Is Newspaper Good for Cleaning Windows?

by | Jan 20, 2023 | Window Cleaning | 0 comments

If you’ve been researching window cleaning, you’ve probably read that newspapers are a powerful cleaning tool. Newspaper has a strong reputation for its ability to hold together when wiping down windows, which is why so many people recommend it, but are the rumors true? Should you be washing your windows with newspaper? 

Does Cleaning Windows with Newspaper Work?

If you’ve ever held a newspaper, it seems unlikely that it’s as effective for cleaning windows as something like a microfiber towel. Newspaper doesn’t feel as absorbent, and all that ink has to leave behind stains and smudges, right? 

Not necessarily. We’ve tested newspaper on many different types of glass, and it’s a reliable way to wipe down windows, mirrors, and just about every type of glass you can think of. When using newspaper to clean mirrors, you can achieve streak-free results, and newspaper is often easier to use than a towel or rag that may leave behind lint. It’s also disposable, and a lot of people have newspapers lying around already. 

Newspaper Is a Durable and Streak-Free Cleaning Tool

If you’ve ever watched videos about cleaning windows with newspaper on YouTube, you’ve seen the miraculous results people can achieve with paper. These results aren’t fake, and if you try the method, you aren’t likely to seek an alternative to newspaper for cleaning windows.

Newspaper is made from tightly packed fibers that don’t fall apart easily like other types of paper. It also effectively absorbs cleaning solution and scrubs away grime. Finally, newspaper can wipe away solutions similarly to how a squeegee would. That means if you use the proper cleaning pattern, you can get streak-free results when cleaning with newspaper. 

The Proper Newspaper Cleaning Technique Is Important

Just as cleaning with a scrubber and squeegee requires proper technique, so does cleaning with newspaper. Start by spraying a fine mist of your cleaning solution on the window. A mixture of distilled water and vinegar works particularly well with newspaper. 

Now, swirl the solution in a circle to loosen any dirt. Finish the process by moving in horizontal and vertical patterns snaking down the glass to squeegee away any remaining water for a streak-free finish. 

Not All Newspaper Works the Same

Questions like “does newspaper scratch glass?” or “does newspaper stain glass?” are valid concerns. The trick to avoiding these problems is to use the right type of newspaper, and you’ll have to do some tests to determine whether you have the right stuff or not. 

What Is the Best Paper to Clean Windows With?

Not all newspapers are good for cleaning windows. You must use paper that has soy-based ink on it. This ink won’t run, stain or streak. Petroleum-based ink leaves stains and can even scratch your glass. 

Test Your Paper for Soy-Based Ink

Do this quick test to determine if your newspaper relies on soy-based ink. Hold the paper between two of your fingers for one minute. Be sure to pinch a section that’s coated heavily with ink. Consider dampening your fingers with water before performing the test. 

If your fingers are smudged when you remove them, don’t use the newspaper. If not, the paper uses soy-based ink and is good for window washing. 

What Are the Best Ways to Clean Outside Windows?

Now that you know newspaper is a useful tool for cleaning windows, you may be tempted to use it everywhere. Although it works well and can be used to clean every glass surface, we think of newspaper as a tool for quick touchups and not a professional-quality cleaning solution. Newspaper shouldn’t be your tool of choice for cleaning exterior windows. 

How to Clean Outside Windows with a Squeegee

The best way to clean windows outside for the average homeowner is with a squeegee and a mildly soapy cleaning solution. Once you master the cleaning technique, you can use a scrub brush to free grime and a squeegee and rag to remove any remaining water and solution from your windows. 

This cleaning method is fast and effective, and it’s how many professionals clean exterior and interior windows today. In fact, the squeegee method is the best way to clean windows inside, period. 

How to Clean Outside Windows You Can’t Reach

When you’re cleaning exterior windows on a multi-story home, you’ll have some windows you can’t reach from the ground. When this happens, you can either clean them from a ladder, or by using an extension pole. Most window cleaning professionals rely on extension poles for multi-story cleaning on windows less than 40 feet up and lifts, cranes, and other specialized tools for taller windows. 

