Dapper Duties: Wash Your Windows

As the first snowflakes fell on Chicago last week, I was worried that I had missed my chance to clean the windows at Captain Dapper HQ. Yes, that's right. Captain Dapper cleans his own windows. What can I say? I'm very old fashioned when it comes to household chores.

I wash the windows at Captain Dapper HQ twice per year - once in the spring and once in the fall. Our apartment is on the third floor and has windows that face east and west. The window glass gets covered with all sorts of urban schmutz. Bird poop and street dust and rain spots cover the windows in a layer so thick that the windows take on a gray cast.

Luckily for me, the windows in our apartment tilt inward so they're easy to clean. And although it seems like one of those pain in the ass tasks that gets repeatedly pushed to the bottom of the to-do list, it's actually a fairly quick and painless job. It only takes about thirty minutes to clean all seven windows in the apartment. And that's thirty minutes well spent.

The thing that always surprises me when I clean the windows is how dirty they are on the inside. While I expect the outside of the windows to be covered in a dirty film, I'm always shocked when the inside is too. But with the windows open all summer and with a cat who likes to press her nose against the glass as she gawks out at the birds and squirrels, it's really no surprise that the inside is almost as dirty as the outside.

Here's my fool proof method for cleaning windows:

  • Skip the glass cleaner and fill a bucket with water and dish soap. Yes, dish soap. It gets your drinking glasses clean and clear, right? It does the same for windows.
  • I've saved old bath towels that I've cut into 12" x 12" squares to use as rags. These are perfect for cleaning windows. Drop one in the soapy water and have two more dry rags on hand.
  • Starting with the outside of the windows, wash the glass with a wet, soapy rag. You may have to use a little elbow grease to remove any dried bits (ahem, bird poop) from the glass.
  • Immediately follow up by drying the glass thoroughly with a dry rag. 
  • Repeat on the inside of the glass. Be sure to wash the pane and sash as well.

Pretty easy, right? So now you have no excuse not to clean your windows! Throw on some tunes this weekend and boogie around your house while you wash your windows. Then spend the rest of the day marveling at how clean and clear your view outside is.

Image: Jason Loper

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