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“Everyday Cheapskate”

Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Cheaper, better sparkling windows

everyday cheapskate - mary huntSYNDICATED COLUMNIST

mary hunt

You may recall (since I can’t stop talking about it) that we moved into our new home in April 2015 just in time to experience our first Rocky Mountain spring. There are no words to describe it adequately, so I won’t even try.

The first thing I noticed walking into our new house were the windows – there were tons of them, and every one of them was filthy. It looked to me like they’d never been washed before.

I did my due diligence to research professional window washers, knowing that we’d have to pay to have them done. But it would be a one-and-done deal. Keeping them clean after would be an easy task.

The price was ridiculous, but the windows sparkled afterward. That’s when I set out to discover the best (the easiest, fastest, cheapest and sparkliest) way to keep these windows clean. I found that it’s not with Windex, paper towels, newspaper or other methods I may or may not have recommended in the past — those often result in a bunch of wet, drippy and dirty paper towels that are difficult to clean up. Here are some cleaning suggestions:

THE RIGHT TOOLS. I have invested in the right window-washing tools (which cost way less than it cost us to get them done professionally). You need the right tools or you are going to waste so much time and money trying to get your windows sparkling like diamonds.

Microfiber Window Scrubber. This comes with a handle that can be attached to a pole, which you will use to wash the window. The key here is the microfiber material.

Silicone Blade Squeegee. A silicone blade is far superior to rubber because it will not crack or tear. It produces a streak-free result.

Combo Scrubber Squeegee. You can get the scrubber and squeegee two-in-one option where both of these tools are attached to one handle. It’s all a matter of preference. I like to use this combo option for the low windows that I can reach easily with a step stool. However, I’ve found that it’s awkward to attach this to a long pole for higher windows because it’s challenging to turn the thing around to switch the tools. So, as you may have guessed, I have the combo and the separate scrubber and squeegee.

Bucket or Tub. This doesn’t have to be gigantic. It just has to be big enough to dip the scrubber into easily. The scrubber is 11 inches wide, so you’ll want a bucket that’s at least 12 inches wide for easy dipping. A deep dishpan works well for me.

Blue Dawn. I’ll bet you already guessed that this is my cleaner of choice. You’re right.

Microfiber Cloths. Microfiber cleaning cloths are soft and nonabrasive. They won’t scratch glass or painted surfaces. They do their job with or without chemical cleaners, they don’t leave lint and (the best part) they don’t leave streaks. A microfiber cloth also absorbs eight times its own weight. And you can rinse and reuse these clothes hundreds of times, too.

Extension Pole: If you use the combo scrubber/squeegee for second-story windows, you’ll need only one pole. But I choose to use the tools separately for high windows, which requires two poles.

STEP 1. Fill the tub with warm water about 3 inches deep. Add a few drops of Blue Dawn dishwashing liquid.

STEP 2. Dip the scrubber into the soapy water and shake it out so it’s not dripping. Apply it to the glass from left to right, starting at the top. Make sure you get into the corner. Then, move back-and-forth in an S-shaped pattern until you have passed over the entire window.

STEP 3. Switch quickly to the squeegee. Starting at the top left-hand corner, wipe from one side to the other, left to right, until the entire window is clean.

STEP 4. Use a microfiber cloth to reach into all of the corners, wipe the frame clean and dry any drops or drips you may have missed.

That’s it. It’s fast and easy with amazing results. Because you are using so very little water with this method, window washing ceases to be a big dirty, messy job like you may remember it to be. That’s especially a good thing for me, because I learned another new thing about living at an altitude of 5,280 feet where we get four distinct seasons: Windows don’t stay clean for very long.

Want to lift your spirits, clear your mind and beautify your world? Get out there this weekend (or as soon as winter has passed) and wash the windows. Your world is about to become even more beautiful. Visit my website for examples of these magical products.