How to Make a DIY Window Cleaner That Leaves Glass Streak-Free

Woman wearing blue rubber gloves washing window with yellow cloth and spray bottle of window cleaner

Alex Raths/ iStock/ Getty Images Plus

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 10 - 15 mins
  • Total Time: 10 - 15 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $5 to 10

Sparkling, clean windows look great and improve the light levels in your home. If you're ready to clean your windows and are out of commercial glass cleaner, you can quickly make a cleaner that costs less and works just as well to leave your windows streak-free—and you probably have the ingredients in your pantry right now.

We have three "recipes" for DIY window cleaners that all work well. Create some homemade glass cleaner, grab your cleaning tools, and make those windows sparkle.

Before You Begin

None of these DIY window cleaners are toxic, but there are some safety considerations you should put in place when you make any type of homemade cleaner.

  • Always use a new container to store any DIY cleaner. Old bottles may still hold traces of other chemicals that can cause an unfortunate reaction.
  • Always apply a label to the container that states the purpose and ingredients. No one wants a mix-up about what is in a cleaning product.
  • Never mix ingredients or products unless you are sure that they are safe.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 1 spray bottle
  • 1 set measuring cups and spoons


  • 1 bottle distilled white vinegar or cleaning vinegar
  • 1 bottle isopropyl alcohol
  • 1 box cornstarch
  • Distilled water
  • Essential oils (optional)
  • 1 label


How to DIY an Isopropyl Alcohol-Based Window Cleaner

Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol is sold in drug stores in two levels of concentration: 70 percent and 99 percent—70 percent is best for household uses. The solution has more water, which helps the solvent dissolve more slowly to break apart dirt and grease molecules. Rubbing alcohol evaporates quickly to leave windows streak-free.

  1. Measure and Combine Ingredients

    Pour 1 cup of rubbing alcohol, 1 cup of distilled water, and 1 tablespoon of vinegar into a new, clean spray bottle. Shake to mix and label the bottle.


    Distilled water should be used because it contains no trace minerals or chemicals. If you live in a hard water area, the level of minerals in the water can leave scratches or water spots on window glass.

Using and Storing the Alcohol-Based Cleaner

To use, start at the top of the window, spray on the cleaner, and wipe away grime with a microfiber cloth. Since isopropyl alcohol is flammable, store the container in a cool place away from any direct heat source.

How to DIY a Vinegar-Based Window Cleaner

When making your DIY cleaner, use cleaning or distilled white vinegar. The acetic acid in vinegar, which is also used in many store-bought cleaners, is a powerful cleaning agent that dissolves mineral deposits and greasy smudges.

  1. Mix Your Solution

    Fill a clean spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and distilled water. Label the bottle.

  2. Create a New Fragrance

    Even though the smell of vinegar dissipates quickly if you want to personalize your window cleaner you can create different fragrances.

    • Use DIY scented vinegar in the mixture.
    • Use essential oils. Add about 10 drops of your favorite essential oil into the water and vinegar in the spray bottle and shake to mix. If you plan to add essential oils, consider using a glass spray bottle. Essential oils, even diluted in the liquids, can still be concentrated enough to degrade some types of plastic bottles and cause leaks.

How to Use the Vinegar-Based Cleaner

Lightly spray the window, starting at the top so you can catch any drips as you clean. Use a lint-free microfiber cloth or a squeegee to remove the cleaner and grime. If you are cleaning a mirror, spritz the cleaning cloth instead of the mirror to avoid damaging the frame.

How to DIY the Best Window Cleaner for Outside Windows

Add a bit of cornstarch to your DIY window cleaner to act as a gentle abrasive for deep cleaning insect-speckled outdoor windows where you can use a hose to remove any cornstarch residue. You can also use the cleaner on heavily-soiled indoor windows.

  1. Combine Ingredients

    • Add one-fourth cup of rubbing alcohol, one-fourth cup of distilled white vinegar, one tablespoon of cornstarch, and two cups of distilled water to a spray bottle.
    • Shake well to combine the ingredients.
    • Label the bottle

How to Use DIY Cornstarch Window Cleaner

  • You must shake the spray bottle well each time before spraying the cleaner onto the windows.
  • Start at the top of the window and wipe the glass until it looks crystal clear. Keep moving to a clean area of the cloth. When the glass is clear, the cornstarch is gone. If you don't wipe well, the cornstarch will leave a residue on the glass.
  • Use a hose on outdoor windows and then dry the glass to prevent water spots.