Homemade window cleaners are easy to make using common household ingredients you probably have already.
Whether cleaning windows inside or outside, each of these cleaning solutions work to polish and remove debris from the surfaces. Homemade solutions are also safer than commercial cleaners that contain harmful chemicals with toxic fumes.
Today, I have recipes for a number of homemade window cleaners, including one to use outdoors. These recipes offer safe, inexpensive alternatives to popular brands. And they’ll get the job done — cheaper, better and faster!
ALL-PURPOSE WINDOW CLEANER
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol (or denatured alcohol, available in the paint aisle of any home improvement center)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
5 drops dishwashing liquid (such as blue Dawn)
2 cups of water
Combine all ingredients in a 24-ounce (or larger) spray bottle. Label clearly. Shake well before use.
To Use: Pour your desired cleaning solution into a spray bottle. Spray on windows, and wipe off using a microfiber cloth or a silicone squeegee to avoid streaks.
OUTDOOR WINDOW CLEANER
This is an ideal cleaner for big, outdoor windows when you don’t want to use a ladder to wash them by hand. You will need a hose with a good spray nozzle, some kind of scrubber and a long-handled pole for windows that are out of reach.
First, make up a batch of this window cleaner, which is ideal for hard-to-reach outdoor windows because you rinse and then let the windows drip-dry. Make sure you do this on a cloudy day.
1/2 cup rinse aid (such as Finish by Jet Dry)
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
1/4 cup household ammonia
1/3 cup any automatic dishwasher detergent (such as Cascade)
2 gallons hot water
Pour all ingredients into the bucket, and mix well until combined.
To use: Spray windows with the hose and that powerful spray nozzle, knocking off dirt, grime and debris. Set the hose aside. Dip your scrubber of choice into the solution, and get it totally saturated. Don’t wring it out. Scrub the window thoroughly in all directions, making sure you reach the corners. Spray window again with clear water using the hose and powerful spray nozzle. Let dry.
That’s it. Both the dishwasher detergent and rinse aid will create a “sheeting” action to leave windows clean and streak-free.
Note: When it comes to safety issues for pets and plants that might be in the way of this cleaner as it rinses away, I cannot say for sure one way or the other.
What I know is that it has not damaged anything growing in the area of the windows I’ve cleaned.
Most landscape fertilizers contain ammonia, and the ingredients are greatly diluted in the 2 gallons of water. They are diluted again when rinsed away with more water.
Once the windows are completely rinsed, I take time to hose off the deck, and for windows above plants, I spray all those areas well to dilute any effect even further. If you are concerned, please conduct your own independent research.
Regardless of which cleaner and method you use, your world is about to get even more beautiful.
Would you like more information? Go to EverydayCheapskate.com for links and resources for recommended products and services in this column. Mary invites questions, comments and tips at EverydayCheapskate.com, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a lifestyle blog, and the author of the book “Debt-Proof Living.”