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It’s a crusade you’ve waged since the first time you noticed the sun catch on an ugly window smudge. For what seems like eons, you’ve stricken grime from glass, polishing panes with a tenacity that never fails to leave windows spotless and gleaming. You might’ve wiped your first swipes with nothing but a balled up rag, slowly growing your sanitation skill; like a sponge absorbs suds, you’ve absorbed new washing techniques with every scrubbing since, tweaking strategies, streamlining speed and purchasing a powerful arsenal of window cleaning weapons.

If you’ve been cleansing unpleasantness from windows for any amount of time, you’re already aware that even the most seasoned of sanitation warriors can occasionally benefit from a bit of well-placed advice. Below are a few expert suggestions to help you banish smudges, dirt and dust from windows like a pro.

Before washing, brush away any window sill dust

Opening the blinds to see spotted, grungy panes may tempt you to take soap to glass ASAP, but before you begin washing, it’s a good idea to give window sills a once over. Window frames are notorious collectors of cobwebs, dust and other filth; brushing sills with a dust cloth or small brush removes loose dust which would otherwise leak onto glass when washing, causing unsightly splotches.

For best results, use a squeegee

Designed especially for lifting grime from glass, squeegees are the arm of choice for window pros and greenhorns alike; a squeegee’s rubber head ensures windows remain scratch-free, and it can be customized to fit windows of any size. Put a cloth strip applicator on your squeegee, dip it in cleaning solution, and coat the pane in a layer of suds. Next, remove the cloth applicator and run the rubber head of the squeegee across the window in the shape of a Z. To prevent drips and streaks, use a cloth to dry the squeegee after each pass.

Scrub window frames (if necessary), then wipe everything down

A thorough scrubbing with a bristled brush or well-soaked sponge will clear out any particularly pesky crust still clinging to window sills. Clear any leftover cleaning solution by running a damp cloth along the window, favoring any cracks and edges where soap and water can easily congeal. To finish, use a fresh cloth to dry everything thoroughly.

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