Many commercial glass and window cleaning products contain substances that can be harmful to the environment, pets and humans. Making your own glass and window cleaners allows us to control what is in them, but it can be tricky to figure out what ingredients can be safely (and effectively) used on what surfaces. Making your own glass cleaner is a good start. Here are five natural glass and window cleaner recipes that you can whip up at home:
Recipe #1: Vinegar is a great window cleaner. You can either use it full strength, or mix it half-and-half with water. The scent takes some getting used to, and it will burn if you get it in your eyes, but vinegar is very safe and effective, and the smell will dissipate. You can also add a couple drops of tea tree oil or other essential oil to mask the smell.
Recipe #2: 1/2 cup lemon juice and 2 cups water makes a pleasant-smelling glass cleaner. You could also add in a small amount of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap for greater effectiveness.
photo credit: CanonS2
Recipe #3: Cornstarch can be added to natural glass cleaner mixtures to reduce streaking. 1 tablespoon of cornstarch can be mixed with a quart of warm water and 1/4 cup of white vinegar. For best results, clean windows with this mixture when it’s shady so that the sun doesn’t cause them to dry too quickly.
Recipe #4: Rubbing alcohol is good for cleaning windows, and it helps prevent frost in the wintertime as an added bonus. 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol to 1 quart of water is enough to be effective. Be sure that the area is well ventilated when cleaning with rubbing alcohol, and keep the mixture out of the reach of children.
Recipe #5: If you have been using store-bought cleaners to clean your windows, a natural cleaner could cause streaks due to the residue left behind by those cleaners. To prevent this, wash windows with a mixture of 1/4 cup of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap, 1 cup of vinegar, and one gallon of water. After this initial cleaning, your natural cleaners should do a nice job of keeping the windows clean and streak free.
In addition to making your own natural cleaners, cleaning windows with old newspapers has several benefits. It is cheaper than using paper towels, it further protects from streaking, it doesn’t leave lint behind, and it reduces waste. Old “retired” cloth diapers are also nice, but microfiber cleaning cloths are my favorite.
Making your own homemade natural glass and window cleaners is a helpful way to make our homes safer and help protect the environment from the harsh chemicals that can be found in commercial formulations. You probably have most or all of the ingredients you need in your home already, and if you don’t they can be purchased very inexpensively at a grocery or discount store. While it’s always a good idea to keep cleaners where children can’t reach them, most of these cleaners are non-toxic and virtually harmless.