To find the most efficient vacuums, sponges and cloths, we washed the windows on a semi-detached house with the added challenge of enormous glass doors to the garden which were, the owner admitted, filthy. We assessed the gadgets on ease of use, value for money and the quality of the result. Here’s our pick of the bunch.
1. Kärcher WV2 Vacuum: £47.99, homebase.co.uk
Marginally the widest blade on any of the vacuums we tried, this felt great quality and was quiet, too. This model comes with a charger alone, but upgrade in the range for only a tenner and you’ll get a narrow attachment for smaller panes, and a useful spray bottle with a cleaning head.
2. Window Trigger Spray Mop: £29.99, lakeland.co.uk
For higher windows – after all, who wants to risk a ladder? – the extendable mop and wiper can reach farther and since there’s an integral water tank and trigger spray you don’t have to dunk it in a bucket. We added a squirt of washing up liquid for great results.
3. Vax Window Cleaner: £40, johnlewis.com
The least bulky of the vacuum window cleaners we tried, this lightweight number comes with a two-year guarantee. The head pivots to make sure you can get right into the edges of windows and there’s a trigger spray to apply water or cleaner straight onto the pane.
4. The Scoopy Condensation Squeegee: £14.99, lakeland.co.uk
This is a great little gadget; as you scoop upwards, any cleaning residue is picked up and held in the handle. If you’re using it for condensation or not using cleaners, pour the water into a houseplant.
5. Vileda Windowmatic: £38.25, amazon.co.uk
With a continuous run time of around 20 minutes, you’ll probably have enough power to scoot round patio doors and windows before recharging. Our attempts were pretty drip-free thanks to the flexible head which made sucking up water from corners easy.
6. OXO Wiper Blade Squeegee: £8, johnlewis.com
This one is as smoothly satisfying as a squeegee can be. It has a flexible car wiper blade - so you’ll have to mop up excess suds, which is its only drawback. We used it with Method spray (£4) and got streak-free results every time.
7. H2O HD Steam Cleaner: £99.99, thanedirect.co.uk
This versatile steam cleaner has a removable, smaller handheld (or shoulder
strap) unit with squeegee attachments specifically for window cleaning. We got great results without chemicals. You may start on the windows but before long will find yourself steaming anything from floors to upholstery.
8. E Cloth Glass Polishing Cloth: £2.99, robertdyas.co.uk
Forget Granny’s top tip of using newspaper and vinegar – since newspaper was coated to stop ink coming off, it’s not so effective. But don’t despair, elbow grease fans, E- cloths are effective using hot water alone – no detergent necessary and just think of the calories burned.
9. Leifheit Window Vacuum: £59.99, lakeland.co.uk
This charges in about half an hour and then the clever standby system means the vacuum only kicks in when the cleaner comes into contact with the glass. The closest rival to the Kärcher system we tested, there’s not a lot between the two models,so hunt for a bargain online.
10. Swan 2 In 1 Window Vac: £39.23, amazon.co.uk
The great thing about this window vacuum is that it’s not just for windows. Once you’ve tackled your patio doors you can get straight onto the stairs and even clean out the car as it’s a conventional vacuum, too. We also like the wall bracket for easy storage.
The Karcher is our best buy in the strength of its performance used with the optional spray bottle with cleaning head. Results were impressive with washing up liquid added to hot water but Karcher’s own window cleaning solution gave perfect results.
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