How to Make Homemade Glass Cleaner

homemade glass cleaner

The Spruce / Taylor Nebrija

Overview
  • Total Time: 5 mins
  • Skill Level: Beginner

You can make your own glass cleaner from vinegar plus other ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard. You don't have to spend big bucks on a cleaner that may have chemicals you don't like and, frankly, that doesn't work any better at getting your windows clean.

Using vinegar as a glass cleaner saves you money and eliminates harsh chemicals or fumes. In addition, it effectively removes fingerprints and other window grime and doesn't leave streaks. And it's better for the environment than any "green" cleaner you can buy at the store.

Safety Considerations

Always label the contents of your cleaner bottles. Label it clearly in large letters with what is in the bottle. "Vinegar Glass Cleaner" or "Rubbing Alcohol and Vinegar Glass Cleaner" are good labels. It is also wise to add the date when you mixed the ingredients so you'll know if the ingredients are too old to work well.

Store cleaning products separately from cooking ingredients. You don't want to confuse rubbing alcohol with drinking alcohol or use diluted white distilled vinegar in a recipe.

Warning

Do not reuse empty cleaner bottles. Buy a new bottle for your glass cleaner. Both vinegar and alcohol act as solvents and will pick up any traces of other chemicals that were in an old spray bottle. With a new, clean bottle, you won't have to worry about unintended reactions. Keep all glass cleaners out of the reach of children and pets. The ingredients can be irritating, and rubbing alcohol is flammable.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Spray bottle
  • Measuring cups
  • Microfiber cloth (optional)

Materials

  • White distilled vinegar
  • Water
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Corn starch
  • Essential oil (optional)
  • Newspapers

Instructions

Materials and tools to make homemade glass cleaner

The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

Vinegar Glass Cleaner

Though there are many types of vinegar, be sure to use white distilled vinegar for cleaning windows. Also called "grain vinegar," the process of making white distilled vinegar converts the alcohol used into acetic acid. Acetic acid, which is also used in many store-bought cleaners, is a powerful cleaning agent that can dissolve mineral deposits and grease and kill bacteria.

  1. Make the Mixture

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

    Glass cleaner ingredients

    The Spruce / Taylor Nebrija

  2. Add Fragrance

    If you'd prefer a fragrant spray, you can make scented vinegar. Add about 10 drops of your favorite essential oil into the spray bottle and vigorously mix.

    adding essential oils to a vinegar mixture

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida

    Tip

    If you plan to use essential oils, consider a glass spray bottle. Oils may be diluted, but they can still be concentrated enough to degrade typical plastic bottles and cause leaks.

  3. Spray and Wipe

    Spray on the mixture as you would any glass cleaner. Avoid using paper towels or regular rags as they will leave behind lint. Crinkle up a wad of newspaper into a ball and use it to wipe the cleaner on your glass.

    wiping glass down with a newspaper

    The Spruce / Taylor Nebrija

    Tip

    Newspapers are made of dense fibers that don't scratch, they no longer smudge, and they don't fall apart and create lint. Newspapers are the secret to streak-free windows.

Vinegar and Alcohol Glass Cleaner

The alcohol in this cleaner evaporates quickly so you don't end up with spots. Together, the mixture is inexpensive and works as well as most commercial glass cleaners. 

  1. Measure Ingredients

    Use 1 cup of rubbing alcohol, 1 cup of water, and 1 tablespoon of vinegar per batch.

    Ingredients separated and measured to make vinegar alcohol glass cleaner

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

  2. Mix in Bottle

    Fill the spray bottle, mix, and spray on glass to clean.

    Vinegar and alcohol cleaning mixture sprayed on glass window

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

  3. Store Correctly

    Store cleaner in a cool 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

Vinegar and Cornstarch Glass Cleaner

Cornstarch's fine granules are naturally but gently abrasive for deep cleaning windows. Together with vinegar, this dynamic duo is ideal for cutting dirt and grime, especially from outside windows where you can hose down glass to remove any cornstarch residue.

  1. Measure for Mixing

    Measure out 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, and 2 cups water.

    Ingredients separated and measured to make vinegar and cornstarch glass cleaner

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

  2. Blend and Shake in Bottle

    Add ingredients into the bottle. Shake the spray bottle well to mix the solution before spraying the cleaner onto windows.

    Vinegar and cornstarch glass cleaner ingredients next to spray bottle

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

  3. Wipe Until Glass Is Clear

    Wipe the glass until it looks crystal clear. That will mean the cornstarch is gone. If you leave the cleaner on the surface, the cornstarch leaves a residue. Hose down outdoor windows if you spot residue.

    Tip

    Newspaper rules windows, but so does the right high-quality microfiber cloth. A microfiber cloth ensures that the cleaning mixture won't streak your windows. Look for microfiber made of 70 percent polyester and 30 percent polyamide.

    Window wiped with cloth after spraying vinegar and cornstarch class cleaner

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak