No-Streak Homemade Window Cleaner

Trying to make your own home care products to save money and get the toxins out of your home? This No-Streak Homemade Window Cleaner works great and costs pennies to make. I love not using that blue-dyed stuff - better for you and better for the earth - better for your pocketbook.

Our environment is filled with toxins and one of the biggest offenders in the toxin department is household cleaners.  So I’ve been working for awhile to get and keep as many toxins as possible out of our home.

I make and use homemade foaming soap, a natural dishwasher rinse aid, homemade “soft scrub” and even soap nuts instead of laundry detergent.

Today I am going to share with you one of my most favorite non toxic Home Care Products – Homemade Glass Cleaner.

I personally think that it is so important to get Home Care and Personal Care products that are toxin free so that we, our families, and our world can be a lot more healthy.

Plus, you can save a TON of money by making these things yourself.

And it doesn’t have to take a TON of time.

In fact, most of them are lickety-split.

So even uber busy folk can do this and not drive themselves crazy.

This Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe is a case in point.  It’s simple.

Chemical Sensitivity

Since my childhood, I have been plagued with chemical sensitivities.

Truthfully, I’ve always been sensitive to a lot of things, but some chemical smells (think “off-gassing”) and artificial fragrances are one of the worst.

For as long as I can remember, I would get light-headed and feel “woozy” just walking down the detergent and house cleaner aisles at the grocery store, or walking through the perfume section in a department store.

Even walking outside when people are running their dryers bothers me.  The smell of the VOCs in the dryer sheets is just terrible (and terrible for you).

So–for a long time now, I have shunned the use of commercial home care products.

But mainly I was trying to get by with only vinegar and water.  But sometimes you need something more.

Anyway, even if these chemicals don’t make you feel bad, there is a lot of evidence that they aren’t healthy, so it’s a good idea to do what you can to remove them from your environment as much as possible.

Either way, making your own glass cleaner is a breeze.

Benefits of Making Your Own Homemade Glass Cleaner:

1.  Get toxins out of your home and your life

Do you really want these things in your home?

propylene glycol
2 Hexoxyethanol
Ammonium Hydroxide
Mirapol Surf S-210
Viden EGM
Sodium C14-17 Sec-Alkyl Sulfonat
Fragrance Palette (goodness – what’s in that???)
Liquitint Sky Blue Dye

Yes, that is what is in one of the more popular glass cleaners on the market.  Ick.

2.  Save Money

You can make your own cleaner for way less money than you would spend on a commercial cleaner.  Even if not, I would still prefer to make my own for the other benefits.  See the end of this post to see how much you can save.

3.  Clean Up the Environment

Do you really want to add these toxins to our already toxically-overloaded environment?  I am convinced that one of the main problems regarding the onslaught of autism, auto-immune disorders and cancer is the prevalence of toxins in our world.  Let’s do what ever we can, within reason, to help clean things up for us and for future generations.  Every time you can use a toxin free product over a toxin laden one, you help the environment.

Now, I used to use just plain vinegar to clean our mirrors and glass.  Truth be told, we didn’t really clean our windows often.  Just didn’t really think about it.

We would put some plain vinegar on a piece of newspaper and wipe it all over the mirror.

It worked pretty well, but it did leave some streaks that were a little hard to get off.

But in a pinch, it works well.

This cleaner, however, is great.  I found it on a number of sites all over the internet and I must say, it is a real winner.
My son likes to take our spray bottle all over the house and clean all the windows and mirrors –it helps to have a bottle with a blue top (his favorite color!)

This cleaner does contain isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, which some people may wish to avoid, but I don’t have a problem with.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on that….and I did find another promising recipe that costs quite a bit more money to make and has no isopropyl alcohol.  Maybe I’ll give it a whirl!

By the way, I discovered this recipe on several sites, but I suspect that the originator of the recipe is Crunchy Betty. She’s got some pretty cool DIY stuff on her blog besides just glass cleaners :).

By the way, any of the following links may be affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.

This DIY Window Cleaner works great and really leaves no streaks! And none of the toxins of the "blue stuff" from the store!

What Does the Cornstarch Do?

You’re wondering that too, aren’t you?

I sure was.

Well, this update is just in today (Sept. 13, 2013) from a reader who is “in the know.”  Here is her answer:

On a microscopic level, glass is not perfectly smooth. When you spray water on it, the water molecules get caught in the pits on the glass surface. Water also clings to itself through hydrogen bonding – the hydrogen atoms from two molecules cling together. Water stuck in the glass + water stuck to more water = streaking. Cornstarch (or dish soap or oil-even a couple drops of essential oil) disrupts the hydrogen bonding, thus preventing streaks!

Cool beans! A DIY house cleaning recipe and science lesson in one!

How much will you save?

A ton.

Vinegar: costs about $.59 for 32 oz at Aldi. So even if we double the price, let’s say it costs $.04

Rubbing Alcohol:  Based on current Rite Aid pricing (I called :-)!) $.25 for 1/4 cup

Cornstarch:  A local Midwest grocery chain has it for $1.39 right now.  If the Tbsp per pound info I got is correct, then the cost for 1 Tbsp is about $.04.

