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The Best Homemade Window Cleaners That Actually Work

March 3, 2024
The Best Homemade Window Cleaners That Actually Work


Having clean windows makes a huge difference in the look and feel of your home. While store-bought window cleaners get the job done, they often contain harsh chemicals and cost quite a bit over time. The good news is, you can make your own effective window cleaners using inexpensive, natural ingredients you probably already have at home.

I’ve tested numerous homemade window cleaner recipes over the years. In this article, I’ll share the best homemade window cleaners that actually work to leave your windows streak-free and shining. From all-purpose cleaners to solutions for specific window cleaning challenges, you’ll find a recipe here that fits your needs.

All-Purpose Homemade Window Cleaners

These simple homemade cleaners work on most windows and are safe for even delicate surfaces.

Basic Vinegar Window Cleaner

– 1 part white vinegar
– 1 part water

Why It Works: The acetic acid in vinegar helps cut through grease and grime, while the water helps wipe it away, leaving windows shiny.

My Thoughts: This inexpensive cleaner works great on most windows. I use it for quick touch-ups and routine cleaning. The vinegar smell fades quickly.

Vinegar and Essential Oil Window Cleaner

– 2 cups water
– 1/2 cup white vinegar
– 15-25 drops essential oil (such as lavender, orange, peppermint)

Why It Works: The vinegar cleans, while the essential oils add a light scent.

My Thoughts: I love keeping a spray bottle of this by the window for a quick refresh. It works well and leaves everything smelling fresh.

Foaming Window Cleaner

– 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
– 1 tablespoon vinegar
– 1 tablespoon liquid soap
– 2 cups water

Why It Works: The soap and alcohol help dissolve oil and grease, while the foam clings to windows rather than dripping off quickly.

My Thoughts: This leaves a beautiful shine in one application – no need to scrub hard or follow up with a chamois cloth. The foam feels luxurious to use.

Solutions for Specific Window Cleaning Challenges

Stubborn buildup, hard water stains, outdoor windows exposed to the elements – sometimes you need a special cleaner to get the job done right.

For Hard Water Stains

– 1 cup white vinegar
– 1/4 cup baking soda
– 4 cups water

Why It Works: The acid in the vinegar reacts with the baking soda to create a gentle scrubbing solution that dissolves mineral deposits.

My Thoughts: This works incredibly well to remove those frustrating hard water stains with minimal effort. Just spray and wipe away.

For Outdoor Windows and Screens

– 2 tablespoons cornstarch
– 3 tablespoons vinegar
– 1 gallon water

Why It Works: The cornstarch prevents streaking, even in direct sunlight. The vinegar disinfects.

My Thoughts: This is by far the best window cleaner I’ve found for exterior windows. It magically keeps them streak-free, even in full sun.

For Heavy Grime Buildup

– 1/2 cup baking soda
– 1/4 cup vinegar
– 1/4 cup blue Dawn dish soap
– 1 gallon water

Why It Works: The baking soda scrubs, while the vinegar and dish soap cut through stubborn grease and dirt.

My Thoughts: I wish I’d discovered this years ago for cleaning the film of grease off my kitchen windows over the stove – it works like a charm! It does leave windows a bit soapy, so you need to squeegee and polish them after.

My Top Tips for Streak-Free Windows

  • Clean windows on a cloudy day or in the shade whenever possible. Direct sunlight causes cleaner to dry too quickly, increasing chances of streaks.
  • Use lint-free microfiber cloths or sponges for washing and drying windows. Paper towels can leave residue. Newspapers and coffee filters also work in a pinch.
  • Follow up cleaning by polishing windows dry with a dedicated chamois cloth to prevent water spots.
  • Work in horizontal zig zag motions, overlapping sections as you clean.
  • Squeegee exterior windows after washing to control dripping and pooling.
  • Never clean windows in direct sunlight – streaks will happen!


With these effective homemade recipes, you can tackle any window cleaning challenge while saving money and avoiding harsh chemicals. When made with ingredients you likely already have at home, DIY window cleaners are an easy way to get windows sparkling clean.

I hope you’ll give some of these homemade window cleaners a try the next time your windows need a refresh. Let me know if you have a favorite go-to window cleaning recipe of your own too!

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