker with built-in strainer lid, three fast pourers for liquor, a lemon squeezer, an ice tong, bottle opener, bar spoon, muddler and measurement jigger. Aside from alcohol and any added ingredients, everything you need to serve up your favorite cocktails is in the set. We suggest consulting our roundup of hotel bars where famous cocktails were invented for some boozy inspiration.
Pamper your eyes
You feel pampered at a hotel, so why not bring that same indulgent feeling to your home? One simple-yet-effective way to create a spa-like, restful ambience in your bedroom is by getting cozy with a silk sleep mask. The Slipsilk sleep mask ($50, amazon.com) is particularly popular for its reportedly anti-aging, anti-sleep-crease and anti-bedhead qualities — not to mention they look absolutely divine.
Get cozy with a new throw blanket
We love things that can serve multiple functions, and a cozy, luxurious throw blanket can do just that. It acts as a cozy wrap when it’s chilly and as an elegant decoration when draped across a chair or edge of the bed. Whether you’re using it while curling up with a book or displaying it as a statement piece, the Connecticut Home Company’s Luxury Faux Fur with Reversible Sherpa Throw Blanket ($23.99, amazon.com) is the perfect home addition. It’s affordable, it’s large, and it has 4.7 stars and more than 2,000 ratings on Amazon, plus there are a dozen colors from which to choose. Go full white or faux fur for a glam luxury hotel look at home.
Sleep in a pitch-black room
Even if you choose to sleep with an eye mask, nothing can create a dark, sleep-inducing environment better than blackout curtains. Most luxury hotels, like the JW Marriott Cancun Resort & Spa, know the importance of pitch-black sleeping conditions and ensure not even a crack of light makes it into your hotel room once shades are pulled. If you want to do the same in your home without spending a fortune, the NICETOWN Thermal Insulated Grommet Blackout Curtains for Bedrooms ($35.95, amazon.com) are the way to go.
Drink from fancy glasses
The minibars in midrange hotels likely have a couple of cans of soda, domestic beer and plastic bottled water. Yawn. Minibars in luxury hotels pull out all the stops with full-size wine and liquor bottles, locally made granola and candy, and kits for a romantic night, plus gorgeous crystal glasses for a sophisticated touch — like at the stunning Baccarat Hotel & Residences New York. Follow their lead. No matter if you’re sipping a whiskey Old-Fashioned or hydrating with tap water, using a crystal glass will have you feeling like you’re drinking in a classy hotel bar. Available on Amazon, the Marquis by Waterford Markham Double Old Fashioned Glasses ($41.79, set of four, amazon.com) is a chance to own famed Waterford crystal at a value price.
Feel like you’re walking on air
Skip the classic hotel slippers that are flimsy, thin and far too slippery when walking on tile. We think the perfect pair of house slippers are easy to walk in, feel like you’re walking on a cloud and are warm and cozy on the inside. The UGG Coquette slippers are some of the highest rated on Zappos. Expect soft shearling lining, a sheepskin cuff, moisture-wicking lining to keep feet dry and Treadlite soles for traction control. You may never want to wear real shoes again.
Fill your home with fresh flowers
Enter any luxury hotel, and you’ll see a large centerpiece of professionally arranged flowers, or at least a lovely bouquet on the front desk. While seemingly a simple touch, having fresh flowers displayed in your home creates a touch of splendor in addition to adding a lovely scent and visual focus. You could head every week or so to the nearest florist or grocery store, but we like to make things as simple as possible, so we’re endorsing BloomsyBox (prices vary, bloomsybox.com), a flower subscription service. The service includes hand-picked flower bouquets delivered from sustainable farms around the globe, with weekly and monthly plans available across a few different cost categories.