Water:  I am just going to call this $0.00.  The current approximate cost per gallon in my city is $.002 per gallon :-).

So – it costs a total of $.33 to make 2 1/2 cups of Glass Cleaner.

Cost of a popular brand on the market? $3.43 on Amazon.  I had to do some fancy math to get the cost per ounce, but this is what it costs for 2 1/2 cups (20 oz).  So you save over 90%!

How Can You Use Homemade Glass Cleaner?

Glass Appliances
Stainless Steel
Marble (thanks to a reader, I’ve found out that you shouldn’t use vinegar on marble as it can cause it to corrode.)

I hope this gets you motivated to:

– Save Money

Reduce Toxins

– Improve Your Family’s Health

– Clean Your Windows :-)!

More DIY Recipes for You and Your Home from this site:

Natural Dishwasher Rinse Aid
Homemade Foaming Soap
DIY Shower Cleaner
Best DIY Fruit Fly Trap
Easiest DIY Weed Killer

And for a whole boatload of DIY Cleaning Recipes, Heather from Mommypotamus has this great book:

DY Cleaning Book - Mommypotamus

What do you use to clean your mirrors and windows?

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. I will definitely try this mix-no more ammonia smell! In a pinch, I have used hand sanitizer on bathroom mirrors (rubbing alcohol!). If any of my kids have shirts with stubborn stains, I use them for cleaning rags. I simply cut them into smaller pieces, then I toss the rags into the washer, hang them to dry, and reuse later.

  2. I love my essential oils, and use the all the time. I thought I remember hearing that you should not use citrus in plastic bottles. Something about the acidic oils eating the plastic. Has anyone else heard this before?

  3. Pauline Rosenberg says:

    Yay! Used this and it was great. Ran out of Windex and found this on line. Sparkling windows! Thank you!

  4. I enjoy how ‘environmentally friendly’ it was to buy a plastic squirting bottle at a dollar store. Let’s just forget that that plastic item is likely made in China and produces a ton of toxins and large carbon footprint in producing and shipping to your move little convenient dollar store. Think about the big picture and reuse a shampoo bottle or the alcohol bottle fitted with a sprayer.

  5. Yes, I can see that that is a good point. I went through my house and found 4 reusable bottles with sprayers today! I decided to use up the rest of my cleaners before making my own but I want to try this recipe soon!

  6. One Christmas I used a product on my windows to make them look icy and could not get it off with store bought window cleaner,even after trying 4 times. Got a tip from someone and it immediately removed the product and left it streak free and beautiful. For 15 years now I am still convinced this is the cheapest and easiest way to clean windows.and this tip has helped make some professional window cleaners very happy . Put 1 new dryer sheet in a bucket of water. Let it sit for about 5 minutes. Remove dryer sheet and pour liquid into spray bottles. It cleans the window and leaves it streak free in no time. (If windows do happen to streak solution may be too strong.)

    • Nice tip. However, aren’t you concerned about the chemicals on dryer sheets? I wonder what’s on it that made it clean the window? When I was a little girl, my whole family got hives from the Bounce sheets – my mom’s were so bad she needed to go on steroids :(. I don’t mean to criticize you – just wondering what you think and telling you what happened to us. I’m glad your windows are clean, though :).

  7. Hi, I tried your recipe just now and I wanted to tell my experience. First, I tried it in the bathroom and it worked on the mirror when I wiped with newspaper. Then, I tried it on my glass door going out to the porch. It worked okay on the inside but not as well as the mirror. Then on the outside of the door it didn’t work well at all. It is cold outside and that probably has something to do with it. However, I must say, I also tried the recipe replacing the cornstarch with a tiny bit of canola oil and it worked better all the way around – mirror and glass door inside and out.

    Thank You for your post and sharing your knowledge!

  8. Im sorry to say I followed directions exactly when making the mixture and it left my mirrors with hazy film. 🙁 Im so bummed I wonder if the corn starch needs to be reduced?

    • I’m so sorry! A few readers have had that issue. Maybe the cornstarch isn’t dissolved? I have moved more towards microfibers and water these days, but I never had that issue. Did you try it again?

  9. stephanie says:

    My windows have a white film over them after using the above recipe. I had to wash them again using my usual windex. I like the idea of a safer wash but I want it to work.

  10. This recipe for window cleaner works wonderful. Thank you for sharing ?

  11. I have used this “window cleaner” as a pre-reatment for carpet stains, greasy stove and pet vomit. It works great on all those things. I really could not believe how it cleaned my stove top came and no streaking. Love this stuff.

  12. Jack Parker says:

    Hello. I just found this website and have been spending time enjoying it! I’m learning quite a bit. I hope it’s not presumptuous to share my window cleaning recipe. I’ve been using it for decades and never had any trouble with streaking.

