Cleaning exterior windows is a chore—even when not factoring in the need for a ladder, cleaning solutions, towels, and, dependent on the time of year, a full-on hazmat suit to protect from the inevitable springtime pollen cloud. It's enough to keep putting off the undesirable task for weeks, months even, which somehow always leads to "well, there's always next year." But not this time. My sister told me about Windex Outdoor Window Glass & Patio Cleaner and, once I got my hands on a bottle, I could barely get it hooked up to my hose fast enough. BUY IT: $10.28; homedepot.com
The bottle is similar in design to Windex Original Glass Cleaner, but with a two-sided nozzle. One side connects to your garden hose and the other is a sprayer. The sprayer is controlled by a dial that turns it off or to rinse or clean mode. It provides a concentrated, high-powered stream of water that can kick off stuck-on cobwebs, clear stubborn pollen, or even dirt and grime. If you have mold spots around your window panes—which is an issue with my 50-plus-year-old windows—you'll need to apply a mold-fighting treatment to wipe out that particular issue.
Now here's the thing, you need to work quickly, especially if it's a sunny, warm day. You do not want to let the suds dry on the windows, and it will happen in a snap if you let it. Spray your windows down thoroughly with the Rinse setting, then give them a good coat with the soapy Clean mode. Let it sit for about 15 seconds then starting rinsing again. Just be sure they're thoroughly sprayed—if you leave some soap on the windows you might have splotching or streaking.
The most rewarding part of this process is going to come about 20 minutes later when you catch a glimpse out of your windows. Streak-free, I tell you. Gone are the murky, pollen-coated glass you've come to accept as the norm. It'll be nothing but blue skies.
Windex Outdoor Sprayer
BUY IT: $10.28; homedepot.com