No-Streak Homemade Window Cleaner

This No Streak Homemade Window Cleaner is super easy to make, is much safer than a lot of the store-bought options, and leaves your windows and mirrors streak-free.

Plus it costs almost nothing to make, so it's easy on the budget too.

homemade window cleaner in spray bottle in kitchen

I've been working for awhile to get and keep as many toxins as possible out of our home, and that includes household cleaners.

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.

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

Chemical Sensitivity

Since my childhood, I've been sensitive to chemicals.

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

For as long as I can remember, I'd 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. 

So--for a long time, I've shunned the use of commercial home care products.

Since I'm a pretty simple gal about DIY cleaning products, mainly I was trying to get by with only vinegar and water. But sometimes you need something more.

Anyway, even if those chemicals don't make you feel bad, there's 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. In fact, you really should do what you can to remove toxins from your life to improve your health.

making homemade window cleaner

Benefits of Making Your Own Homemade Glass Cleaner:

1.  Reduce Toxins In Your Home

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 (all kind of stuff in there....artificial fragrances are not healthy)
Liquitint Sky Blue Dye

Ick.

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

2.  Save Money

You can make your own cleaner for way less money than you'd spend on a commercial cleaner.  Even if it's not cheaper, I'd still prefer to make my own for the other benefits.

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. Every time you can use a toxin-free product over a toxin laden one, you help the environment.

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

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

This cleaner, however, is great.  I found it on a number of sites all over the internet (not sure who created it, but it's called Alvin Corn) and I must say, it's a real winner.

This cleaner does contain isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, which some people may wish to avoid, but you can use vodka instead.

What Does the Cornstarch Do?

One of the things you'll notice in this formula, is that it has cornstarch in it.

Wondering what it's doing in there? Me too...

Here's what one reader shared with me:

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!

cleaning window with homemade glass cleaner

How Much Can You Save?

A ton.

Vinegar: costs about $.59 for 32 ounces 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 tablespoon per pound info I got is correct, then the cost for 1 tablespoon 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.

How To Use

Windows
Mirrors
Glass Appliances
Stainless Steel
Chrome
Aluminum
Ceramic
Plastic
Do NOT use this on marble or coated eyeglasses, however!

homemade window cleaner on kitchen counter

Tips & Notes:  

Here are some helpful tips to ensure this works well for you.

- Shake well before using since the cornstarch might clog up your spray nozzle otherwise.

- Allergic to corn?  I'm sure other starches like tapioca or arrowroot will work as well.

- What Cloth to Use? You can use microfiber cloths or rags to wipe your surfaces clean.  I prefer these options or newspaper to paper towels since paper towels leave lint and are more wasteful.
(Note - microfiber is plastic so I'm not really a complete fan, though it does tend to clean pretty well. A helpful reader commented that rags work pretty well as long as you don't use fabric softener on them (which, by the way, typically has lots of toxins in it like artificial fragrance, so here's another reason not to use it!)

- Label your bottle so as you make more and more non-toxic home cleaners you will know what is what :-). This handy dandy Chalkboard Contact Paper is great for label making.

- Color It: Add natural food coloring to the bottle so kids will know it's not water.  Beet juice (from canned beets) is one inexpensive natural color or you could drop a bit of powdered beet juice in as well.

- Prevent Streaking: Some readers have had streaking issues. It's possible this is from impure essential oils or hard water. If you have streaking issues, please do share in the comments what brand of essential oils you used and if you have hard water. I recommend only using pure essential oils even for house cleaning because even though it's "just" for cleaning, you still are breathing in oils (and whatever "else" might be in the oils. Another option is to leave out the cornstarch and see how that works.

- Use Two Cloths

To avoid streaking, use two cloths--one to wash and one very dry cloth to dry.

- Eyeglass Warning: You can use this Homemade Glass Cleaner on your eyeglasses, but only if they are plain glass. If they are coated, avoid using this since alcohol will cause crazing (small surface cracks) in polycarbonate plastic. It can also cause the lens coating to deteriorate, resulting in less durable glasses that are easily scratched.

- Avoid Marble: Do not use this cleaner on marble as it might damage it.

More DIY Healthy Home Recipes:

Are you an avid frugal DIYer like me? Here are some more ideas of simple things you can make for your home to reduce your exposure to toxins and save money while you're at it!

