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Washing your windows is a tedious chore — so you want to make sure you get it right the first time. To avoid having to redo your work, we tapped from Carolyn Forte, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab to get her expert advice.

1. Choose a dry, cloudy day.

“Do this job in the blazing sun and the cleaner will dry onto the hot windows before you get to wipe it off, leaving hard-to-remove streaks,” Forte says. If the weather won’t cooperate, start on the shady side of the house.

2. Remove dirt and dust first.

Before you get started, sweep dirt from the window frame with a brush or vacuum it up with your machine’s dusting attachment. This will prevent dirt from turning into a muddy mess when mixed with a cleaner. If your window screen looks especially grimy, pop it out and wash with hot, sudsy water and a soft brush, then rinse and let dry before putting it back.

For quickly dusting shades and blinds, Forte recommends going over both sides with a microfiber duster or opening the slats and going over each one with a damp cloth and followed by a dry one.

You can also refresh your curtains at the same time by putting them in the dryer for 15 minutes on an “air-only” cycle and rehanging quickly to prevent wrinkles.

3. Pick the right cleaner — and spritz generously.

Don’t hold back on the spray, especially if your windows look extra dirty. “You need plenty of cleaner to dissolve and suspend the dirt so it can be completely wiped away — skimp and you’ll be seeing streaks,” Forte says.

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