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Never Clean This One Part of Your Home When It's Sunny, Experts Say

This cleaning job is a cinch—crummy weather permitting.

If your house is due for a deep cleaning, you may be wondering where to begin. For one cleaning project in particular, you only need to look outside to decide whether to put it on the day's to-do list. Experts say that tackling this task on a sunny day may actually leave you with more of a mess on your hands than when you started. Read on to find out which cleaning project you should skip on a sunny day and how to get pristine results every time.

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Never clean your windows when it's hot and sunny outside.

young blonde woman cleaning window
Shutterstock/Syda Productions

When it comes to cleaning your window exteriors, experts say it's best to save this project for a cloudy, overcast day.

"Do this job in the blazing sun and the cleaner will dry onto the hot windows before you get to wipe it off, leaving hard-to-remove streaks," Carolyn Forte, director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab, explains. She suggests working on different parts of the house during different times of day, always working on windows when it's shady outdoors.

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If you do work in the sun, you should cool the glass first.

woman spraying window with hose
Shutterstock/Ozgur Coskun

The window cleaning experts from the California-based company C & C Window Cleaning, LLC know a thing or two about working in sunny conditions. They say it is possible to clean your windows on a bright, hot day—but you need to prep your windows first by bringing their temperature down. You can do this by filling a bucket with cool water and applying it to the windows until they are the same temperature as the water.

Alternatively, you can also spray them with a hose—though it's worth noting that going from extremely hot to extremely cold can cause stress fractures in glass. For this reason, they recommend spraying "a little bit at first, just to let the glass get used to it." Work on one window at a time, so the glass doesn't heat up again before you've finished the job.

Apply your cleaning solution generously.

young man in overalls cleaning window
Shutterstock/LightField Studios

Whichever method you choose, Forte says you should apply your cleaning solution generously to fully remove first and grime. Start by wiping or vacuuming any debris from the windows and windowsill, then cover the pane of glass with your cleaning solution. "You need plenty of cleaner to dissolve and suspend the dirt so it can be completely wiped away—skimp and you'll be seeing streaks," Forte writes.

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Use a microfiber cloth for best results.

hand cleaning window with green microfiber cloth

Not sure what other materials you'll need? Forte says that besides a good glass cleaning solution, you'll want to have reusable microfiber cloths on hand. "They are super absorbent, washable, and leave the glass shiny and streak-free," Forte says.

Some people prefer using newspaper to wipe down their exterior windows. "Old newspapers are a great, eco-friendly alternative to paper towels when cleaning windows," Angela Dixon, a cleaning expert with Grove Collaborative tells Apartment Therapy. However, Dixon notes that some types of newspaper use petroleum-based ink, which is known to leave streaks of ink residue on the glass. If you choose this method, test it on a corner of glass first to avoid accidentally creating more mess to clean.

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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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