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How to Clean Window Sills (Exteriors Included!)

indoor plants and pillow on a white window sill

When you open your windows to let some cool breeze in, one can expect dust and debris to come with it; it’s inevitable! These particles find their way to every corner of your house, and one of the first surfaces they settle on is none other than your window sill! This is generally added to an already grimy interior surface, one which is often subjected to grubby hands, stains, and rings caused by glasses, flower pots, etc. 

Overall, a dirty window sill is unsightly and unsanitary; in fact, as a frequently-touched surface in the home, it is a common hotspot for transferable germs. For this reason, keeping your window sill clean and sterile is important.

With that said, homeowners often overlook the cleaning requirements of the exterior window sill which is usually a lot more soiled than the inside sill. So, if you’re looking for ways to clean both interior and exterior window sills, Maid For You has got you covered! 

Read on for our simple, step-by-step guides to clean your window sills.

Interior Window Sills

sun gleaming through exceptionally clean all-white windows.

It is fairly quick and easy to clean your interior window sills. All you need is a little liquid dish detergent, clean microfibre cloths, and a spray bottle. When you have gathered these items, walk over to your window, and follow the steps below:

  • Clear the window sill of decorative items (if any), and make sure that the window treatment is out of the way. Dust and debris are a given if you have not cleaned the sill in a while; therefore, the first step is to wipe it thoroughly to remove as much surface dirt as possible. A microfibre dust cloth can be used for this.
  • Make your cleaning solution in the spray bottle itself by filling it with 2 cups of water, and adding in a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Close the bottle and shake it vigorously to combine the soap and water. For a heavily soiled or greasy window sill, use warm-hot water instead, and adjust the strength of the cleaning solution as needed. 
  • Take a fresh microfibre cloth and spray it with the cleaning solution (just enough to dampen it). Avoid using a saturated cloth on wooden window sills as it may penetrate and damage the timber if there are cracks in the sealant. The same goes for painted surfaces; depending on the type of finish, exposure to moisture can cause damage or fading. 
  • Use the dampened cloth to clean your window sill by wiping it down thoroughly. If there are adhesive stains, mud stains, or stubborn smudges, apply more pressure with your fingers to scrub them away. You may also require a little more of the cleaning solution, however, if you are going to dampen the cloth further, it is advisable to wait for the surface to dry before attempting a deeper clean (unless, of course, it is a water-resistant material).
  • When you are satisfied with the clean, the last thing you need to do is wipe over the window sill with a clean, dry cloth. This is especially important if you have a wooden window sill because any moisture that can be soaked up from the surface will aid in drying the material faster.

TIP: The best way to avoid stubborn stains and grime on your window sill is with regular cleaning. Dusting the surface should be included in your everyday cleaning routine while a weekly wipe down with a disinfectant and damp cloth will keep it clean and sanitary for a longer period of time.

Exterior Window Sills

all white window sill with sun shining in

For many, the outside window sill is rarely cleaned because it is not easily visible from inside the house. The only time you really get to see how dirty these exterior surfaces are is when you stand at the window and look down! With that said, when it comes to the condition of your exterior windows sills, it shouldn’t be a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Along with accumulating dust and dirt that eventually gets blown into your house, filthy exterior window sills are not a very good look for any home!

Fortunately, heavily stained window sills that are covered in dirt, grime, and even bird droppings can be cleaned right up with the right cleaning solutions and techniques. To know more about that, take a look at the step-by-step method below. 

  • Using a small whisk broom or medium-bristle cleaning brush, knock off dirt and large debris from the exterior window sill. 
  • If there appears to be a lot of dust left on the surface, take a dry cloth and wipe over it. Follow this up with a second wipe down, only this time, use a clean, damp cloth.
  • With dust and loose debris out of the picture, the next step is to scrub away stuck-on grime. For this, you will need to make a slightly abrasive cleaning solution which consists of 1 tablespoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap mixed in 2-3 cups of water. Give the solution a good stir before using it. 
  • Dip a medium-bristled cleaning brush in the solution, and scrub your exterior sill from side to side. Depending on the level of grime and stains present, a little extra elbow grease may be applied. Rinse off the brush at intervals and continue cleaning as needed.
  • Dampen a cloth and wipe the sill to remove soap suds left from the scrubbing. With the surface cleared off any mess that the brushing may have caused, you can now check for missed spots. If needed, repeat step ‘4’, and wipe the surface once again thereafter. 
  • Finish off the cleaning process by wiping the exterior window sill dry to prevent dust and dirt from clinging to the surface.

If you thought cleaning interior and exterior windows sills was tough, you thought wrong, or you simply weren’t lucky enough to find an easy and effective cleaning guide to get the job done yourself! Well, you can put that in the past now thanks to Maid For You’s two best methods to clean window sills, inside and outside!

Adriana Aziz is the operations manager at MaidForYou. With over 6 years of experience managing cleaning operations, she knows all the best hacks when it comes to cleaning residential and commercial buildings. With expert experience in managing house cleaning operations, interior design and logistics. She spends her free time with her family and as a freelance food critic.

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