The First Thing to Do When You Open a New Roll of Paper Towels

published May 5, 2024
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Roll of paper towels on the kitchen counter
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Some people dread cleaning toilets because of the ick factor; others put off cleaning the oven because it requires so much time and effort. While I can’t say that I love doing either chore, my housework nemesis is something entirely unexpected: window tracks. While I’m thankful to have a lot of windows in our house — light makes me feel alive — window maintenance simply isn’t my strong suit.

Here in north Florida, the weather is ripe for opening windows for a few weeks in the fall and spring — a time that serves as a harsh reminder that I rarely tackle any part of our windows. While the cleanliness of the glass (or lack thereof) is visible any time of year, window-opening season is when I encounter the dirty, dirty grooves of my window tracks.

The worst part is that window track dirt is stubborn stuff and feels so impossible to clean. Vacuuming it hardly does a thing, and using wet methods often creates a mess of black sludge that’s almost as much of a challenge to get out of the tracks. Using a rag gets some of the mess up, but it also swirls the dirt around in the grooves you’re trying to lift dirt out of. I’ve tried the butter-knife-around-the-rag method and the trick where you cut slits into your sponge. Nothing solves my window-track-cleaning problem.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

That is until I got a tip from my new favorite cleaning Instagram account, @gocleanco. The method is easy and effective: Spray the tracks generously with a strong all-purpose cleaner (they use undiluted Mr. Clean Multi-Surface Antibacterial Cleaner), scrub with a sponge to loosen dirt, and then use a paper towel to lift the dirty water from the tracks. (Though I prefer to use rags whenever possible, paper towels are key here. The absorbency of the paper towels lift dirt up and out of the tracks, rather than rub it all in. )

The procedure is brilliant and it makes window-track cleaning palatable. However, I still don’t relish the thought of going around the house doing this for multiple windows all at once — a task that would take a good chunk of time. Instead, I’ve decided to assign the task to a “trigger.” Every time I open a new pack of paper towels, I’ll grab a wad and head to a window, and use Go Clean’s window track cleaning method.

By doing this every time I open a pack of paper towels, I won’t forget to do a task that’s out of sight and out of mind. Plus, it’ll only take a few minutes out of my day. And the best part? I’ll be able to enjoy those numbered window-opening days with the welcome fresh air pouring in over spotless tracks.

Buy: Mr. Clean Multi-Surface Antibacterial Cleaner (Pack of 2), $22.85

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: The First Thing You Should Do When You Open a New Roll of Paper Towels