I can’t see clearly now

One of my friends mentioned that she saw a great idea on Pinterest for washing windows. You mix a concoction of Dawn dishwashing detergent and Jet-Dry, scrub your windows a bit and shazam! Clean windows.

As it happens, we have old, decrepit windows in our kitchen. They’ve been painted shut, although they are somehow still drafty. They sit so close to the roofline that it’s impossible to get close enough to them to scrub them clean conventionally. Believe me, I’ve tried. I’ve dangled from an extension ladder, reaching much too far, and praying that I might miss the A/C unit below in the event of a fall.

When we moved in, we replaced a lot of windows in the house within the first month. Not all of them, you understand. We triaged each room, deciding to replace only those windows that allowed bugs to come right on through.  Somehow these in the kitchen managed to survive this criteria, so we stuck with them despite all their horrible, painted-shut nastiness.

That was about 10 years ago. They’ve been a nightmare to clean ever since.

So this casual mention of a Pinterest miracle solution triggered my interest and a few quick minutes with Google, I had found a couple of different recipes. I settled on one with Jet-Dry and ammonia and rubbing alcohol and detergent.

My husband S sprayed them with water, climbed up on the rickety ladder and used a long mop to scrub the solution all over the panes. Then we rinsed and held our breath for the squeaky-clean view.

Foggy, streaky windows. Sigh.

Foggy, streaky windows. Sigh.

Yeah, we’re still waiting.

To be completely fair to the Pinterest poster, I don’t think anything is ever going to clean these windows. We’ve tried a power washer, spritzes and sprays, and now even this, and still… meh. The fact that they are foggy hours after our little experiment tells me that they are beyond any cleanser, no matter how miraculous. They are kaput.

Of course, if the universe was trying to tell me that it’s time to buy new windows, it might have done so before my husband got soaking wet, two stories above the ground during a cool November weekend in Chicago.

Um, yeah. I think I better bake an apple pie or two just for him.

Do you have a miracle solution for cleaning windows? Especially those hard-to-reach ones way above the ground?

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About thethingaboutjoan

Mom of three who knits a little, bakes a lot, crafts a bit and blogs about it all.
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16 Responses to I can’t see clearly now

  1. Wish I could help you! No ideas…great post though.

  2. Cleaning windows – I am impressed by you taking on the challenge! That is my least favorite job of all domestic chores. When I worked in retail (many moons ago), they taught us to clean the windows with Windex and use newspapers to wipe them to prevent streaking. Maybe try that? It works on some of my less than awesome windows.

    • It’s my least favorite job as well, but I hate seeing that dirty film right outside my kitchen window (probably because if I’m home, I’m either in the kitchen or the laundry room!).

      Also, thanks for the tip! I’ll try the Windex and newspapers method if I can figure out how to maneuver the ladder close enough to reach them without falling. Or heck, I might just leave em until we save up enough to replace em. That sounds more like my type of housekeeping… :)

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  3. mtetar says:

    Great determination on your part Joan. Even though window changing is costly I think it is the best solution for all you’ve done. After changing the window/windows cleaning maintenance would be the best solution. Thanks for sharing. Blessings, Mtetar

    • I keep thinking I’ll get them clean yet, but I know it’s time to replace them. Definitely going with windows that you can tilt inward so I’ll never have to climb on that extension ladder again! All the best to you, Mtetar.

  4. amyp22 says:

    My husband’s idea is to move every few years..no window cleaning that way. Sure do miss living close to Chicago!

  5. OK I have no idea if this will work for you, but I made a daily shower spray that worked WONDERS on my hard water stains. Thea from ‘Time with Thea’ made it and used it on her windows and said it worked! I swear it’s the Tea Tree Oil that made it work. Might be worth a try!
    http://neatenyournest.com/spring-greening-almost-green-shower-spray/
    ~Erin

    • Thanks for the link, Erin! Tea tree oil? I would have never thought of that. Thea always has such great ideas, you know? I’m glad to hear that it worked for you too (love a good testimonial) — I’ll definitely give it a try. Hope all is well by you as we dive into the holidays. Best, Joan

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  6. I so agree with Erin! Her window cleaner really works. However if the window needs to be replaced nothing may clean it. I have to admit replacing windows is just as exciting as having your shingles replaced. Yuck and so expensive. Oh well. Such is the life of being a homeowner. Good luck with the window. ~Thea

    • I was slightly outraged that we would have to replace those windows, but then I realized that they are probably 40+ years old. It’s just time, I’m afraid. But I’d be willing to try that window cleaner on my other windows!

  7. love your title :-) it got me curious! :-)
    & sorry, don’t know any tips about this & replacing windows is so expensive, we have a few to replace but it will have to wait until we can afford it!

    • Ingrid! How are you? I’m with you — I know those windows need to be replaced, but for whatever reason (okay — money!), I don’t want to. Who wants to spend money on un-fun things like windows? I’d rather buy crafty stuff and yarn. Lots of yarn. :) Of course, that won’t work so well in the winter…. :)

      • :-) good, thank you Joan!
        hope you are doing well too :-)
        ha!ha! yep, me too, I wish I could buy plenty of craft supplies & I want one of those Silhouette Cameo’s machines for crafting but we need to pay bills first ha!ha!

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