7 money-saving ways to clean your windows with cheap and cheerful household items

You don't need a complicated cleaning formula, a ladder and a white van to make your windows sparkle – just some common kitchen staples from your cupboards.

You've done your spring clean and the house is looking ready to shine bright through the summer months, but what if the first rays of sun reveal that the windows are still grimy?

[Read more: What is spring cleaning and why do we do it?]

You might think that this is a task for the experts. Well think again and put that 20 quid back in your pocket. By using what is already in your kitchen, you'll be seeing the bright soul of your home through pristine windows in less than an hour. Just follow these steps…

1. Get rid of those stubborn stains

The outside of your windows are exposed to the elements and can have such a build-up of bird droppings, minerals and hard water run-off that you think they’ll never sparkle again.

The first thing to do is to attack those stubborn stains that you might think just aren't going to budge. Apply pure vinegar on a sponge to the stained area of your window and leave that for 5-10 minutes to work its magic while you rinse the sponge clean.

Return to the window with the clean sponge and rub at the stain with a spot of elbow grease.

2. Give the windows a pre-rinse

If you have a hose to hand, it is worth giving all the windows a quick soak now to clear any dust around the edges ahead of applying your cleaning solution.

3. Make your own cleaning solution

No Windolene or chemistry degree? No problem. Just mix a squirt of washing-up liquid with hot water in a bucket or bowl; the fewer suds the better.

[Read more: 6 money-saving ways to clean a dirty oven]

4. Use a sponge, not a squeegee

We don't all have a window cleaners’ squeegee hanging around the house, but don’t worry. Squeegees just comprise a couple of sponges, so you can use the same sponge as you initially applied the vinegar with at this stage.

You then should just use that sponge to apply your cleaning formula to the window. If the sponge is squeaking too much, add a touch more washing up liquid.

Don't be fooled by the idea of using old newspaper – that’s the biggest urban myth of the window cleaning world. Brent Weingard, owner of New York's Expert Window Cleaners, explains why. “You’re just moving dirt around from one spot to another and putting a static charge on the glass, which attracts dust and dirt,” he says.

5. Get to the higher floors

With your formula applied and doing magic on your bottom floor windows, your eyes now fall on those windows out of your reach. In the absence of a ladder, your best option will be to attach your sponge to the end of a broom or long stick and apply the formula to the windows like that.

[Read more: Cleaning hacks: 7 old fashioned cleaning tips using household items]

6. Wipe them clean

Use a trusty old linen napkin to wipe your windows clean of suds and the grime that has been taken away. Use a fresh area of the napkin for each stroke and then be sure to wash it afterwards, so that it can be used again. Wipe vertically for small window panes and wipe horizontally for large picture windows.

7. Do the same inside

Most of the dirt will be on the outside of the windows, but it's worth laying a towel down and following steps three to six for the inside of the windows as well.

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