How to Make Homemade Glass Cleaner

homemade glass cleaner

The Spruce / Taylor Nebrija

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

You can make your own glass cleaner from ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. If you're conscious of harsh chemicals that might be found in traditional cleaners, making your own can eliminate chemicals and dyes often found in commercial window cleaning sprays.

Use these three basic recipes that work just as well, or better, for cleaning your windows and mirrors.

Before You Begin

  • If you live in an area with hard water, use distilled water to create these cleaning solutions. Distilled water does not contain the minerals (calcium and magnesium) that leave cloudy deposits on the glass.
  • Safety considerations are always foremost with any cleaning product. Both commercial and homemade products should be stored away from children, pets, and cooking supplies. The ingredients can be irritating if consumed and rubbing alcohol is flammable.
  • After mixing a batch of glass cleaner, be sure to label the spray bottle clearly. Add a date so you know if the ingredients are fresh.


Do not reuse an empty commercial cleaner bottle. Buy a new spray bottle for your glass cleaner. Both vinegar and alcohol act as solvents and will pick up any traces of other chemicals that are left in an old spray bottle. With a new, clean bottle, you won't have to worry about unintended, and potentially dangerous, reactions.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • 3 Spray bottles
  • 1 Measuring cups and spoons
  • 1 Microfiber cloth


  • 1 Distilled white vinegar
  • 1 Distilled water
  • 1 Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
  • 1 Cornstarch
  • 1 Essential oil (optional)
  • 1 Newspapers
  • 3 Labels


Materials and tools to make homemade glass cleaner

The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

How to Make a Vinegar-Based Glass Cleaner

Though there are many types of vinegar, be sure to use cleaning or distilled white vinegar for cleaning windows. 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. Create the Mixture

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

    Glass cleaner ingredients

    The Spruce / Taylor Nebrija

  2. Add Fragrance

    If you don't like the smell of vinegar (which dissipates quickly), you can add fragrance to your glass cleaner. Add about 10 drops of your favorite essential oil into the water and vinegar in the spray bottle and shake to mix.

    adding essential oils to a vinegar mixture

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida


    If you plan to add essential oils, consider 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.

  3. How to Use the Cleaner

    Spray the window just as you would any glass cleaner. Start at the top of the window to avoid drips. Wipe away with a lint-free cloth or newspaper. When cleaning a mirror, consider spritzing the cloth instead of the mirror to avoid damage to the frame.

    wiping glass down with a newspaper

    The Spruce / Taylor Nebrija


    Newspapers are made of dense fibers that don't scratch or leave lint. Crinkle up a sheet of newspaper into a ball and use it to wipe away the dirt and cleaner from the glass. Newspapers are the secret to streak-free windows.

How to Make a Rubbing Alcohol-Based Glass Cleaner

The combination of the acids in vinegar and the solvent-based alcohol is effective in removing the toughest grease from windows. Both evaporate quickly so eliminate streaks and spots.

  1. Measure Ingredients

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

    Ingredients separated and measured to make vinegar alcohol glass cleaner

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

  2. Spray and Wipe

    Starting at the top of the window, spray on the cleaner and wipe away grime with a microfiber cloth.

    Vinegar and alcohol cleaning mixture sprayed on glass window

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

  3. Store Correctly

    Store cleaner in a cabinet away from any heat source because the alcohol makes this mixture flammable.

    Vinegar and alcohol glass cleaner spray bottle stored in cool cabinet

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

How to Make a Cornstarch-Based Glass Cleaner

The fine texture of the granules in cornstarch creates a gentle abrasive for deep cleaning windows. Together with vinegar, this combination is ideal for cutting through dirt and grime, especially on outside windows where you can use a hose to remove any cornstarch residue.

  1. Measure Correctly

    Measure one-fourth cup of rubbing alcohol, one-fourth cup of distilled white vinegar, one tablespoon of cornstarch, and two cups of distilled water.

    Ingredients separated and measured to make vinegar and cornstarch glass cleaner

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

  2. Combine and Shake

    Add the ingredients into the bottle and shake well to mix. Label the bottle.

    Vinegar and cornstarch glass cleaner ingredients next to spray bottle

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

  3. Shake and Wipe

    Shake the spray bottle each time to mix the solution well before spraying the cleaner onto windows. Wipe the glass until it looks crystal clear. Keep moving to a clean area of your newspaper or cloth. When the glass is clear, the cornstarch is gone.

    If you don't wipe well, the cornstarch leaves a residue on the glass. Use a hose on outdoor windows and then dry the glass well.

    Window wiped with cloth after spraying vinegar and cornstarch class cleaner

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak