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Shine On – A Review of Glass Cleaners

March 4, 2024

Shine On – A Review of Glass Cleaners


Keeping windows, mirrors, and other glass surfaces streak-free and sparkling can be a challenge. As a homeowner, I rely on glass cleaners to help me achieve that desired shine. In my recent quest to find the best glass cleaning products, I tested out some of the top brands and formulas on the market. In this review, I’ll share my experiences and recommendations to help you choose the right glass cleaner for your needs.

Glass Cleaner Types

There are a few main types of glass cleaner formulas:

Ammonia-Based Cleaners

  • Contain ammonia which helps cut through grease and grime
  • Provide strong cleaning power
  • Can leave behind streaks due to rapid drying
  • Have a very strong scent

Ammonia-Free Cleaners

  • Do not contain ammonia
  • Often include alcohol and detergents for cleaning
  • Less likely to leave streaks
  • More pleasant smell

Vinegar-Based Cleaners

  • Use vinegar as the main cleaning ingredient
  • Natural and non-toxic
  • Weak at cutting through heavy dirt
  • Leave a vinegar scent behind

Testing Process

To select the best glass cleaners, I tested eight popular brands on windows, mirrors, glass shower doors, and glass tabletops around my home. For each cleaner, I assessed:

  • Ability to cut through dirt and grease
  • Streaking and hazing
  • Ease of use
  • Scent

I also analyzed key factors like ingredients and price. After rigorous testing, these three cleaners stood out from the pack.

Top Glass Cleaner Picks

1. Windex Original Glass Cleaner

  • Price: $3.99 for 23 fluid ounces
  • Key features: ammonia-based formula, strong cleaning power

Windex is a tried-and-true classic glass cleaner. The ammonia formula cuts through grime with ease. I was able to lift away dirt, dust, and even greasy fingerprints from my windows and mirrors. It did leave some minor streaking on larger glass surfaces. The strong ammonia scent may also be unpleasant for some. But for heavy duty cleaning power, Windex is a solid choice.

2. Method Glass + Surface Cleaner in Mint

  • Price: $3.79 for 28 fluid ounces
  • Key features: ammonia-free, naturally derived ingredients, light mint scent

For a milder glass cleaner option, I recommend this formula from Method. It uses naturally-derived ingredients like ethanol, essential oils, and corn starch to clean and polish. While not as strong as ammonia cleaners, it handled light dirt and dust with no issues. I particularly like the light mint scent, which leaves glass surfaces smelling fresh and clean. No harsh chemical smell at all. It’s a great ammonia-free option.

3. DIY Vinegar Glass Cleaner

  • Price: ~$2 for 32 fluid ounces
  • Key features: vinegar-based, all-natural ingredients, easy to make

My homemade vinegar glass cleaner was shockingly effective. All it takes is 1 part vinegar and 1 part water in a spray bottle. Despite the natural ingredients, it wiped away dust, smudges, and smears from my windows and mirrors after a few spritzes and wipes. I’d recommend adding a few drops of essential oil like lemon or mint to counteract the strong vinegar smell. While not as heavy-duty as ammonia formulas, this DIY cleaner impresses for its simplicity and low cost.

Key Takeaways

  • Ammonia-based cleaners like Windex provide robust cleaning but can leave streaks and smells.
  • Ammonia-free options such as Method work well on light dirt and have pleasant scents.
  • DIY vinegar solutions are super cheap, effective for basic cleaning, but leave a strong vinegar odor.

Keep these pros and cons in mind as you shop for glass cleaners. With a little testing, you’ll find the right product to leave your windows, mirrors, and glass surfaces crystal clear.

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