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Windows can get pretty dirty over time, and the farther out-of-reach they are, the less often they get cleaned, particularly on the outside. Even when you do clean glass surfaces, doing it wrong can leave streaks, which also need to be cleaned, unnecessarily doubling the workload.
Fortunately, there are all sorts of solutions out there, no matter what the window situation in your house is. Both high-tech and low-tech options have their ups and downs, so consider the big picture before buying.
With this in mind, here’s how to clean your windows, plus our picks for the best cleaning tools to purchase.
Window Cleaning Tools Buying Guide
Before we chose our favorite cleaning tools, here’s everything we considered in our research for this guide.
Design and Features: There are a variety of cleaning tools out there, including both high-tech and more standard, classic products.
Modern window-cleaning robots can be a huge help, especially on large surfaces like sliding doors and picture windows. But the tech is still pretty new, and often at the top of most budgets. These generally have a custom microfiber cloth on the underside, utilizing suction to stay vertical and steady as they suck up dirt. You can even control them from afar, either with a remote or via a Bluetooth app on your phone. Some can calculate the most efficient route, while being careful to avoid frames and borders (sometimes when you’re not even at home).
On the other hand, handheld tools that rely on muscle and elbow grease (and some window cleaner) may require slightly more effort, but they’re also way less complicated, and not to mention often more affordable. Though it’s more physical work, it can also get the job done a whole lot quicker if your windows aren’t too big and are divided by panes. Along with being lighter and better for targeting dirty spots, they’re flexible to compensate for bending and pressing, and can extend way up high to get things like that skylight you’ve been meaning to clean for a while now.
Battery/Cable Length: A potential limitation to consider is the power cord. If you have lots of big windows away from an outlet, make sure the model you want can run on a rechargeable battery or has enough slack in its cord to reach across the room while it moves.
Noise: Sound is another factor, as some robots can get loud while doing their job. If it’s grinding along in another room, this isn’t too big of a deal, but if it’s close to someone trying to work or take calls, it can be an irritating distraction.
Speed: Choosing how quickly and easily you want to be able to clean your windows will help determine the right tool for you.
Typically, for a window cleaning robot, one meter takes about four minutes to completely cover. Large, smooth and uninterrupted surfaces are where high-tech products work best. But for smaller windows with pane dividers, it’s going to be pretty limited and you’ll need to clean it by hand. Still, these can be helpful in additional areas of the home. Take into consideration the other smooth surfaces in your house, like mirrors, countertops, as well as tile showers and greenhouses.
Damage: Another risk to consider if you’re thinking about getting a robot cleaner is that it could fall, risking damage to the product and whatever is underneath it. Luckily, many manufacturers are aware of this, and have started implementing clever solutions to catch them before a fall happens, such as detecting any air leakage in the suction and then quickly reversing course, along with a safety rope.
What Are the Best Window Cleaners?
Below, we’ve selected options that cover the full spectrum of window cleaning tools, from robots that do it all, to efficient extension pole tools.
1. Hobot-298 Window Cleaning Automatic Robot
Designed for rectangular windows with 90-degree corners, this device traps dust in its microfiber pad before it hits the vacuum, and prevents it from blowing back out into the room. Despite its bulky look, it’s surprisingly lightweight, at just under 3 pounds, and includes a safety rope for cleaning outdoor windows, ensuring it doesn’t fall down. This even works on solar panels, covering about 100 square feet on one tank of cleaning solution.
The unit includes three cleaning cloths, along with a remote. It’ll need a power cord to operate, though there is an emergency backup lithium battery if the power goes out, which helps keep it running and suctioned to the glass for about 20 minutes.
2. Sophinique X5 Window Vacuum Cleaner
Think outside your windows with this neat little robot. Not only can it clean the outside panes, but it’s also great on showers and countertops. This can clean a square meter in about four minutes, without damaging or scratching up the glass thanks to the microfiber cloths. The X5 takes in air as it goes along, helping it to remain tightly gripped to even the smoothest surface. Plus, the cleaning pads are machine washable. It also has precautions against falling and damage by automatically sensing edges, with a high-strength safety rope to catch it every time.
3. Lomida Professional Window Squeegee Cleaner
This is quick to assemble, with four aluminum-alloy rods and a button-lock design to make sure it stays in place. The flexible head is an excellent evolution to traditional rigid mops, allowing you to move freely, clean corners and apply pressure to especially filthy spots.
Reaching up high is no problem, as this can stretch all the way up to 62 inches — no ladders required.
The handle’s grips are a comfortable rubber, with one at the base and another halfway up. After washing your surfaces, flip it around to use the squeegee side and wipe away excess water without streaking.
When you’re done, remove the cleaning cloth and wash it in the sink, let it dry and you’re ready for next time. This also works on skylights and showers.
4. Baban Squeegee Window Cleaner
Baban’s tool makes cleaning windows efficient and easy, with one side for washing and the other squeegeed side for wiping down.
The pad is attached with Velcro and holds strong, even when dragging it across dirt surfaces. Same goes for the four-section, 61-inch aluminum extension pole, with a curved option for getting a better angle.
When you’re done, the pads are machine washable, and the pole comes with a one-year replacement in case you put too much muscle into it.