How To: Make Your Own Window Cleaner

Save your window from streaks—and still save a little money—with a DIY version of your favorite commercial cleaners.

Homemade Window Cleaner


Windows get dirty, in part because we put off cleaning them, mistakenly thinking of the chore as a somehow complicated one. Certainly, cleaning windows can be a chore, but complicated? No. That’s never more true than when you eschew fancy store-bought formulas in favor of homemade window cleaner. Save some dollars and keep things simple by mixing up your own window cleaner with nothing more than a few pantry staples you likely have on hand. Here’s a recipe for success.

- Vinegar
- Liquid dish soap
- Water
- Essential oils (optional)
- Spray bottle

Raid the pantry to gather your materials. Here, as in so many other non-toxic cleaners, vinegar plays a key role. Its acidity cuts through dirt and grease, an attribute that well equips the stuff to remove streaks from windows. Plus, if you’ve washed your windows for years with a commercial cleaner, it’s likely that the glass sports a subtle, waxy film. That comes off easily with ordinary dish soap, another ingredient contributing to the efficacy of homemade window cleaner.

Homemade Window Cleaner - Washing Detail


Mix your ingredients. In a spray bottle, combine a quarter-cup of vinegar with a half-teaspoon of liquid dish soap. Dilute the mixture with two cups of water, then shake the bottle vigorously to combine the components. If you happen not to have vinegar on hand, note that you can substitute in lemon juice. Like vinegar, lemon juice has a mild acidity that cuts through grease and grime with equal panache.

As a cleaning agent, there’s much to love about vinegar, but the strong odor isn’t everyone’s favorite thing. Fortunately, you can go a long way toward camouflaging the scent by adding essential oil into the spray bottle mixture. Pick your favorite oil—it doesn’t matter which—and include about 10 or 15 drops.

With your homemade window cleaner now ready, mist the window glass with it and then, using a lint-free cloth, wipe the cleaner across the entire surface you’re cleaning. Be careful not to use a cloth or sponge that’s going to leave streaks (or even scratches). For best results, opt for microfiber or chamois.

If the windows are dusty but not streaky, you can clean them without bringing a cleaning solution, homemade or otherwise, into the equation. Simply use a lint-free cloth to pick up and clear away the dust. Then, once finished, complete the job by polishing the glass to a shine with a different, clean cloth.

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Doors & Windows