Are you tired of spending money on window cleaners that leave you with smudgy glass and a lighter wallet? I was, so I created a homemade window cleaner recipe to get the job done right the first time.
Stick around, and I’ll explain how to make and use this for sparkling clean and streak-free windows, inside and out.
What these Simple Ingredients Do
If windows only got coated with dirt and pollen, a strong blast of water would get them clean. But windows also develop city grime that clings to glass, even after a heavy rain. The ingredients in my versatile homemade window cleaner loosen that grime.
- Dish soap: Soap contains fatty substances that cling to dirt, making it easier to rinse away. But be sure to measure: too much will cause streaks.
- Vinegar: The acetic acid in vinegar helps loosen stubborn messes like bird droppings and bugs on windows. Use regular white vinegar from your pantry—there’s no need for “cleaning vinegar.”
- Rubbing alcohol: Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol is a solvent that works with vinegar to get your windows clean. Since it evaporates quickly, it also prevents streaks.
- Cornstarch: The optional use of cornstarch adds a gentle abrasive power that absorbs oils and breaks down mineral deposits.
Did you know that the Empire State Building in New York has 6,514 windows? There are so many that by the time they’re done cleaning them, it’s time to start again!
What NOT To Use to Clean Windows
Some DIY window cleaner recipes recommend using essential oils or hot water, but both are bad ideas. You won’t find a professional window cleaner using either, and for good reasons:
Essential oils are still oils. Using oil on windows leaves streaks. And since most people don’t go around sniffing windows (I hope), why bother?
Hot water can harm cold windows. Using hot water on windows cooled by low outdoor temperatures can cause thermal shock, which weakens and sometimes shatters glass. Let the outdoor temps guide you: warm water when it’s hot, cool water when it’s cool.
Homemade Window and Glass Cleaner
Equipment and Materials
- Measuring cup and spoon
- Spray bottle
- 1 cup rubbing alcohol isopropyl, 70% strength
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 3 drops dishwashing liquid
- Scant 1/8 teaspoon cornstarch optional
- Mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle and swirl to combine.
- If your windows are extremely dirty, add the cornstarch for gentle abrasion to lift grime.
- Shake the bottle well before each use.
- Store in a cool, dark place away from open flames and direct sunlight. Use within 3 months.
How to Use My DIY Window Cleaner
For the best results, spray the window and scrub it with a microfiber cloth to loosen grime. Then use a squeegee in one direction to remove the liquid. Wipe the blade every so often to keep it clean. When you’re done with a window, dry any spills on the sill or trim.
And if you’ve been avoiding this chore because you can’t get your windows open, try these steps to fix stuck windows — no special equipment required.