No-Streak Homemade Window Cleaner

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.
It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

Homemade Window Cleaner

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 DIY 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 (all kind of stuff in there….artificial fragrances are not healthy)
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.

Homemade Window Cleaner

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 can you save using homemade window cleaner?

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 Window 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 :-)!

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

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, LLC.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Love using natural products….however I tried this and it leaves a white film all over from the baking soda….I shook and shook….it just dint disolve properly…..

  2. I made your window cleaning recipe and it is awesome. I have two sliding doors downstairs and started cleaning them very late afternoon, early evening so it was dark when I finished. The next morning, I couldn’t believe how great they looked, as if there was no window there. I went and bought two spray bottles so I could have it on hand always, one for downstairs and one for upstairs. Thanks so much for sharing. Best window cleaner ever

  3. Dave McCall, Common Sense Scientist says:

    Propylene glycol is a “generally recognized as safe” food additive. Its toxicity profile is as much as TEN TIMES LESS than the toxicity profile of isopropyl alcohol (which probably would sound more toxic to you if I used the proper chemical name of 2-propanol). Orange and lemon fragrances, sweetly smiled upon because they are “all natural”, are based on D-limonene, a terpene with a fairly high irritation potential. Lavender only sounds innocuous because you call it lavender. Should we investigate all the different chemical components of lavender, look up their toxicity profiles, and then compare them to the “toxic” chemicals present in a modern window cleaner? I suspect you would not want to endure such an analysis. Here’s the message: The people who make Windex are not poisoning you just because you don’t recognize the ingredients they use and are unable, and possibly unwilling, to learn to how to pronounce them.

    • Hello Dave,

      First of all, thanks for commenting. However, I don’t appreciate the condescending nature of your comment. I was pre med at top university in the country and was in the top 2% of that university as well so I’m not just a know nothing babbling here. I can be wrong about things, and of course am human, but I am not stupid.

      I assure you that I can pronounce most (if not all) of the ingredients on labels, including propylene glycol and 2 propanol and I am aware that there are different terms for ingredients, including the components of essential oils that you cited. As for the toxicity profiles of the components of lavender, I am not concerned about natural components of an essential oil and neither is EWG, if you are familiar with them. They in fact are redoing how they evaluate personal care products because of this situation. They have rated, until now, such products differently due to them having those essential oils in them, but they are re evaluating their policies to better assess the impact on the environment and on humans since those are, of course, the 2 concerns that we should have when evaluating what we use on ourselves and in our homes.

      In any case, as for your claim that propylene glycol is 10 ten times than that of isopropyl alcohol, perhaps you should take that up with EWG and not with me. According to them, the rating of PG is is worse than that of isopropyl alcohol. I would like to know what toxicity profile you are looking at. Perhaps the issue is that you are talking about ingesting it vs using it as a house cleaner? Those are, of course, different applications.

      Thanks again for commenting and I hope you get this response. I looked up your email address and it didn’t come up so perhaps you left a fraudulent one and just meant to leave a nasty comment to scare other readers away.

  4. L Darlene Walters says:

    Vinegar and distilled water. If a streak appears, just squirt it again and rub it clean. No need for other additions. I am for clean, simple, inexpensive, not toxic, cleaning supplies. I use nothing but vinegar, baking soda, Dr. Bronners Sal Suds and Castile soap, and Young Living Thieves cleanser to clean everything in my home including me. Have for years. I don’t understand why so many want to make it complicated.

  5. Just made this. It’s the best DIY window cleaner I’ve ever made. Who would have thought….cornstarch? But it works beautifully. Thanks!
    Just curious…..does anybody use this for their stainless steel appliances?

    • Great to hear!!! I don’t think it would be a problem on stainless at all. If you do try it please do let us know. Vinegar and ammonia are fine on stainless so I think it should be fine.

    • No. Wrong chemicals. There is a microfiber cloth which is made for stainless steel. It can be used dry or dampened with plain water. It is wonderful and chemical free and can be laundered and used again and again. 😉

  6. What is the purpose of the cornstarch?

    • Hi there. This is in the post (from a comment):

      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!

      Hope that helps.

      • Lisa R Graham says:

        OMG I was just going to ask that! Ive seen many a natural cleaning recipes with either cornstarch or baking soda and couldnt understand why. I did have an issue though when I made an all purpose cleaner with bakibg soda, it clogged my spray bottle. Anyone have this issue or know how to corrct/prevent it?

