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.  Get toxins out of 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!

Let me know what you think of this homemade window cleaner recipe!

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. Sorry I had to remove the link to your site b/c that's not ethically OK to drop those here. Thanks for reading, however.

  1. I'm not sure why so many DIYers are so in love with microfiber! I hate the stuff, and that was BEFORE it was made known that it leaves bits and pieces in the water and therefore contaminates the earth. (it is PLASTIC!)
    Check this out:
    But for all its glories, Michaelann, you’ve already discovered microfiber’s dirty underbelly: For starters, it is, as you point out, a petroleum-based product. That alone might not be reason enough to toss it out with the dishwater, but this is: It’s likely contributing to the growing problem of plastic pollution in our waterways. Scientists are beginning to find tiny shreds of synthetic fabrics in oceans and lakes all over the world, tracing them back to our washing machines; a single synthetic article of clothing can shed around 1,900 fibers every wash. I haven’t been able to find any research that differentiates between the bits coming off of microfiber cleaning cloths versus, say, a fleece jacket, but experts often list both as a source of this pollutant. So every time you toss your reusable cloths into the washing machine after a calming cleaning session, they’re likely leaving a little something behind.

    We should be concerned about this for a few reasons. Plastic, obviously, doesn’t biodegrade; like a clueless party guest, it sticks around in the ecosystem long after natural fibers have returned whence they came. And plastic has a nasty habit of soaking up and concentrating toxins, like carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Microplastics in particular are worrisome because it’s easy for fish and other aquatic creatures to scoop them up. The plastics and their hitchhiking chemicals can then build up in the animals’ tissues, and the tissues of larger animals that eat them, right on up the food chain to us. I don’t know about you, but I tend to pass when PCB Surprise is on the specials menu.

    So despite their advantages, Michaelann, I’d hop off the Microfiber Bandwagon
    FROM:
    https://grist.org/living/psst-do-you-know-microfibers-dirty-little-secret/
    The reason I hated it when I tried it several years ago is that it doesn't hold water, literally! It would just smear all over whatever I used it on. But the post above and many others told me I was right. I know it, for some, does the job and they like it, but if you are truly trying to be environmentally responsible, DON'T USE MICROFIBER!
    Sorry about the rant, but I feel this so strongly, and when I see bloggers, especially ones like you who try to be less toxic, suggesting using it I actually cringe!
    JUST FYI: NORWEX IS ALSO JUST MICROFIBER, DISGUISED

    1. Hi Carol! I actually have been struggling with this for awhile now. I think there's a benefit to be had for skipping the toxins in the sprays and reusing the same microfibers for years, but on the other hand, how about just using some lintless non microfiber rag instead? So yes, I share your concerns. I worked w/ Norwex for a very short time and then stopped. Mostly b/c they ended up stinking. LMK what you think. I'm making a note in the post now. 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        Thanks Adrienne! I’m sorry my comment sounded like a rant. I just get worked up about microfiber! I have rags from old towels form decades ago I use for this sort of stuff. If you don’t use fabric softener, (haven’t used FS for decades, either!) they work pretty well.

        1. You are so welcome! I so appreciate your coming back and responding. I get worked up about a lot of things as well. I know it's easy to come off wrong when worked up LOL. I have a ton of rags--we use them for all of our cleaning really. We have never used fabric softener!! Thanks again and I'll put the fabric softener note in the post too :).

        2. Peroxide and rubbing alcohol (50,70or91) I use 70 or 91°/° I just add approx equal parts of each. Spray a good amount covering entire glass surface wipe off with cotton rag*(t-shirt material). No streaks!! wipe top to bottom twice effortlessly for crystal clear mirrors windows any glass
          *Cloth/rag can not have fabric softener when washed...rag will smear cleaner instead of absorb.
          To clean soap scum from shower doors use any brand cleaner for glass top stoves....amazing results in one step!!!

  2. what would the measurements of ingredients be in a smokers house or vehicle? because i tried this and it's greasy and streaky.

    1. unfortunately washing several times is necessary for cars ( & not because of smoking, it's the off gassing of plastics in interior of car 🙁 ) and if windows aren't washed regularly they can take a few times to get clean. Also I have found even expensive paper towels can cause streaking that doesn't happen if I use a microfiber (personally yucky to touch for me) or lint free dish towel that has no soap residue in it.
      I am a housekeeper and need to get lots of windows clean and this type cleaner is effective but the towels are important. don't give up 😉

  3. 5 stars
    Hi there, I want to subscribe for this weblog to
    take most recent updates, thus where can i do it please help.

