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According to this summary, there are some poskim who hold it prohibited in all cases to polish glass dishes on Shabbat, whereas some allow if one intends to use the dish on Shabbos.

My question is, according to those opinions which permit, would it be permissible to polish a window on Shabbat?

The reason I ask is, in this scenario the window has immediate use on Shabbos (for example, as a light source), but unlike plates and dishes which will inevitably get dirty, windows will most likely stay clean well into the week, and one would benefit from the cleaning during the week. So would this be an issue of doing something on Shabbat which will have benefit throughout the week, even if one gets immediate benefit?

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  • What if you clear the table an after the meal and it stays clean all week? Why would it be a problem if it lasts into the week, as long as you needed it on Shabbos?
    – Chatzkel
    Nov 9, 2023 at 4:44
  • Melachos aside, surely there's a zilzul shabbos problem?
    – Dov
    Nov 9, 2023 at 10:22

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I see three major concerns with cleaning windows on Shabbat

  • putting water on a rag or sponge will generally lead to Sechitah (squeezing) which is a Torah prohibition, we are therefore very careful not get close to it (see e.g., here)
  • uvdin d'chol, there is a mitzva to preserve the atmosphere of Shabbat and avoid work commonly done during the week. Its criteria are not extremely clearly defined (see here on MY) but cleaning windows is not a common Shabbat activity and therefore very likely prohibited just for this (see here for a long list of prohibited activities due to *uvdin d'chol)
  • preparing for the week (hachana), unless windows are so dirty than one cannot see, it looks at least to an outsider that one cleaning the windows is preparing for the week to come which is forbidden

I found an explicit source (Star-K) which writes

Any melachah that is degrading when done on Shabbos is forbidden (e.g., garden work, washing windows, etc.).

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