The 'three secrets to streak-free windows' – according to the expert Barbara 'Babs' Costello

The social media star has a 'sure-fire way' to spotless windows this springtime – with minimal effort required

Barbara Costello
(Image credit: Courtesy of Barbara Costello)

Achieving streak-free windows is high on our agenda this spring cleaning season – and, thankfully, our favorite 'Internet Grandmother' Barbara 'Babs' Costello, is here to help.

'Cleaning windows is a springtime ritual. It is time to open those windows and let all that spring air in! But first…cleaning. Here is my sure-fire way to have beautiful streak-free windows with little effort,' Babs says. 

The Connecticut-based star is famed for dispensing cooking and life advice on TikTok – but her tips on how to clean a window (streak-free) are among her most timely to date. As she says, there's no better point on the calendar to enjoy a refresh and prepare your windows for brighter days ahead. 

Three secrets to streak-free windows

Babs' cleaning tips are always quick, natural, and refreshingly simple – and her steps to a spotless window are no different. Here are her three secrets to success.

1. Clean at the correct time

The first step begins before cleaning. In her video (above), Babs reminds us to wait until the pollen has fallen to prevent our cleaning efforts from being in vain. 'Once you put all that work in, the pollen falls, and your windows are a mess,' she says.

It's also essential to vacuum around our windows before cleaning the glass. 'Vacuum the window sill. And if it needs a good wipe-down, do that too. There is nothing worse than opening a window to get some good old fresh air and being greeted with a sill of dirt and grime.'

Corner of a blue kitchen with bay window, upholstered blue bench, round wooden dining table, blue patterned blind

(Image credit: Future)

2. Choose the best cleaning material

'Number two, don’t use paper towels to use your windows. Use either coffee filters, an old tee shirt, a microfiber cloth [such as this one from Amazon], or a newspaper. Back in the day, that’s what I used, and it worked like a charm.'

To maximize success, she recommends making her DIY window solution consisting of one cup of distilled water, 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol, and 1/2 cup of vinegar. There are no minerals in distilled water, so you have a better chance of achieving a streak-free finish with this solution. Babs then pours the mixture into a clean spray bottle (such as this one, also from Amazon) and gets to work.

Barbara Costello

(Image credit: Courtesy of Barbara Costello)

3. Start at the top – and work downwards

'Just start spraying at the top of the window, take your coffee filter [or whatever you have chosen], start at the top, and go down in one direction, all the way down. It looks fabulous, and it’s streak-free.'

And, while we can't wait for the spotless results to shine in the spring sunshine, Babs urges us to wash on a cloudy day or in the evening. This will stop the solution from drying too fast and creating streaks in the process. 

We're also picking up her cookbook below for more culinary-based advice from Babs. Her recipes are almost as straightforward as her failsafe cleaning tips...

Celebrate with Babs: Holiday Recipes & Family Traditions | $20.40 on Amazon 

Celebrate with Babs: Holiday Recipes & Family Traditions | $20.40 on Amazon 

In this book, Babs shares recipes and hosting tips that will change how you host all year round. This includes advice on celebrating Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Oktoberfest, and Christmas. 

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.