House Stuck On The Market? Try Cleaning The Windows

No amount of interior decorating wizardry will help sell your house if the windows are dirty. “When you’re marketing a house, clean windows are like clean teeth: they’re the first thing people see on the outside and the first thing they see through on the inside,” according to broker Phyllis Jane Young. So how do you make your windows sparkle? You need two things: sudsy water and a squeegee. That’s it!

A mild detergent solution is fine on inside windows with natural woodwork, as well. “Don’t let it linger more than half a minute or so. And don’t do too many panes at once,” he cautioned. You want the squeegee to glide, and you don’t want a lot of drips.

Carolyn Forté of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute recently tested six store-bought solutions, a homemade solution of ammonia and water, and three pre-moistened towels.

“We made a lab mixture of greasy, dirty soil; let it dry; then applied a measured amount of each cleaner,” she said. The winner was Hope’s Perfect Glass, available at Bed Bath & Beyond and other major retailers. “It was best overall for cleaning and removing streaks.” Regular Windex was a close second.

And you thought your home wasn’t selling because of the imploding housing market.

The Squeegee Dividend [The Washington Post]
(Photo: michale)


Edit Your Comment

  1. AgentTuttle says:

    Yup, it’s the same for cars. Clean windows make the whole thing look cleaner and more cared for.

  2. whitecat says:

    Better than store-bought – use rubbing alcohol and a miracle cloth for streak-free shine.

  3. junkmail says:

    Hell with that. Nothing works better than a 3000psi pressure washer. :)

  4. simplegreen says:

    Slow news day.

  5. TwoScoopsRice says:

    Since when are parents naming their boys “Phyllis Jane”? A bit off topic, we used to have a neighbor who swore it was easier and less stressful to re-screen his window screens than to wash them.

  6. Kevin Cotter says:

    Make your own glass cleaner, and wipe with newspaper…

    See my recipe: []

  7. LintySoul says:

    The news paper ink tends to smudge on the surface. Maybe its just the soy based inks?
    I use plain ol’ white vinegar, diluted with water, and a ripped up old t-shirt. Vinegar is pretty awesome.

  8. damitaimee says:

    i’m a housekeeper and for me, a tsp of white vinegar in 16 oz warm water works better than windex in the homes i clean.

  9. damitaimee says:

    also, those microfiber glass wipes are amazing. completely streak free whenever i use them

  10. DjDynasty says:

    I use coffee filters to clean windows, works better than newspaper, and goes into the mulch pile.

  11. FLConsumer says:

    Dawn (original) dish washing soap + water is they use at many of the NHL arenas to clean the glass. I’ve also seen a few of the local resorts use this combination as well. I’ve since started using it here and noticed that it tends to keep the windows cleaner longer as well.

    TIP: Don’t use too much soap otherwise you’ll have a hell of a time getting it off the glass.

  12. Canino says:

    I use my Shamwow to clean windows. I say wow every time.

  13. dorianh49 says:

    @simplegreen: You’re just jealous that you weren’t chosen among the other cleaning products.

  14. BytheSea says:

    Use crumpled newspaper on the inside, not squeegies.

  15. backbroken says:

    Does the same hold true when pimping a hooker that wears glasses?

  16. AgentTuttle says:


    Any day that’s slow for news around here is a good day being that the stories are mostly about corporations screwing the little guy.

  17. Echelon1566 says:

    @FLConsumer: Yup, I work for a window cleaning company, and that’s essentially what we use. Just be sure to have a good squeegee and stripmop, and a towel on hand for the edges.

  18. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    I use that green power stuff from Clorox because I love my planet (as opposed to the ‘higher’ organisms that infest it).

  19. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Coming up next on the Consumerist channel…
    How to keep your driveway looking like new :)

  20. snoop-blog says:

    Granted cleaning the windows can be a pain, but where I live you could get a whole house done for about $75, by a professional.

  21. EllaMcWho says:

    @junkmail: I’m with you, though not on the inside of the house! For that, I use a 1:20 (ish) Dawn:water solution, as other have posted before me.

  22. Moose82 says:

    Isn’t that obvious?

  23. lordargent says:

    When I was shopping around years and years ago, it was amazing to me how many people just didn’t bother to spruce up the place before showing it to people.

    Granted, it was a sellers market then, but still.

    /still have those pictures somewhere

  24. FLConsumer says:

    @lordargent: Even better were the “condo conversions” popular about two years ago where they’d buy up a ratty old apartment complex, throw new kitchen cabinets & appliances, and install fake wood flooring and call it a “condo”.

    The workmanship was pathetic. Paint overspray all over the place, poorly installed cabinets & plumbing, etc. Then they wondered why people weren’t buying. Gee, could it be because they were charging as much as I could buy a nice house for in the same area for an apartment with paper thin walls & pathetic parking?