Homemade window cleaner provides a cheaper, eco-friendly alternative to chemical cleaning products. Learn how to make these easy DIY window cleaner recipes that will leave your glass surfaces sparkling.

By Berit Thorkelson and Jessica Bennett
Updated October 22, 2020
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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.

The homemade version is also more environmentally friendly. You'll save bottles from the landfill as well as the fuel that would've been used to get those bottles to the store. Plus, a glass cleaner made with natural ingredients, such as distilled white vinegar, is much gentler on the earth than most premixed cleaners. Another benefit comes from the ability to adjust the recipe as needed. You have total control over the quality and ratios of ingredients in a homemade window cleaning solution. You know exactly what's going in it, and if the formula feels a little off, you can adjust it to better suit your preferences.

Homemade glass cleaner provides a safe and easy route to streak-free, shiny windows. Try one of these three DIY window cleaners to see the sparkling results for yourself.

homemade glass cleaner on counter kitchen sink window
Credit: Steven McDonald

Method 1: Basic Homemade Window Cleaner Recipe

Most DIY glass cleaners use water as a base. We recommend using distilled water instead of water from the tap. It's purer, shelf-stable, and less likely to leave stains or marks. This simple homemade cleaner recipe is quick to mix together and can be easily customized with your favorite essential oil.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
  • 10 drops essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle and gently shake together. We used lemon for its clean, fresh scent, but you can use the essential oil of your choice.

Method 2: 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. As a reminder, rubbing alcohol is highly flammable, so be sure to store this homemade window cleaner in a safe spot and away from kids and pets.

Ingredients:

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

Add the rubbing alcohol and vinegar to a spray bottle, then fill with distilled water. Secure the lid tightly and shake thoroughly. For best results, make sure your vinegar says "made from grain" on the label.

Method 3: 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.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz hot water
  • a few drops mild dishwashing liquid

Combine water and dishwashing liquid in a large bucket. We recommend using distilled water to get a streak-free finish.

How to Use DIY Window Cleaner

Be sure to choose a new, clean spray bottle for your DIY glass cleaner; old bottles might contain residual chemicals that could cause a reaction. You should also label it accordingly. Avoid using any cleaner containing vinegar on marble, granite, slate, tile, or solid surfacing, which it could damage. For other cleaners, always test a small spot first in a hidden location to be sure it won't damage the surface.

When using your 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. You should also 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 totally clean before you use it on glass surfaces. If there's any laundry soap or other residues 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 since they leave lint and residue behind. With these tips, your DIY window cleaner will erase streaks and achieve a clear, shiny finish.

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