The Top 4 Reasons You Can’t Get Your Windows To Look Good

Why Can’t I Get My Windows Clean Like I Want??

How frustrating it is when you’ve tried your best to clean your windows like you may have seen actors on TV or other advertisements do, and it just isn’t working! You may use some new product or a time-tested method and are so proud of yourself- until the morning sun shines through! You may cringe with disgust at how they really look. What went wrong? Perhaps you’ll keep on trying, perhaps you’ll just live with it- as in, don’t even look at them when the sun shines on them. Or, you may finally decide to call a local professional window cleaner to ‘do it right’. This could be the key to figuring it all out and hopefully avoiding the dreaded smears and streaks in the future! Here is my personal list, based on over 35 years of professional window cleaning, of the top 4 reasons why you can’t make those windows look clean.

Top 4 Reasons You Can’t Get Your Windows Looking Right

These reasons are the ones I’ve compiled and not in any strict order.

1. Products not used properly

I will venture to say that just about every product on the market advertised to clean windows is adequate in its own right. Chances are that they will make your windows look better than they were, not necessarily perfect. Some of us don’t care about or expect perfection, so properly-used retail window cleaning products may be the ticket. The problem often lies in either the inability of a homeowner to follow the directions or the short cuts he or she may decide to take. Oftentimes there are 2nd floor windows, even third floor, that are very difficult to access depending on the style and actual location they are in. There could be a tree or large hedge that restricts clear approach to some windows. If ideal conditions are not present when trying to clean such windows, the results may be disappointing. The fact is that no advertised window cleaning product is going to warn you that there is a good chance it won’t work perfectly. The ease and effectiveness are what are featured, understandably so. But the reality will be in the ‘small print’. Here is an example by Windex Outdoor

In some circumstances, windows may be extremely dirty and need more than one treatment with the product of choice.

Or it could be that not enough or too much of a product is being applied to a window. In the case of wiping rags, they may not be absorbent enough or large enough. In either case, one will likely not get the desired or promised results.

2. Poor technique

It may at times appear that a product is simply garbage. While that may be the case, it also may be that patience or careful deliberate technique is lacking enough to the point that poor results will ensue. Depending on the method of cleaning being used, it could be a matter of bad aim with a spraying device, rushing the spraying process, not a thorough enough scrub, too much pressure, too little pressure, not looking carefully at your work, improper squeegee technique, and so on.

3. Bad prevailing conditions

Sometimes you simply have the odds stacked against you. It could be you are cleaning a window that is in the direct sun. Inside or out, the glass will heat up, sometimes to the point where the liquid you are using dries before you can clean it off. That can be a source of frustration sometimes even to a seasoned veteran . Strong wind or low humidity can have the same effect, and combined with sun, may make you want to rethink your life. There can also be contaminants on the glass that simply won’t come off with the standard method of applying an effective cleaner and either rinsing, squeegeeing, or wiping it. This can include mineral deposits from hard water, shotgun or artillery fungus- those black dots that are on windows near certain types of mulch, grease spatter from a nearby grill, paint, wood stain, or mortar left behind by careless contractors, and residue left by someone using an inappropriate cleaner in the past.

There are ways, of course, to combat these extra challenges. They may be beyond the ability or ambition of a homeowner.

4. Marks or blemishes that nobody can fix

This last, but not least reason is not your fault! We get calls sometimes from frustrated property owners who have tried everything under the sun to get smears or haze off their glass. Quite often the explanation is that what is seen in certain lighting conditions is in between two panes of glass. It is very common for windows to be insulated glass units, in other words two separate panes of glass connected by spacers on all sides and sealed with a gas, such as argon, krypton, or xenon. There can be leaking over time, or infiltration of moisture into the sealed unit. This will cause a reaction on the inner sides of the two window panes. You obviously can’t remove it, since you can touch it. It can appear as patches of haziness. There are even examples, too many in my experience, of manufacturer defect. Suction cup marks from the original handling of the glass can show up in between the panes. There can also be scratches or scrapes on glass from an accident or mishandling. Some scratches can be buffed out, others are such that replacement would be the only option to remedy the problem.


This is not in any way an exhaustive list, but at least reasons 1-3 can be successfully dealt with. You may decide it is worth it to hire a professional window cleaner to make everything look awesome and save you the time and effort.


If you have any questions or want to discuss this subject you can email me at
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