    A very easy, non-measuring formula is this: Take any spray bottle, even an empty Windex bottle, (did you know Windex is 95% water?). Fill the bottle to the bottom of the neck with water. Fill half the neck with white vinegar and the other half with rubbing alcohol. That’s it. No streaking. No corn starch needed. I use Wintergreen Rubbing Alcohol for the scent. The trick to being streak free (other than the alcohol) is to use newspaper instead of a rag or paper towels, which leave lint behind.

    To clean surfaces (counters, tubs, sinks, stovetop, etc.,) use plain old baking soda. (I keep mine in a shaker.) If you need a little extra scrubbing power, add a little fine salt. (For extra fine, run the salt through a coffee grinder.) If it’s a baked on type stain or grime, pour a capful of vinegar to the baking soda and then scrub. If you want to sanitize, use a spray bottle with half water and half bleach. Spray the area and wipe with a clean towel (cloth or paper). For all of my general cleaning needs, I’ve only ever needed vinegar, baking soda, rubbing alcohol and bleach. All inexpensive items.

  13. Your glass cleaner sounds great. My question is – I have heard you should not put EOs in plastic spray bottles as they cause a chemical reaction with the plastic. EOs should be put in glass bottles only. What is your opinion?

    • Thanks for commenting. That is for straight, undiluted EOs. If that were true than any company selling any product that has EOs in it shouldn’t be stored in plastic. I still recommend high quality plastic or glass where possible.

  14. I just used this mix to try and wash my glass dining room table and it streak the (expletive deleted by blog owner) out of it … Did not work what so ever. My table looks worst than before I started. Sorry but your recipe just did not cut it in my book

  15. So i ran out of window cleaner, and needed something fast since I am having company over tonight. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of this mix. It did not clean my windows to a sparkly clean finish, nor did it leave them streak free. I even washed my kitchen window 3 times just to see the same spot still staring back at me from the glass. And my mixture is milky white like a fluffy cloud. I am using 99% alcohol, so maybe thats affecting something? Although I figured it would just enhance it. At least it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg to make 🙂

    • I’m not thinking that is the issue. For some reason this isn’t working for some people. I wonder if it could be something in the water? Are you using filtered water? I’m using other things now, but this did work well for me when I used it.

  16. bubblevicious says:

    But can I still use plastic spray bottle? I mean, that’s what I already have. Won’t the acidity of the vinegar affect the plastic bottle? And one more, after I wipe it off, do I need not to rinse it off with water? I mean, after you spray the mixture and wipe, that’s it?? Please reply bc it will be really helpful for me to actually do this.. Thanks XO

    • It depends on the quality of the bottle and of course it’s diluted. Vinegar is often solid in plastic bottles and I know that Bragg’s is careful to sell theirs only in quality bottles. You don’t have to rinse it. You can see in the comments some folks don’t think it works for them but hopefully it works for you!

      • bubblevicious says:

        Thank you very much for your reply! Another thing, does cane vinegar with 5% acidity work the same as a white vinegar? And can I use eucalyptus oil, as well? If so, how many drops should I put? Sorry for many questions, this is actually my first time doing this bc I greatly dislike the smell of windex when our glass is being cleaned.. Thanks again! XO

  17. I tried this recipe with cornstarch, but without essential oils, a couple years ago, but I did not have luck with cornstarch in the mix.

    I use 1/4 C rubbing alcohol + 1/2 C Vinegar plus distilled water to fill a 32 oz spray bottle. I use 2 microfiber cloths. I spritz the first cloth with some spray and wipe the grime away, then follow up with the dry one to ensure no streaks. Sometimes I have to do the windows or mirrors twice, but only if they are particularly messy. (Usually this happens with the bathroom sink mirror where the kids get toothpaste all over it!)

    The key, in my experience, is not to make your first cloth too wet and follow up with the dry cloth right away. When a window is super gross, especially an outside facing one, I spray the glass and wipe the majority of the grime off with a paper towel and then follow my above steps. So far this has turned out to be the fastest and easiest method for me. My kids can even clean the bathroom and leave a streak free mirror — virtually unheard of before I tried this, and that is worth it all to me! 😉

    • Thanks for sharing! I love kids cleaning the bathroom! Will they clean your toilets too? And the tub?

      • I am a mean mommy, so YES! They do… toilets, tubs and floors even! O:)

        • Tell me your trick about getting them to clean toilets. My youngest is particularly opposed :(.

          • No i-Pod/kindle/phone time, no computer time, no t.v. time.
            Kids do just about anything to keep from losing those.

            My youngest is 10. She doesn’t do toilets yet, but she will next year.
            (I start them on bathroom duty in middle school.) That’ll be a wake-up call for her!

          • Nice. Love it. So do you have passwords on all of your devices or how do you keep them off of them?

          • I have been known to collect the devices and hide them in a lock box.
            Luckily, it does not happen too often.

            I recently heard my 24 year old advise one of the cranky teenagers that “Mom ALWAYS wins, so shut-up and get it over with!” Warmed my wicked mommy heart, that did! 😀

          • Oh my goodness! LOVE it. You have given me new inspiration and it was much needed.

  18. Opal Craig says:

    I have had great success with the homemade window cleaner above~no smears at all! Thank YOU I am about
    to make another patch now.

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