In theory, washing windows is simple enough. You can make your own window cleaner out of vodka and/or vinegar diluted in water and with a bit of germ-killing, room-freshening essential oil. Simply spray it on, then rub hard with a soft cloth. Or else you can use a bit of warm water and detergent, which you blot off with crushed newspaper. Or you do the old-fashioned car wash method with warm soapy water (again), a soft, floppy brush and one of those hand-held wiper blades. In theory, we should be able to have gleaming streak-windows.
What actually happens:
Spray on method:
1. Spray ammonia-based proprietary cleaner on the windows. Accidentally breathe some in, then spend the day coughing, gagging and vowing never to do this again. Wrestle with conscience about tipping the ammonia-based product down the drain so you can use the spray bottle for the make-your-own cleaner.
2. Find white vinegar and half a bottle of vodka. Put liberal proportions into rinsed-out spray bottle, with a bit of water. Rummage through dwindling essential oil collection and finally settle on lavender. Shake the lot together.
3. Point spray bottle at window and pull trigger. Pull trigger several more times without effect. Give one final pull while staring at that nozzle wondering what’s going and get a face-full of eye-stinging lavender-scented liquid as it finally reaches the top of the pump mechanism.
4. Eyes still streaming, spray liquid on window.
5. Bolt to kitchen for cloth and realise that they’re all in the wash. Tear off T-shirt, hoping that the neighbours aren’t looking your direction. Use T-shirt to rub at fly spots and finger smears.
6. Swear as you realise that the window is now covered with lint from that T-shirt.
7. Find comparatively lint-free pillow case and a dry T-shirt. Return to window, discovering that the lint is now stuck on the window. Respray with vodka mixture.
8. Buff at window with pillowcase until it is dry and shiny.
9. Notice fly spot in the middle of the window. Crane neck around at odd angles trying to work out which side of the glass it’s on. Decide that it’s on your side of the glass and try to pick it off with one fingernail.
10. Respray window with mixture to remove finger marks.
11. Move onto next window.
Soapy water method
1. Run a bucket of hot steaming water and add a squirt of dishwashing detergent. Assemble soft scrubbing brush and rubber gloves, and find old newspapers.
2. Spot interesting cartoon and undone crossword in the newspaper and spend ten minutes reading old issues. Tear out half a dozen recipes and make mental note about great upcoming movie.
3. Pick up bucket of warm bubbly water and don rubber gloves. Carry the lot outside to windows to be washed.
4. Spot neighbour and start catching up on gossip.
5. Pick up bucket of lukewarm bubbly water and continue to window. Dunk scrubbing brush into water, swirl it around, then apply to window, dripping water all over front of clothes.
6. Discover that soft scrubbing brush had been home to spiders and that their webs are now all over the window. Shake large, angry spider off your rubber glove.
7. Re-dunk brush in the water, apply to window, again getting water all over self.
8. Grab newspaper, resist temptation to read another interesting article you’ve just spotted and crumple it into a ball.
9. Rub newspaper over window until it makes an excruciating squeak and the paper is damp.
10. Move on to next window and repeat Step 7.
11. Try to buff down window with first ball of crumpled newspaper, with the result that the paper starts to disintegrate, smearing bits of paper pulp over window.
12. Repeat Steps 7 to 9.
13. Move onto next window.
14. Change out of wet clothes, rinse detergent out of hair, apply body lotion and hand cream.