The Best Homemade Window Cleaner Can Be Created in Your Kitchen

Get sparkling glass surfaces—and save money—with these eco-friendly homemade window cleaner recipes that rank better than store-bought.

Homemade window cleaner has many advantages over commercial glass cleaning products. First, it's fairly inexpensive to make. A bottle of homemade window and glass cleaner typically costs around $1.50, which is about a third of the cost of most store-bought window cleaning sprays. And because many homemade cleaner recipes call for ingredients you already have on hand, you can mix up a bottle of DIY glass cleaning solution at no additional cost to you.

When it comes to the homemade version, the advantages don't stop at the price. It's also more environmentally friendly. You'll save bottles from the landfill, and the natural ingredients are gentler than most premixed cleaners. And since you know exactly what's going in it, if the formula feels a little off, you can adjust it to better suit your preferences. Make this DIY window cleaner to see the sparkling, streak-free results for yourself.

vinegar, essential oil, and spray bottle

BHG / Ana Cadena

Basic Homemade Window Cleaner Recipe

Most DIY glass cleaners use water as a base, and we recommend using distilled water to prevent stains or marks on the glass. This simple homemade window cleaner recipe is quick to mix together and can be easily customized with your favorite essential oil. Vinegar is great for DIY glass cleaners too, since its acidity removes dirt and grease.

What You'll Need

  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 10 drops essential oil (optional)

Step 1: Prepare Ingredients

Gather all your supplies, including water, vinegar, and essential oils if you want to add a scent. We used lemon for its clean, fresh aroma.

Step 2: Combine in a Spray Bottle

Mix all ingredients in a spray bottle and gently shake until fully combined.

While reusing spray bottles is a great way to prevent plastic waste, be careful there are no residual chemicals left over. Some chemicals, when mixed, can cause nasty reactions. Before you reuse any spray bottle, give it a good wash with soap and water and rinse thoroughly. Always label your solution accordingly to avoid mixing chemicals.

Rubbing Alcohol DIY Window Cleaner

The addition of rubbing alcohol to this recipe helps the solution evaporate quickly on glass surfaces, reducing the chance of leaving water spots behind. Rubbing alcohol is a disinfectant, so unlike the first DIY glass cleaner, this one can be used to disinfect surfaces and kill germs and other bacteria.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 2-3 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol

Step 1: Add Ingredients in Order

First, add the rubbing alcohol and vinegar to a spray bottle. Second, fill with distilled water.

For best results, make sure your vinegar says "made from grain" on the label.

Step 2: Combine in a Spray Bottle

Secure the lid tightly and shake thoroughly. Ensure ingredients are fully mixed before using.

Rubbing alcohol is highly flammable, so be sure to store this homemade window cleaner in a cool, safe spot away from kids and pets.

dish soap poured into a bottle

BHG / Ana Cadena

Dish Soap DIY Glass Cleaner

Dish soap provides a simple, effective cleaning agent for glass surfaces, and you only need a small amount to make it work. Its grease-defeating abilities add an extra cleaning kick compared to the previous cleaners, especially if you're dealing with a particularly grimy or oily surface. Plus, it doesn't have the sour scent of vinegar if you're sensitive to strong odors.

What You'll Need

  • 16 ounces of hot water
  • A few drops of mild dishwashing liquid

Step 1: Gather Ingredients

Gather dishwashing liquid and hot water. We recommend using distilled water to get a streak-free finish.

Step 2: Combine Ingredients

Combine water and dishwashing liquid in a large bucket. Mix thoroughly and pour into spray bottle.

wiping down a window using a microfiber cloth

BHG / Ana Cadena

How to Use DIY Window Cleaner

To use your new homemade window cleaner, thoroughly dust the area, then spray the glass cleaner evenly across the surface, from top to bottom. Give your homemade window cleaner time to work. Spray, then wait a few minutes before wiping dry with a microfiber cloth. Note that the cloth should be clean before using it on glass surfaces.

Avoid using any cleaner containing vinegar on marble, granite, slate, tile, or solid surfacing, as the acidic ingredient could cause damage. For other cleaners, always test a small spot first in a hidden location to be sure it won't damage the surface.

Tips for Keeping Windows or Glass Streak-Free

When using a homemade cleaner on windows, mirrors, shower doors, and other glass surfaces, always work from top to bottom. This trick helps to prevent drips and streaks from the top down.

If there's any laundry soap or other residue on your cloth, you could leave behind streaks. For this reason, never launder your cleaning cloths with those used for cleaning the car or other greasy jobs.

Paper towels and rags are also a bad choice when cleaning windows since they leave lint and residue behind. Instead, opt for a microfiber cloth or lint-free rag to use with your DIY window cleaner to erase streaks and achieve a clear, shiny finish. You can also use a squeegee when cleaning exterior windows.

Safety Precautions When Making Homemade Glass Cleaner

Making your own cleaner is a cheap and easy hack, but always approach mixing chemicals with caution. Here are some toxic combinations that should never be mixed:

  • Vinegar and chlorine bleach
  • Bleach and ammonia
  • Bleach and rubbing alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide and vinegar

If mixed, these will create toxic substances. If you mix them accidentally, immediately leave the area.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you prevent streaks when cleaning windows?

    If streaky windows are a big issue in your home, try cleaning them with vinegar and warm water, which should leave them sparkling and streak-free. Another option is wiping them down with a newspaper, which cuts down on streaks and produces maximum shine.

  • How can I deep-clean my windows?

    When it comes to cleaning windows, the details are everything. Pick a cloudy day so the cleaning solution won't evaporate too fast. Make sure to wipe dust and dirt off first, then use a garden hose to power-wash the outside. When cleaning with your homemade solution, enlist the family. Have someone washing inside wiping horizontally, and someone outside wiping vertically. That way you'll know which side any streaks are on. Finish off with a good microfiber cloth or newsprint for a lint-free window.

  • What are some good natural cleaning solutions?

    While vinegar is the most widely recognized natural cleaning solution, there are other popular ingredients that are equally as effective. Ingredients like lemon juice, baking soda, vodka, essential oils, and Castile soap are all great ways to clean your home without a lot of chemicals.

  • Which cleans better, vinegar or alcohol?

    Vinegar is great for cleaning glass, but because it's acidic, it can't be used on every surface. Vinegar can also lose its effectiveness if the container is left open for too long. For an all-purpose cleaner, stick with alcohol. As a bonus, it does a good job of disinfecting surfaces.

  • What other surfaces can you clean with vinegar?

    Vinegar is a very versatile cleaning ingredient and one that will always come in handy around the home. In addition to cleaning windows to a streak-free, shine, you can also use it to clean other types of glass (like mirrors), faucets, showers, tubs, and various appliances.

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