  7. I do this but with a squirt of dish detergent instead of cornstartch

  8. What is the shelf-life of the window cleaner?

    • Sorry but I can’t make shelf life claims and it would depend on the purity of the water and if there is chlorine in it. I would recommend making a small batch and storing in the fridge if necessary. Adding an essential oil or other natural preservative would extend the life a bit. Hope it works well for you.

  9. Hi,
    I’m just wondering if a steel spray bottle will do good?

    Thank you.

  10. Thank you for this recipe! I used it today (without the essential oils which I didn’t have) on the glass doors & windows of my lanai and it’s fabulous! I found that it worked best if I sprayed the window down, then wiped/rubbed it with a microfiber cloth to clean, then wiped it down with newspaper for a sparkly clean window. Easy peasy! I also had to make sure I rinsed out the microfiber cloth after cleaning every couple of windows or so or it would get streaky. Of course, now I have to go around and clean all the other windows. Sigh.

  11. tedantoine says:

    Can I substitute the essential oil to coconut oit or regular oil?

    • No, that wouldn’t work. Essential oils are for fragrance and therapeutic properties, whereas coconut oil and other oils are for other purposes.

  12. I just found this post today and i just cleaned all my windows with fantastic results. I use vinegar on a regular basis, but didn’t know about the corn starch. I’m not csure that the alcohol is absolutely necessary with the vinigar but I used your recipe and my windows look great!
    Thanks so much for the post. 🙂

  13. A tip with essential oils that I recently learned from is its best to use amber glass when storing your cleaner. What I am doing is I had glass bottles that fit a spray bottle top and I put it on it. To keep it dark in the bottle I got koozi’s from the dollar tree and they fit perfect over the bottle!

  14. I tried this. I now have the cloudiest glass door. Maybe The recipe should read 1t instead of 1T? Now I am looking for cornstarch remover recipes.

    • I’m so sorry. This is very odd….works for so many people but not others. I wonder if it’s something about an ingredient or the water quality?

    • A great tip for cloudy glass…use A few squirts of dawn dish soap mixed with apple cider vinegar then mix that with warm water. Take a non-scratching dish sponge (use the abrasive side) and move in circles on the class. You will feel a resistance at first and then once the residue is off it will feel slippery! I use it on my shower door and it’s amazing!

      • Another AMAZING thing to clean cloudy or scum covered glass, Magic Erasers! I am reusing shower doors, as the glass of room doors I’m building. The glass is that hammered type, with lots of dipps. Some Dawn, water and magic erasers, and almost NO elbow grease, and wah-la, no film!!

    • Alicia Emery says:

      Worked great for me.. I doubled the recipe (using 2 Tablespoons) in a regular sized spray bottle and sweet orange e. o. .. my old windows are S P A R K L Y! Thank you! Didn’t work all that great on my stainless refrigerator for hand prints and such.. but all other surfaces its amazing.. (my truck windows too!)

  15. Liza Ossenfort says:

    Thanks for this great recipe! I chuckled at beet juice from canned beets. We use fresh beets and steam them after slicing or cubing them. The steaming water turns a very deep red, the color of the beets. You might mention using that water instead of referring folks to canned beets. Buying fresh beets gives you three kinds of food: the greens, the beets, and the stems of the greens to use like celery.

    • You are so welcome! I need to get more beets. I love them shredded with carrots on a salad. Thanks for the reminder! Great point about using it all!

  16. Shannon Malone says:

    Great! Thank you so much. I have chemical allergies including Fragrance Mix I and II.

  17. I was introduce to a natural window cleaner using just three of the items in your recipe.
    1/2 gallon of water
    1/2 cup of vinegar
    2 tbsp cornstarch

    I saw the results as I walked past the front of their home. The panes in that window seemed to have disappeared. I went back to ask her if they were changing that window. She just said, I just cleaned them to remove the winter dirt.

  18. Ainsley Morris says:

    Cheap vodka works in place of rubbing alcohol….

  19. Was concerned about the cloudiness of the window cleaner, BOy was I surprised . Cleaned my windows and storm windows inside & out. Amazing crystal clear. No more windex for me . Thank you for sharing!!

  20. Jaime Byrne says:

    I was asking how to make windex hello.