Homemade Window Cleaner: Recipes & Tips [2022 Guide]

In this DIY guide, we will discuss:

  • How to make homemade window cleaner using simple ingredients 
  • What you need to achieve streak-free windows without harsh chemicals
  • Where in your home to use DIY glass cleaner 
  • How to choose eco-friendly materials and avoid plastic pollution
Ecowatch Author Faith Wakefield

By Faith Wakefield

Updated 8/3/2022

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Did you know keeping your windows squeaky clean and free of smudges, dirt and grime can also be eco-friendly? Making your own household cleaners is a cheap and easy way to decrease your exposure to harsh chemicals and synthetic fragrances in commercial cleaning products. 

This article will guide you through the basics of creating your own homemade window cleaner that is just as effective as expensive store-bought cleaners without the misleading labels or harmful irritants.  

If your windows need more than a good cleaning, consider replacing your outdated windows with energy-efficient ones. Click below to be connected with one of our approved, eco-friendly providers.

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Jump To: How to Make Homemade Window Cleaner | Benefits of Creating Your Own Window Cleaning Solution | Choosing a Cloth to Use for Cleaning | Additional Window Cleaning Tips 

How To: DIY Window Cleaner

It is possible to have sparkling clean glass in your home without the harmful chemicals! These homemade window cleaner recipes are cheap, use supplies you probably already have in your home and contain none of the harmful irritants or harsh chemicals found in traditional cleaning supplies. 

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How to Make Homemade Window Cleaner 

The simplest way to make your own glass cleaner is to mix one part vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle. However, with a few more very simple ingredients, you can elevate your homemade solution. 

Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe for Interior Windows

Supplies

  • Glass spray bottle (do not reuse an old household cleaner bottle)
  • Cleaning cloth

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water (distilled water is best)
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar or apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 10-15 drops of essential oil (optional)

Total Time Required

  • Five minutes 

Directions

Add ingredients to your spray bottle and mix. Spray directly to windows and wipe with a clean cloth.

What the ingredients do: 

  • Vinegar has acetic acid, which kills some bacteria and helps break down dirt and grease
  • Cornstarch acts as a mild abrasive to lift residue
  • Rubbing alcohol helps kill germs and works with the vinegar to remove smudges
  • Essential oil provides a pleasant smell, and some essential oils have antimicrobial properties1

Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe for Exterior Windows 

The recipe below is ideal for cleaning exterior windows. If you choose to mix this solution in a bucket to cover larger surfaces, discard the cleaner once you are done. Dirt will accumulate if you are re-dipping your squeegee or cleaning cloth into the solution.

Supplies

  • Bucket
  • Squeegee 
  • Cleaning cloth

Ingredients

  • Warm water 
  • Liquid dish soap (avoid dyes and fragrances) 

Total Time Required

  • Less than five minutes to mix solution

Directions

Fill your bucket with warm water. Add a few drops of liquid dish soap and mix. Use a squeegee and dish cloth to achieve a streak-free shine.

Dishwashing liquid contains sodium lauryl sulfate, which bonds with oil and grease to effectively remove grime from surfaces. 

Homemade Glass Cleaner Safety and Precautions

These homemade glass cleaner recipes are meant to clean everyday grime and dirt. Although these recipes are safe and effective to use in your home, avoid: 

  • Replacing sanitizers that are proven to kill pathogens with homemade cleaners
  • Mixing these ingredients with other household cleaners like bleach
  • Using old cleaning bottles or containers to store or mix homemade solutions 

Benefits of Creating Your Own Window Cleaning Solution

By using natural ingredients when possible, you are reducing the irritants and harsh cleaning chemicals you’re being exposed to in your home. When you make your own cleaning solutions, you can reuse and refill the bottles you have many times, which reduces plastic waste and helps you control exactly the quantity of a substance you are using. 

According to the American Lung Association, traditional cleaning supplies can cause eye and throat irritation, headaches, allergic reactions and even cancer.2 Products containing ammonia and bleach are harsh and rarely necessary to achieve a clean home, and vague claims on a label that a product is “green” rarely mean anything. Look to see if a product is part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safer Choice Program, which verifies products actually striving to be healthier for humans and the environment.3

Homemade window cleaner can be used on many surfaces, including car windows, shower doors and most countertops. If you’re looking to expand your repertoire of natural, all-purpose cleaners, baking soda and apple cider vinegar are two versatile, nontoxic cleaning agents that you can incorporate into your routine. 

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Choosing a Cloth to Use for Cleaning

Here at EcoWatch, we consider the environmental impact of everything we do and inform our readers to enable them to make eco-friendly choices. Even choices like what products to use when cleaning your home’s surfaces can make an impact. In addition to making your own cleaner, we recommend looking for natural fibers like cotton when selecting cleaning cloths with the environment in mind. 

Are Paper Towels Environmentally Friendly?

Are paper towels environmentally friendly? The simple answer is no. Although paper towels are convenient, 270 million trees are cut down each year to produce them. Almost all paper towels end up in landfills, where they release methane during decomposition. On top of that, paper towels can’t be recycled due to contamination from food or other substances and are usually packaged in non-recyclable plastic wrap.4

Are Microfiber Cloths Environmentally Friendly? 

Although microfiber cloths are recommended for achieving a streak-free shine on your windows, they are made of synthetic threads that release tiny microfibers when washed. Microfiber cloths are typically made of a polyester-nylon blend, which are petroleum-based, non-biodegradable materials.5 

To reduce the microplastic pollution you’re creating when you wash synthetic fabrics, wash larger loads in cooler, shorter cycles. Overall, microfiber cloths are still more eco-friendly than disposable paper towels that emit carbon dioxide  during production, cannot be recycled and release methane in landfills.

Are Cotton Cloths Environmentally Friendly? 

If you are looking for the most environmentally friendly cleaning cloth, we recommend cloths made with natural fibers like cotton. Although cotton also releases microfibers when washed, unlike synthetic fibers, cotton microfibers are not made of plastic and will decompose in the environment. 

Ultimately, the most environmentally friendly cleaning cloth you can use is the one you already have. Decrease your consumption by getting creative: If you have old clothing or linens laying around, especially those made with natural fibers, cut them up and turn them into reusable cleaning cloths. 

Here’s more about microfibers:

Additional Window Cleaning Tips

To get the cleanest possible windows and get the most out of your cleaning solution, refer to the following handy tips:

  • Clean your windows twice a year to prevent mineral deposit buildup 
  • Work top to bottom when cleaning windows to avoid drips and streaks 
  • Wait a few minutes after spraying your surface to wipe it down to maximize effectiveness
  • Dust window screens with a lint roller 
  • Remove hard water spots on your glass surfaces by spraying a mixture of one part white vinegar and one part water onto the affected area and letting it sit for 10 minutes before wiping it off
  • Use hot water in your solution for maximum effectiveness
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FAQ: Homemade Window Cleaner

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Faith Wakefield

Faith is a writer based in North Carolina. She holds English and economics degrees from UNC Chapel Hill, and her background includes event management and technical publishing. Faith is passionate about the arts and loves exploring environmental issues through economic and artistic lenses. She also enjoys spending time in nature, collecting books and practicing her Spanish.