There are many different ways to clean windows. While some swear by using microfiber cloths, others insist that newspaper is the best way to polish windows for a streak free finish – but who’s right? Are all window cleaning techniques equally effective, or are some methods better than others? Here’s what you need to know about cleaning windows with newspaper and other alternatives.
Benefits of Cleaning Windows with Newspaper
Cleaning windows is an arduous task. Luckily the use of newspaper tends to make it a bit easier to wipe away any droplets of water left after cleaning. Newspaper has an astounding ability to produce sparkling clean windows. What’s even more impressive is that newspaper was never made specifically for the purpose of cleaning windows, but it still works quite well.
There’s are a lot of theories as to why newspaper is so effective for cleaning windows. Some people believe that the inks in the paper is what makes newspaper such an effective cleaning tool.
More likely, however, newspaper is effective simply because it’s absorbent. Most paper used for print media is specially made to be water resistant, but not newspaper. Instead newspaper is specifically made to be porous and absorbent to allow it to soak up ink more easily.
Seeing as newspaper’s absorbency is what makes it so effective, anything highly effective should deliver an equally good result. But alternatives don’t always work as well. Soft cloths of towels are prone to leaving lint behind, for instance.
Another attribute of newspaper is the rough texture when you crumple it. This crumpled surface tends to be effective at wiping away streaks, perhaps even scraping them off the window. Soft cloths don’t have this same scraping action, so it often takes more rubbing to get rid of streaks.
Newspaper Pros and Cons
Here are some of the main benefits of cleaning windows with newspaper:
- Newspaper is cost effective – some households may even get them for free
- It’s easy to wipe streaks away, leaving a spotless finish
- Cleaning windows with newspaper is like a form of recycling
- Newspaper is biodegradable, so it’s an eco-friendly option
That said, newspaper also has its disadvantages:
- The crumpled paper eventually gets soaked, in which case it will no longer be effective.
- Because paper gets soaked, you’ll need a good supply of paper before you start.
- Rubbing away stains can take a lot of time and effort.
- Soaked pieces of paper will leave some lint and even streaks behind.
- Newspaper pieces that are dry aren’t quite as effective as ones that are only slightly damp, so the optimal lifespan of a single piece is quite short.
Because it takes so much newspaper to clean windows, you can easily find yourself running out. In this case you’ll need to resort to using pieces that are saturated, which will leave behind a lot of lint and streaks on your windows.
Newspaper Alternatives for Cleaning Windows
There are quite a few alternatives for cleaning windows. Some of the most popular windows cleaning alternatives include squeegees and microfiber cloths. You could also use newspaper or microfiber cloths with a squeegee to help dry up any streaks left behind.
Some people also use regular cloths, towels and sponges to clean windows, albeit the most popular alternative remains a window squeegee.
When looking at alternatives, most offer a simple benefit over newspaper – they’re reusable.
Using a Squeegee for Cleaning Windows
Windows squeegees are so fast and effective – everyone should try them at least once. How to clean with a window squeegee will depend on what kind of squeegee you have.
Some squeegees are made with both a spongy side and a scraper side. If your squeegee doesn’t have a spongy side, you can use a squeegee glove to cover your squeegee. Alternatively, you can use a sponge separate from your window squeegee.
First, you must wet the window using your soap solution of choice and the spongy side of your squeegee. Be sure to wipe the whole window over with the sponge thoroughly to clean it. Once you’re done, scrape away the remaining water and soap solution using the rubber blade on your squeegee.
If there are any streaks you couldn’t get rid of using your squeegee blade, take some newspaper or a cloth to wipe it away.
Pros and Cons of Window Squeegees
Using a squeegee offers several benefits over any other methods:
- The rubber blade on a squeegee quickly dries away water residue, preventing stains.
- Squeegees are effective for large surfaces, as they are quicker and more convenient.
- The handle allows you to reach the upper parts of your windows without standing on a ladder.
- Squeegees are reusable, so you won’t need a new one every time you want to clean your windows.
While there are a lot of benefits to using squeegees, they also have some disadvantages:
- A good quality squeegee is more expensive to buy than newspaper.
- If you have a second floor on your house, the squeegee handle won’t allow you to reach all your windows.
- Squeegees often leave behind small streaks that your just can seem to scrape off.
- The water you scrape off when you use a squeegee will wet the ground, so they’re not good to use inside your house.
Despite the disadvantages of squeegees, they’re still an excellent choice for cleaning exterior windows.
Using a Microfiber Cloth to Clean Windows
Microfiber cloths are gaining popularity for household cleaning. Good quality cloths are tightly woven together, so you can see a good cloth by holding it up to a light source. If you see light poking through tiny holes on the cloth, you’ll need a better cloth to clean your windows.
The best microfiber cloth for cleaning windows is one that’s fine and delicate, like the one you might use to polish your car mirrors. The fine texture of these cloths makes them super absorbent, which is great for cleaning windows.
Pros and Cons of Using Microfiber Cloths
Microfiber cloths offer the following benefits for cleaning windows:
- Just like squeegees, microfiber cloths are reusable.
- The tiny microfibers on your cloth will pick up and lint and dust from the window.
- A good cloth is absorbent enough to hold 8 times its weight in water.
- Microfiber cloths can reduce your need for chemicals while cleaning.
Like all other window cleaning tools, microfiber cloths have some disadvantages:
- Good cloths are very durable and effective, but they’re also quite pricey.
- The tiny microfibers on your cloth can come during washing, these fibers eventually find their way into the oceans, causing pollution.
- It’s almost impossible to clean oil out of microfiber cloths, so cleaning a window with oil spatters will drastically reduce its lifespan.
All and all, microfiber cloths are effective, and you can definitely consider using them next time you clean your windows.
Conclusion: What’s the Best Way to Clean Windows?
There’s no single way that’s best to clean windows. However, newspaper alone probably isn’t as good a choice these days. For the best results, use a squeegee together with either newspaper or a microfiber cloth to wipe streaks away.
If you want the best result for the least amount of effort, opt for using a squeegee and microfiber cloth. Not only will your microfiber cloth leave no lint on your windows, its soft texture will ensure your windows stay in mint condition, free of scratches.
What do you use to clean your windows at home? Are there any methods you find more effective than others? Be sure to leave a comment and tell us what your thoughts are.