Looking for an easy way to have sparkling windows and mirrors without using chemical cleaners? You’re in the right place!
There are several homemade window cleaner recipe variations that you can easily make with ingredients purchased from any grocery store.
The main components usually include white vinegar, water, rubbing alcohol, and cornstarch.
If you’re looking for the best natural window cleaner, here are a few easy recipes that will leave your glass streak and spot-free!
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Vinegar and Water
This is by far the easiest recipe.
All you have to do is mix together one part warm water to one part vinegar of your choice (some recommend distilled for the best result).
This recipe works for general cleaning, and the acidic nature of the vinegar can quickly get rid of grease and other spots on any glass surface.
There will be a noticeable smell from the vinegar, but you can lessen this by venting the area or adding in a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Vinegar, Water, and Cornstarch
This is one of the best natural glass cleaners out there that doesn’t contain ammonia or alcohol (a little more about that in just a minute 😉 ).
With this amazing mixture, you will be able to clean off even the most stubborn grunge and spots and have clean, streak-free glass.
The recipe for this mix is pretty easy, all you need to do is to mix together the following:
- 2 cups of warm water
- 1/4 cup of white vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch
Vinegar, Rubbing Alcohol, Cornstarch, Water
Personally, I found that this recipe does the most to cut through all the grime, dust, and various substances (like dried toothpaste on the bathroom mirror from the kids brushing their teeth) that might be stuck to your mirrors and windows.
Just a tip though- you might want to use cleaning gloves when using rubbing alcohol to ensure it does not soak into the skin in the event of an accidental spill.
The recipe is exactly the same as the previous, with the exception of adding in some alcohol.
- 2 cups of warm water
- 1/4 cup of white vinegar
- 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol
- 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch
*While this is the recipe that I found to work the best, I personally try not to use it unless the glass is REALLY dirty. I don’t like the smell of alcohol and prefer to stick to cleaning products that don’t require extra ventilation or cleaning gloves. Just my opinion and two cents….
Homemade Glass Cleaner Variations
Once you have a simple glass cleaner base, you can then add to it for better smell and results with things like lemon juice or essential oils.
Essential oils are one of the easiest ways to create a positive scent without affecting the cleaner’s ability to remain streak and spot-free.
Below are a few ways to improve your homemade window cleaner if you feel like you want to try different options, scents, or if you’re just feeling fancy!
Glass Cleaner and Lemon Juice
If you decide to add lemon juice to improve the smell and effectiveness of your homemade window cleaner, then you can either add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to any of the recipes listed in the section above or follow these simple instructions.
- Mix together 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
- Once those two ingredients are firmly mixed, add 1 cup of warm or hot water and mix again.
Glass Cleaner With Essential Oils
Orange and lemon essential oils are a popular choice for natural cleaning recipes and give your home a clean, fresh scent!
When mixing in essential oils use 6 drops for every cup of water.
If you find this is either too strong or not strong enough, you can adjust the drop count until it is to your liking.
Plain Vinegar Glass Cleaner
White vinegar generally has between 5% and 20% acetic acid content, while plain vinegar (a.k.a distilled vinegar) only has between 5% to 8% acetic acid.
White vinegar is better to use against hard stains, but plain vinegar will have less of a potent smell, which is helpful for areas that get little or no ventilation.
The amount of vinegar you put in your chosen recipe will not differ, so you can follow it even if the listed vinegar is not what you are planning to use.
Safety Tips For Making Homemade Window Cleaner
There are a few things that you want to keep in mind when creating a homemade glass cleaner mixture.
Always label any spray bottles or other containers that you use to store the liquid in.
You will want to ensure that you keep it stored in a cool area out of reach of pets or children.
Be Cautious With Ammonia and Alcohol Recipes
Remember a while back when I mentioned that we would talk about ammonia and alcohol? The time has come 😉
Ammonia is one of the least expensive ingredients in window cleaners, and it works so well because of its fast evaporation time, which leaves cleaned areas streakless.
Unfortunately, there are some severe drawbacks.
This chemical can cause respiratory distress like chemical pneumonia if it is used incorrectly.
If you end up using products with ammonia, try to keep it from using it in areas with low ventilation.
Also, be sure to take proper precautions and make sure it does not get on your skin (e.g., wearing cleaning gloves) because it can cause chemical burns.
Isopropyl alcohol is another ingredient that you will see listed many times in window cleaner, and while it is less likely to irritate the lungs and throat, it can cause some serious symptoms if it is accidentally sprayed into the eyes or if a significant amount is soaked in through skin contact.
Breathing isopropyl alcohol will cause less damage than ammonia, but you still want to use it in ventilated areas and immediately wash it off if any gets on your skin.
Why Make Your Own Natural Window Cleaner?
