Clean Your Nasty Window Tracks Using One Simple Trick

Are you tired of looking at all the gunky nastiness in your window tracks? It is amazing how fast they can collect this ugly specimen of ickiness, isn’t it?

The window tracks I will be cleaning today are from the sliders that are in my dining room, which means they are exactly what I look down at when I’m eating. Maybe this is what makes me kind of crazy about them being at least somewhat clean.

Whether it is dust, pet hair, food, or dirt from the dirty rain that makes its way there, it doesn’t take long for window tracks to look this way, especially in my home. With 10 people and two cats to stir around all this dirt, dust, food, and pet hair, there is no shortage of opportunity for gunk to settle here – or anywhere else for that matter.

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When you’ve got some nasty window tracks, here’s the simple trick you need to know to make them shine!

clean window tracks

Gather these basic supplies:

white vinegar
baking soda
paper towel
rag or cloth
old toothbrush
butter knife

Follow these steps:

1. Start with the baking soda

Sprinkle a little baking soda wherever the gunkiest places are, most likely in the corners. I find it easiest to use a spoon for this.


2. Grab your white vinegar

Pour a little of the white vinegar over the baking soda. It doesn’t take much. Once you’ve poured the vinegar over the baking soda, just leave it. This is how the magic happens!


3. Walk away

The magic can only happen if you walk away. So just leave it there and forget about it for 10 minutes or so. Just don’t leave it for too long or it will start to dry slightly.


4. Grab your toothbrush

Well, not your toothbrush (ew!) but the one you grabbed for this project. Start working all that gunk toward the center of the window track.


5. Remove all that collected gunk

All that nastiness that you just moved toward the center is now ready to be removed. Just put it in a paper towel and throw it away. I saved you from looking at that part.


6. Wipe up what’s left

Wet your rag and use it to just wipe out what little is left in the track, it shouldn’t be much.

7. Grab your butter knife

If needed, use the knife covered with your rag to finish up in the corners. Again, it should be minimal but it could be there.


8. One last wipe

Use your rag one last time to wipe out anything that might be left. The result should be nice and sparkly clean!

9. Admire your handiwork

Now is the time to sit back and admire your hard work. No one will know that you used an amazing trick to get them to sparkle like this.


Really, how easy was that?

When you know this one simple trick, you really can have clean window tracks year round with minimal effort!

Wondering how this works with your sliders? Read how to clean your sliders HERE.

Looking for more on cleaning?

Here’s how to clean your stove top

Here’s how to clean your shower

Here’s how to clean your dryer’s lint trap


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  1. http://Kim says

    Any tips on getting black off of wood windows?

    • http://Jennifer says

      I am so sorry, I do not. I have never lived in a home with wood windows

    • http://Tony says

      This depends on the condition of the wood. If it is painted already just use ammonia with water. It doesn’t take much. Magic erasers do an amazing job on a lot too. If they are not painted or the paint shows a lot of wear then painting them does the trick.

      Jennifer, Before cleaning the tracks like another Linda mentioned on here, It is best to clean the dirt out first. I use an umpire brush (yes the baseball umpire). They have hard bristles and it is small that fits into your hand easy. This allows you to get into the corners and dig out the dirt that has been there forever. Also one other trick is to pull from the edge to the middle . Its a bear to get gunk out of the corners once it is wet and pushed there.

      Window Cleaning Science

      Tony 26 + years of Washing Windows

      • http://Jennifer says

        thanks for the great tips, Tony!

        • http://Elizabeth says

          Hi Jennifer I’m a mom, wife and a part time house cleaner .
          These are wonderful tips to take with me on the job – I also have a great tip for getting into the corners while cleaning tracks of any kind~ Q-tips are excellent in getting into those hard places and used dry it will pick up everything it touches too~Easy to carry and dollar stores carry them 🙂 happy cleaning everyone

          • http://Jennifer says

            awesome! Thank you so much for weighing in with a great tip! Dollar stores are amazing!!!

          • Not sure were my reply went so I’ll repeat in case it got lost.I use a old mascara brush since there good for only one month. I wash it real good with Dawn a couple Xs Then make sure on White paper towel it’s clean.You may have to repeat corners by sliding it in and dragging it out.You would be surprised to see how much pet hair and fuzz from tenants drying clothes. I got so much debris out I was able to pull screen iñ closer and re lock

          • http://Jennifer says

            great tips! Thank you for sharing.

        • http://Jessica says

          I read this somewhere, that once you clean the tracks, take a white wax candle and cut a V shape in the bottom of it (in the middle) and run it up and down the slider blade (?) that goes thru the bottom of the door! 🙂

    • http://Tara says

      Scrub with a mild bleach solution. After a day or so, when completely dry, spray with Lysol spray (old fashioned). Periodically spray with the Lysol spray. That should keep that mildew away. You can choose to then sand and reseal the wood with a wipe on poly coat like Minwax, but I prefer to just give a spray every other week 😃

    • http://Michelle says

      Clean the wood with a vinegar and water solution, then spray Hydrogen Peroxide on the black stained wood.