How to Clean Outside Windows from Inside

Some windows can be opened in a way that gives you access to them from within your home. If you can open your window partially and reach the exterior glass, you can clean unreachable windows from within your home. 

This method is often only good for reaching some of the exterior glass, and isn’t a suitable replacement for a professional with an extension pole on the outside of your home. 

What Is the Best Window Cleaning Solution?

The best window cleaning solution for home use depends on the cleaning tools you’re using. When using a pro-grade squeegee and scrub brush, a solution of distilled or filtered water and dish soap is best. It creates the perfect amount of glide while lifting dirt and grime away from windows to create a streak-free finish. This solution isn’t the best option when using rags or newspaper to clean, though. 

What Is the Best Solution for Cleaning with Newspaper, Paper Towels, or Microfiber?

A soapy window cleaning solution isn’t optimal when cleaning with most rags and newspaper. Instead, you should use a cleaner that evaporates readily. A solution such as distilled water and vinegar in equal parts works well. You could also use a product like Windex for quick cleaning. 

What Is the Best Rag Option for Quick Window Cleaning?

If you don’t want to break out a squeegee and scrub brush, which is always our number one recommendation, you can use paper towels, newspaper, or microfiber cloths to clean with. 

The best paper for cleaning windows is newspaper with soy-based ink. This won’t streak, smudge or stain, and it scrubs effectively. 

The best microfiber cloth for cleaning windows is any clean and undamaged microfiber, but you must be careful to wash microfiber separately from other cloth types to avoid issues with lint. You should also rely on a cleaning solution like Windex that will evaporate on its own when using Microfiber, because you’ll be left with a very light amount of moisture when finished. 

The best paper towels for cleaning are untreated options that are thin and slightly scratchy. Options like SCOTT Glass Towels work best, and you shouldn’t rely on any towels that boast of their absorbency because they are likely to leave behind lint and residue. 

S&K Building Services Can Give Your Windows a Deep Clean 

Cleaning with newspapers and microfiber rags works fine for light-duty quick cleaning. It’s not optimal for a full deep clean, though, or for cleaning all the windows on your home or business. Instead, you want professionals with large tools and years of experience. The cleaners at S&K Building Services have years of experience and pro-grade tools for a blemish-free finish. Contact our efficient and reliable team today for a window cleaning quote. 


Does cleaning with newspaper work?

Cleaning windows and mirrors with the right kind of newspaper works well. Any paper with soy-based ink won’t smudge or scratch glass and can achieve streak-free cleaning results. 

Can newspaper scratch glass?

Newspaper can scratch glass if it relies on petroleum-based ink. Wet your fingers and squeeze a section of the paper where the ink resides. If it doesn’t stain your fingers, it’s safe to use to clean windows. 

How do you clean windows with vinegar and newspaper?

Mix equal parts of vinegar and distilled water together. Now mist your cleaning solution onto a window and swirl the solution in a circle with the newspaper. Finish cleaning by wiping the solution horizontally and vertically in an S-pattern along the window to avoid streaks. 

Is paper towel or cloth better for cleaning windows?

A microfiber cloth is superior to paper towels for cleaning windows. Microfiber won’t leave behind lint or fuzz and absorbs water better than paper towels. 

What is the best way to clean windows without streaking?

The best way to clean windows without streaking is to use a squeegee and scrub brush with a solution made from distilled water and a light amount of dish soap. 

What do professional window cleaners use to clean windows?

Professional window cleaners rely on a squeegee and scrub brush, or a water-fed pole to clean windows. 

Can you use straight vinegar to clean windows?

Straight vinegar is a powerful window cleaning solution that works well for cleaning heavily soiled windows. Most people mix with distilled or filtered water to help their vinegar last longer. 

How do you clean windows with Windex?

To clean with Windex, spray a fine mist onto your windows and wipe away with a microfiber cloth or a newspaper using with soy-based ink. 

What is the best thing to wipe your windows with?

A microfiber rag is an optimal tool for wiping moisture off windows. Combine it with a squeegee and scrubber for the best cleaning tools you can get for interior windows. 

Related Articles

Related Resources

Contact Us