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

homemade window cleaner on kitchen countertop
homemade window cleaner in spray bottle in kitchen

Homemade Window Cleaner

4.93 from 13 votes
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Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine everything in a spray bottle. (You can reuse the container you already have from your store bought glass cleaner.  I had to buy one at a dollar store since we haven't used glass cleaner in years :-)!)
  • Shake well to mix.
  • Spray onto glass surface and wipe clean.

Notes

Do not use this glass cleaner on marble or coated eyeglass lenses.
If you have streaking issues (it happens sometimes) you can make this without the cornstarch.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!

Don't Feel Like DIYing?

This Glass Cleaner from Pure Haven is made of such clean ingredients and it works great! Plus you'll LOVE the scent--you might actually really love cleaning your windows and glass.

bottle of Pure Haven Home glass cleaner

And of course you'll feel good letting your kiddos help with cleaning when using it too - no toxins!

Do let me know what you think of this window cleaner when you try it. Would love to hear.

The images in this post were updated in Jan 2020. For reference, here is a copy of one of the original images.

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.

What do you use to clean your mirrors and windows?

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513 Comments

    1. Hi there! My understanding is that the alcohol in either should evaporate into the air fairly quickly. I would personally go for the vodka method, however. Good question!

    1. Thanks! If you scroll you should be able to see it plus there's a handy Jump to Tutorial link at the top of the post - hope that helps!

    1. So glad to hear! It's a great cleaner for sure! I just added vodka as an option--did you see that?

  1. 5 stars
    JACKPOT-it works SO well! I got the Grove Co. glass cleaner at Target, which came with a refill concentrate and bottle. I was so disappointed by the cleaner, and didn’t want the nice glass bottle to go to waste. And, I didn’t want to buy glass cleaner after I heard about vinegar working well. I’m glad I came across this recipe. I can see how the cornstarch could build up on the cloth you’re using, so make sure you use a clean rag for each area. I only used a few drops of lemon oil (bc that’s all I had left), so it was less fragrant but worked just fine. I seriously couldn’t stop once I tested it on my bathroom mirror lol I ended up not only cleaning the rest of my mirrors, but my photo frames as well. THANK YOU!

    1. It is diluted but in general you shouldn't use acid on granite. I haven't looked in detail at whether or not this dilution would be ok. Maybe you can figure that out? But to be on the safe side I wouldn't.

  2. This works so well!! Made a small batch exactly as written. Also, used a squeegee + paper towel. I had no issues with streaking. Wow. This stuff is amazing.

    1. Awww you made my day - so glad to hear it! I might tweak the recipe later but I'm so happy to hear that you had such great results!

  3. 5 stars
    Adrienne - About the cornstarch: I think it makes semi-solid gooey impurities stick to it's large and jagged surface area, instead of to the window. Solids and greasy semi-solids remaining stuck to the glass surface after the solvent dries, that is what makes visible streaks. A lot of these substances aren't very soluble in whatever solvent you are using, but the solvent can help them jump over to a new solid surface, namely the starch. When that powder has more surface area than the window glass, that is when the gunk leaves the glass for greener pastures.
    Essential oil, perhaps that gets under the gunk, so your last wipe with a clean rag collects looser gunk and carries it away. Hard for me to compare the two actions, oil vs. starch, competitively in my head.

    1. Very interesting. Thank you for taking the time to share!! So the question is why does this not work for some people.......

      1. Sorry, I disagree with the way you put it. To discuss this, we would need to be more specific in what sense it "does not work" for some people. Does starch leave streaks for some people? I have not heard such stories. There may be other reasons to leave it out, reasons I would not describe as "does not work". If I heard people describe their reasons, perhaps I could comment. Essential oils instead of starch, I would describe that as 'something else also works, pick whichever you prefer'. Then we could discuss the other reasons for such preferences. (I imagine there is no need to publish this reply...)

        1. Hi again. I am just referring to people here who comment every once in awhile that the formula didn't work for them and left streaks. It's a conundrum.

          Sorry if that was confusing.

  4. 5 stars
    Brilliant formula Adrienne...
    I have tried all kinds of window cleaners..commercial and homemade to try and remove some sort of streaking on my glass sliding doors..
    None have ever removed them, but your window cleaner took all the streaking off!!..Absolutely brilliant !!
    Thank you for that..

  5. I followed the recipe exactly. It does not work and doesn’t even make sense. The cornstarch leaves a mess on the glass.