  2. http://FarmGranny says

    I use a shaker top bottle for the baking soda, a squeeze and squirt bottle like a small dawn soap bottle and a bamboo skewer sturdy point for cracks (easier to grab, control location and amount) just a suggestion😁

  3. http://Donna says

    I came across your pin on Pinterest and am so glad I clicked over to your blog. Do you think using your steps would also clean the dirty sliding glass door tracks?

  4. http://Linda says

    Also, it is helpful to first brush or vacuum out any dry dust or dirt particles. If this is not done, when the wet cleaning products are added, you will have mud to clean out of the window as well.

    • http://Jennifer says

      that is a great tip! Thank you for sharing, Linda!

    • I agree!! I would definitely use the crevice tool attachment on my vacuum cleaner before adding any liquid. Depending on how much dust, pet hair and other debris is in there, you could really create a thick goopy mess. I also buy children’s toothbrushes from the dollar store to keep in my cleaning caddy, as well as in my laundry room for gently scrubbing out stains.

  5. http://Susan says

    I like how simple yet effective your cleaning tips are. It is so easy to get overwhelmed by little things like facing the gunk in our window tracks. But reading your blog tips and methods help simplify the process. It is therapeutic! Thank you.

  6. http://Chris says

    First, take that toothbrush and dry scrub the filth to loosen up as much as possible. Then vacuum it out. I often find that after doing this, I only need a quick wipe with a damp cloth.

  7. Another quick tip is to use a cobweb brush it makes quick work of all the loose stuff in the track , vacuum and then wet wash.

  8. White vinegar is AMAZING! There is so much you can do with it to help clean around the house.

  9. I love your tips on this nasty little job and I agree with some of the posters here on vacuuming the windows first to remove the larger bits of gunk. I also use a spray bottle for the vinegar to make a bit less of a mess, but never thought of FarmGranny’s shaker bottle for the baking soda. Great tip!

    • http://Jennifer says

      I know! Such great tips here!

    • http://Linda%20Perry says

      Hello Jennifer, I just came across your blog on pintrest. I love your way of cleaning the window tracks, I’m just now getting ready to start spring cleaning and the window tracks are first up so Thank you for your help and I like using the spoon better.
      Now on to the grout cleaning.
      I just wanted to say thank you for your help.
      Always Linda

  10. http://Matthew%20Kindler says

    Since the window is a ‘Slider’ why not ‘Lift Up & Take Out’ the Sliding Unit?

    • http://Jennifer says

      with my windows, this would not be easy, but for some this could be a really great tip! Thanks for sharing!

  11. you made me laugh! Thanks for the tips!

  12. http://Cindy says

    Just wipe them with a damp rag once a month when dusting them room and you will never have to do all of this time consuming work. Stay on top of things. And yes I work full time and have a very busy schedule.

  13. http://Wanda says

    Any ideas for cleaning candle smoke ( you know black waxy residue from burning candles) ?

  14. http://Rodney says

    I install replacement windows for a living. In most slider windows, you can partially open the sash, and simply lift it up in the track, pulling the bottom of the sash inward (removing from track), and totally remove the sash. Installation in in reverse. That will give you much better access to cleaning the track. This works on any moving sash.

  15. I love this article! I am linking to it in my latest deep cleaning challenge for my students to reference. You give such excellent step-by-step instructions and provide pictures, which makes it even better. Awesome!

  16. http://Rhoda says

    Slider? Like a sliding patio door or single/ dble hung window?

  17. http://FlRhoda says

    Slider? Like a sliding patio door or single/ dble hung window?

    • http://Jennifer says

      This almost always applies to sliding glass doors and sliding windows. I’m not sure what windows you have, but my single and double hung windows don’t have tracks like this.

  18. http://Barbara%20Marrin says

    You can try (as I have) a 3-4 drops of hand sanitizer. Swirl it around with a Q-Tip, rub gently w/a paper towel and see if it comes off. Works well on ‘sharpie’ ink as I discovered with my little son and his closet door.

    • http://Jennifer says

      Great tip! I actually have some Sharpie ink I need to take care of. I prefer not to have to paint to get rid of it. I can’t wait to try this! Thank you!

  19. http://Amy says

    I’ll have to try that. Normally I just hose them out in the spring and fall. Thanks!

  20. http://Gloria says

    I like to use a small paint brush. Is a little easier to maneuver than a tooth brush.

  21. http://Shari says

    I have had many sliding door tracks in the past to keep clean. The vinegar and baking soda makes so much sense!! I do not have sliders now, but it sure looks like it does the trick. One thing I have found is AFTER a good cleaning is to take some wax paper and rub the tracks really good. Not only does this “slicken up” the tracks but it keeps the nooks and grannies from filling up with dirt and gunk.
    I have used wax paper on many things to glide things along. Such as the shower curtain rod, any curtain rod for that matter….a sticky door threshold…and stubborn drawers. Just to name a few.
    Thanks for sharing your cleaning trick for the sliding doors!!
    Enjoy your day!