    1. Hi Mark - there's a subscription bar at the top of the blog and in the sidebar and below each post - thanks for subscribing.

  4. 5 stars
    I have to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website.

    In fact, you have encouraged me to get my very own website now.

  5. Has anyone tried hydrogen peroxide. Works wonders and no streaking. Just put some peroxide in a spray bottle and spray mirrors, car windows, house windows, etc. I use a microfiber cloth to wipe it off and it shines.

  6. You know what works better than anything to clean windows and mirrors.....plain old hydrogen peroxide. Just pour some in a spray bottle and spray your mirrors and see how clean they will be, does not leave any streaks.

      1. I use a microfiber cloth. Mirrors and windows and even shower doors clean so well, never any streaks. My daughter has her own cleaning business and she tried it and that’s all she uses on any glass.

  7. I clean my outside windows with; Hot water, a few drops of blue dawn dish soap, a old rag or sponge, a squeegee, an old dish towels.
    Put a few drops of soap in maybe 4 c. of water, put your old rag in and somewhat wring it out but not alot. Wash you window and right away squeegee it off top to bottom. Each time wipe squeegee off when you get to the bottom with the old dish towel. Then just wipe the bottom of the window across with the dish towel.

    1. Thanks! Glad you found something you like! I just prefer not to use things like Dawn. I wish I could find another option. I wonder if another more natural dish soap would work??

  8. "We're going streaking!!!!! Through the quad and into the gymnasium!!!! Won -hoooo!!! It's cool! You can bring your green hat!" -Hank the Tank

    Sorry! I know this isn't YouTube, but I couldn't resist when I read "streaking issues".

    My apologies.

    I wanted to add to the list if I may. I've found that once I've gotten the glass clean, or so I thought, it can get even ten times better, however, this involves chemicals and is nowhere near being ecomnomical. However, the glass glows and is so soft after you apply this final step, it's hard to resist once you've tried it. It also repels water, already has oils in it to prevent streaking, and also works great on marble, granite, polycarbonate, mirror, all metals, polished fiberglass and really anything with a high gloss finish. Obviously, this is not a home made product, so I only use it maybe 5 times a year, or for special occasions. You can choose whatever kind you wanna buy, as I've yet to find one that will disappoint. My personal favorite is, NuFinish! The car detailing polish that is advertised as " the once a year car polish". The stuff is incredible! It's actually addictive it's so vibrant! I've heard that the 5 star hotels use this on every surface they can to give it that 5 star look, and it works. As a matter of fact, if you're in a hurry, and I don't suggest this as a solution at all times, because the point is to find a really good home made cleaner, and not a chemical, but just if you find yourself with only water and some car polish, don't even bother with the water. You can apply the polish, let it sit, wait for it to turn cloudy, or haze, and then simply wipe away the haze. It takes off everything, similar to rubbing alcohol, but generally speaking, it doesn't hurt any surfaces that I know of besides wood. It will bloat or impregnate softer woods, but other that, I can't think of anything else that it can't be used on, although, in sure there are more. Again, this diverts from the original idea. This is not at all cheap, has chemicals, and may cause irritation. I guess it all depends on how far you're willing to go to get invisible glass, and it is most definitely that after using NuFinish. To be honest, I've never even looked to see what all is in it. It could be even more harmless that originally thought, but the scent is fairly pungent, almost as bad as Brasso, but sweeter.

    One other side note! For white teeth, and whiter whites when doing laundry, trying adding a 1/4 cup white vinegar, this is for laundry, not teeth), a 1/4 cup of baking soda, a tablespoon of coconut milk, and a touch of any citrus that is agreeable with you for tough stains or really dingy whites. Amazing! It works wonders on colors too! Especially white's!

    Recipes for whitening teeth using these same ingredients can be found online, but just a word to the wise, when using this for teeth whitening, do not exceed more than once a week. The vinegar and citrus are both highly acidic and will remove healthy enamel from your teeth. I typically do 2 times a month and my teeth have never been healthier. My last dentist visit, I did this right before I went in, and when the dentist looked at my teeth, he was blown away at how clean my mouth was. He even said that my mouth was the cleanest he had ever seen .that is an awesome compliment to get from.your dentist, but had he seen me a week.later without the rinse, it's doubtful I would've gotten the same response. To keep the doctor away, I take a whiskey shot if Apple cider vinegar every 3 days. I haven't been sick since I started taking it 6 years ago. Eveypry 3 days is just right. Any more and you may suffer some gastrointestinal or esophageal issues. I recommend diluting it with water when you begin to see what you can handle first.

