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.
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
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.
Create the Mixture
Fill a clean spray bottle with equal parts vinegar and distilled water. Label the bottle.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Spray and Wipe
Starting at the top of the window, spray on the cleaner and wipe away grime with a microfiber cloth.
Store cleaner in a cabinet away from any heat source because the alcohol makes this mixture flammable.
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.
Measure one-fourth cup of rubbing alcohol, one-fourth cup of distilled white vinegar, one tablespoon of cornstarch, and two cups of distilled water.
Combine and Shake
Add the ingredients into the bottle and shake well to mix. Label the bottle.
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.