It’s that time of year again – when our dirty windows need a deep clean to truly sparkle again.
But what if you’re living in a high-rise apartment, or your second-story windows look worse for wear? How can you clean windows that are just simply too far away?
This article will explore ten ways to wash outside windows you can’t reach. Some of our suggestions are incredibly practical and use everyday household items in a new, innovative way that can really save you time and money. We’ll also share expert tips on how and when to clean your outside windows, guaranteeing you the best possible results.
Ten ways to clean outside windows that you can’t reach
1. Using a u-shaped telescopic pole
While there are various brushes and cleaning equipment designed to help reach distant windows, the telescopic cleaning brush is one of the most effective. These brushes extend considerably, some reaching an impressive 17 feet or more.
Many of these brushes have interchangeable brush heads, allowing for various cleaning techniques. Moreover, you can apply any cleaning product directly onto the brushing head and easily apply it to a far-away window.
Some models even have interchangeable brush heads that allow you to buff and eliminate streaks and smears, making the telescopic brush an incredibly versatile purchase.
2. Using a mop or brush handle
Sometimes, the simplest solution is something we already own but never thought to use. Depending on its length, your standard kitchen mop or broom can act as an extension pole that can reach many windows around the home.
Depending on the texture of the mop, you may be able to use its head to apply cleaning products and wash the glass. Be careful of streaks and lint being left on wet glass. You can always attach another brush head, sponge, or cloth on the handle and clean your windows this way.
3. Using a garden hose
The easiest way to clean out-of-reach windows is also the most effective – your garden hose! These days, many hoses come with adjustable nozzles and accessories, which can increase the hose’s water pressure tenfold.
High water pressure should be enough to shoot a jet of water high into the sky and quickly reach second-story windows that you cannot get otherwise. This method is ideal for shifting grime, dirt, and debris off the glass, though it may not be suitable for precise cleaning.
4. Using a ladder
One of the most common ways to clean otherwise unreachable windows is to use a ladder to get closer. By getting within arm’s reach, you can thoroughly clean the outside of the window with standard cleaning products you’d typically use for your other ground-level windows.
However, one of the most overlooked things about using ladders for cleaning is the safety considerations. Having a friend stand at the ladder’s base is highly advisable to hold it in place. Avoid taking up heavy equipment like a full bucket, and never over-extend your reach, which can cause you to lose your balance. Finally, avoid using the ladder if it’s a particularly windy day.
5. Using an extendable squeegee
A squeegee is a bladed tool used to remove dirt and debris and apply and spread liquids across a surface. They are commonly used after a deep clean to polish off windows and leave a glossy finish to the glass.
Using an extension pole and brush, apply your cleaning product to the windows, and rinse with your garden hose. Then, using an extendable squeegee, you can gently drag the tool across the glass, working from top to bottom. The rubber blade will ensure that the glass is pristine and glistening.
6. Using a magnetic window cleaner
Magnets are an innovative, easy and cheap way to clean and polish high-rise windows, so long as you have access to the interior side of the glass.
Open up your window, and attach one end of the magnetic window cleaner on each side of the pane of glass. When you move one side of the magnet, the magnet on the outside should follow its path.
Depending on the make and model, many of these cleaners have microfiber cloths that can easily dislodge dirt and grim, and if you apply a cleaning product, it can shimmer and shine glass in one motion. Moreover, you can simultaneously clean both sides of the glass, making them incredibly time efficient.
7. Using a window vacuum cleaner
Yes, you read that correctly – there are now specialized vacuum cleaners for windows. A window vac aims to suck out all the dirt, grime, and debris around the window frame and on the glass surface.
Many of these vacs come with telescopic handles, allowing you to use them in hard-to-reach places. You can apply the vac to the window glass to reduce streaks and clear out any moisture residue trapped inside windows, e.g., in the case of double-paned windows.
8. Using a window-cleaning kit
This is arguably one of the cheaper options for cleaning high-rise windows. These kits are designed to come with cleaning solutions, tools, brush accessories, and an extension pole that gives you considerable additional reach.
That said, pay close attention to the distance you need to reach windows, as many of these kits will only reach 4 to 6 feet. Any longer, and you may need to purchase a specialized extension pole.
9. Removing the glass
Suppose you want to wash the outside windows of a two-story house, and our previous techniques didn’t quite work out. An often overlooked method is washing out-of-reach windows by taking them out!
Don’t worry; it is much easier than it sounds, though it will ultimately depend on the make and model of your window frames. Many modern styles allow you to easily slip in and out the window pane.
Once you remove the window pane from the inside, you can give it a dusting, deep clean, and pat dry before reinstalling it back into your window pane. Many modern windows can be removed and installed quickly, allowing the homeowner to clean the window panes deeply.
Do remember that panes of glass will be very vulnerable when removed. Ensure you tilt the glass inwards when removing it, that you can carry the pane load and that there’s an area where you can safely place it. Ask for a friend’s help if the pane is particularly long and heavy.
10. Hiring a professional window cleaner
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we cannot reach the window with enough force or water pressure to give them a thorough cleaning. If all else fails, it may be time to hire a professional cleaner for a deep clean.
Window washers will have all the necessary tools and safety equipment to tackle any window at any distance. And because it’s recommended that you have windows washed twice yearly, you won’t have to spend too much throughout the year on hired help.
Expert Cleaning Tips
- Clean your windows on a dull, cloudy, and overcast day. Direct sunlight can evaporate cleaning products and lead to streaks forming across your window. Because these windows are out of reach, buffing them can be difficult.
- The best time of year to wash outside windows is spring and autumn. This is when the weather is usually overcast, and the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold.
- One of the biggest problems with washing out-of-reach windows is streaks and marks left from bad cleaning practices. Use an extendable squeegee to guarantee a streak-free window every time.
- If high-rise windows have resistant dirt, secure a microfiber cloth to an extendable pole or brush to gently rub away the grime.
- Avoid using paper towels or multi-fiber cloths, as these can leave lint and fluff after each wipe.
As our article has shown, you have a lot of choices when it comes to cleaning your outside windows. Many of our suggestions only require a few pieces of equipment to extend your reach and allow you to safely clean and sheen your glass.
As always, some considerations must be made before you reach for your bucket and cleaning products. Pick a quiet, calm, overcast day, and always prioritize your safety when using a ladder.
Please comment below if you have any questions about washing out-of-reach windows or have some valuable tips to share.
But when in doubt, remember:
- The best time of year to clean outside windows is spring and autumn.
- Extension poles can be a great investment, as you can swap different accessories to clean, buff, and sheen glass.
- Different garden hose nozzles can shoot a precise jet of water long distances, allowing you to easily clean far-away windows.