    Thanks!

  9. I like this recipe! I've been using it for a year now - and it works so well! Thank you so much! I do have a question... Can I use denatured alcohol instead of the isopropyl alcohol?

  10. 4 stars
    I've been using this for a couple of years and works better than the commercial ones! Thanks for posting!

    1. So glad to hear that and you are so welcome! More coming soon. I'm so behind but determined to get more recipes, etc. out. Thanks for coming back to comment!

  11. I tried this today with distilled water (I have hard water) and it still made a streaky mess. Then I tried to do it without the corn starch and had better luck but still not great. I have tiny dogs and small grandchildren so there are a lot of prints. I think I will go back to what my professional window washers use which is plain water and a drop of dish soap and use it with a squeegie instead of wiping. It seems to work well for them.

    1. Hi there. So sorry that it didn't work for you! I am really confused about why this works fantastically for some and not for others. Will try to figure it out! Doesn't the method you are using end up using too much water?

  12. Can u share the glass cleaning recipe that does not have alcohol in it and perhaps no essential oils too.?

    1. Working on it--stay tuned! You can subscribe for updates if you like. I have a DIY Laundry Detergent coming soon too!

  13. You claim to be research based but you didn't bother to find out whether or why vinegar damaged marble (instead of just taking someone's word for it.) Makes me pretty skeptical of everything on your website.

    1. Hi ANne - thanks for reading. I'm really confused by your comment. I stated in the post the following "I've found out that you shouldn't use vinegar on marble as it can cause it to corrode"--why are you saying that I didn't bother to find it out? I did and the point was valid. I didn't just take someone's word for it.

      Hope that helps. I am not perfect (like no one is) but I did research this and I research quite a bit of things and I suspect it's more than the average blogger. If you have other concerns, feel free to bring them up :).

  14. Best glass cleaner ever! It works better than the commercially made glass cleaner. I love it when natural, good-for-you ingredients work better than the toxic stuff!!

    I did use distilled water, because I had it on hand and it seems to work a bit better on my glass. Thank you for sharing your recipe!

  15. I always use this homemade recipe. I have a grandson that now lives with us and another on the way. I want to use natural cleaning DIY recipes as much as possible and this is the best for us! Thank you!

  16. Let's start with WOW. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I ran out of cleaner this morning and, since I live a little ways out, I didn't feel like taking 45-minutes or longer of my time, just for glass cleaner. This is assuming that I didn't find a whole cart full of stuff I probably didn't need right now. My husband hates when I shop alone!
    I've made some other DIY's in the past, but for some reason or another they didn't work for me. This did.It scared me a bit however. It seemed much heavier on the glass and when first wiping, it looked wetter. I used a 2-sided microfiber cloth specifically for glass and wiped with the cleaning side and then wiped again with the buffing side and BAM! There it was, instant shine! No need for a second spray or even a little elbow grease. It worked on the gross bathroom mirror, totally my husband's fault, and the ancient shower door that hates being cleaned. It was a great find. I thought I'd leave the brands and types of products I used that may help others, especially if they have very hard water.

    1/4 cup white vinegar- I used White House All-Natural Cleaning Vinegar. It has a higher acidity of 6% compared to the normal 5%. This gives it more cleaning power. And it's lemon-scented—well, sort of.
    1/4 cup isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol- I used Member's Mark (Sam's Club) 91% rather than the normal 70% Why? Because it's more effective for disinfecting, and cleaning things like glass or stainless steel. It also dries much faster too. 70% is much better as a first aid remedy for rubbing on the skin in this more diluted strength.
    1 Tbsp non-GMO cornstarch- I used good ol' Argo
    2 cups water- I have well water that's very hard, but it all goes through the water softener first, and, in this case, the refrigerator filter too.
    8-10 drops essential oil of choice - Not that the scent matters much to anyone but me, I used 5 drops each of lemon and grapefruit Now 100% Pure Essential Oils

    1. So glad to hear this! Thanks for taking the time to share all of that! Laughing about the shopping alone part of your comment :). Hope to see you around again!