There are a few great reasons to make your own window cleaner.
The two big reasons that stand out are that the ingredients are more natural and it is seriously so cost-effective!
Instead of throwing away multiple chemical-soaked bottles a year, you will be able to store and refill yours using a natural mix.
However, it is important to note that if you use a recipe with rubbing alcohol or vinegar with a very high acetic acid (15% to 20%), you will definitely want to use glass bottles or replace your bottles on occasion.
This is because the acid could potentially eat through the plastic and release harmful chemicals into the next batch.
Less Harmful Ingredients
If you have asthma, sensitive skin, or are trying to create a non-toxic home, store-bought cleaners may not be the best choice since they often contain chemical irritants such as ammonia or chlorine.
When you make your own homemade window cleaner you can choose the ingredients and know exactly what you’re putting into your home environment.
Buying a store-bought glass cleaner can cost a pretty penny.
But for less than the price of one bottle of store-bought window cleaner, you can purchase all of the ingredients to make your own many times over.
Alternatives to Homemade Natural Window Cleaners
If you do not have extra time or the desire to make your own homemade window cleaner, I totally get it.
Here are a few options that are great alternatives.
These products use eco-friendly and sustainable ingredients in their nature-based cleaners and they seem to work well.
Sun and Earth Glass Cleaner
- Apple cider vinegar
- Biobased ethanol
- Distilled white vinegar
- Sodium hydroxide
- Lauramine oxide
- All-natural fragrances
All of the ingredients of the Sun and Earth Glass Cleaner are plant or mineral-based.
Due to the sodium hydroxide, you will want to use gloves and be sure to keep the spray from getting in your eyes.
Otherwise, it is a mild, natural-based cleaner for you to use around the house.
They are an eco-friendly brand that uses 100% recycled plastics and 100% bio-based formula that is USDA Certified.
Aunt Fannie’s Vinegar Window Cleaner
- Distilled white vinegar
- Sugar surfactant
- Polyglyceryl-6 caprylate
- Polyglyceryl-4 caprate
- Rosemary oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Peppermint oil
- Orange peel oil
- Lavandin oil
Aunt Fannie’s Glass & Window Cleaner has quite a few scented oils mixed in for a fresh, clean smell every time you use it.
It is a bit pricey, but compared to other options, it is less acidic and healthier on the respiratory system and skin if exposed.
Ecos Window Cleaner with Vinegar
- Corn-derived alcohol
- Plant-based vinegar
- Plant-based surfactant
A significant draw of the Ecos Window Cleaner with Vinegar is that it is scentless. This is an excellent product if you have someone sensitive to smells in your house.
Helpful Window Cleaning Tips
Did you know…..ammonia and alcohol-based window cleaning fluids are actually more likely to leave behind streaks.
Kind of weird isn’t it?! I always thought that they were responsible for the clean look.
Turns out that avoiding them will help you to have sparkling clean windows and glass in your home.
There are a few other helpful hints and tips that I want to share, which will help make cleaning a breeze.
Wipe Down Windows First
You can help reduce dirt and debris if you first wipe it down with a microfiber cloth or even a paper towel to get rid of the dust layer.
This is especially useful if you live in a dry area with lots of foot or vehicle traffic, which tends to kick up more dust.
Choose The Right Equipment For The Job
If your property has large windows or sliding glass doors, then a spray bottle may not hold enough liquid for your needs, and you can create a bucket of diluted basic glass cleaner (1 cup of vinegar mixed with 10 cups of water) and use that.
To keep it from streaking, you will need to work quickly by wetting the area thoroughly with the solution and then squeegeeing it off.
Scrub Instead of Wipe
You want to scrub the solution into the glass to get it to eat through any stains or residues.
Try to get an even layer of moisture over the entire area before drying it off with a lint-free cloth, piece of newspaper, or squeegee.
You can permanently damage your glass by using a razor or scraper, so for sticky or hard-to-remove residues try soaking it with your natural window cleaner for a little bit and then scrubbing away it.
This might need to be repeated a few times before the natural acid in the vinegar will start to break it down but that’s better than having glass with scratches and scrapes!
A Few Last Thoughts About Homemade Window Cleaner
Now that you know how to create your own glass cleaner at home, you will never have to worry about accidentally running out.
Buying bulk natural ingredients and then mixing them as needed is both eco-friendly and cost-effective.
You will be also able to make them smell fresh and clean without worrying about contaminating the environment or aggravating any sensitivities.
Still not feeling confident enough to try making your own? That’s ok!
When purchasing glass cleaner just be sure to check the ingredients and warnings so you know you are getting a healthier product that will work for you.
Have you made your own homemade window cleaner? I’d love to hear which recipe you used and your experience with it.
Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email!
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