Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe

Homemade All Natural Glass Cleaner Recipe

Sometimes the best things in life are free… or really, really cheap, like this natural glass cleaner recipe. I’ve experimented with many types of natural cleaners and have finally found natural options that are as good (or better) than conventional cleaners.

Natural Glass Cleaner

This natural glass cleaner was a pretty easy recipe to figure out after I got the tip to use vinegar from an elderly neighbor. Apparently, that is what everyone used in past generations and we’ve just been slow to figure it out. What’s old is new again, I suppose…

I was motivated to create a natural option for cleaning windows when I discovered my one-year-old licking a window one time. I wasn’t sure what was in my conventional glass cleaner but I was pretty sure I didn’t want her eating it. Also, with five professional Fingerprint On Windows Creation Experts, cleaning windows is sometimes a daily job at our house! I love that this cleaner is completely non-toxic so I can let the children help clean without worrying about them being exposed to chemicals.

In fact, I now keep little glass spray bottles and microfiber cloths in a basket in our pantry and cleaning the lower part of windows is not a daily job for our 4 and 5 year olds.

Since taking the picture for the post, I also found large glass spray bottles and prefer to use those now. You can make your own with an empty glass apple cider vinegar bottle and a spray top.

This cleaner has a somewhat strong smell that completely evaporates once it dries. I prefer to use microfiber cloth to wipe down the windows now, but old newspapers or t-shirts also work. Just avoid paper towels as they tend to leave lint on them.

Glass Cleaner Ingredients

  • 2 cups of water (distilled or filtered is best so it doesn’t leave residue)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 10 drops essential oil of choice- I use lemon (optional- but it helps cut the vinegar smell)

Glass Cleaner Instructions

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle (preferably glass) and use as needed to clean window. I like to use a microfiber cloth to wipe windows clean with this recipe.

Note:  If you have always used commercial window cleaner in the past, mix a couple drops of liquid castille soap or liquid dish soap in some of this mixture the first time you clean the windows to remove detergent residue.

If you are new to natural cleaning, check out these other easy recipes for cleaning your whole house without chemicals:

What’s your favorite natural cleaning recipe? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. Hi! Ok this may be a silly question, but I haven’t bought much vinegar in my day! Is there just straight vinegar or is it all distilled white vinegar? Thanks!

    • I use distilled white vinegar. I buy a box with two 1 gallon containers at Sam’s Club for a good price! (Bakers and Chefs brand I believe…) The cheap stuff works just fine!
      I use vinegar in almost all of my cleaner recipes!

  2. I just made this tonight and couldn’t wait to try it. It works better than any store bought glass cleaner I’ve ever tried! Thanks!

    • Disagree. This concoction did nothing but left streaks. It is no better than using straight water. Waste of time.

  3. Another product I have had great results with is club soda; it’s acidic and cuts through the greasy residue that can make it impossible to get a shiny stove top or microwave exterior.

    • Oh! I’m definitely going to try the club soda! Thank you!~xo

  4. Last weekend I cleaned some dirty windows in a cabin with a similar recipe! Worked like a charm! I sprayed it on, wiped the window down once, but it was still wet cause I needed alot of cleaner since there was grime all over the window. Then I let it sit for a minute or so and then came back and polished it up. Beautiful sparkly windows!

  5. I also add a TBS of cornstarch. Sounds odd I know but it works great!

  6. Can I use apple cider vinegar? I can buy it in bulk organic for cheap. Haven’t been able to find a good source for white vinegar.

  7. Sounds great, I am going to try this! Don’t use newspaper to clean your window, it can scratch the glass. Years ago, our mothers used newspapers, but it was a different quality and modern paper does not cut it. Paper towel does work, but it has to be a very good quality one. Happy cleaning!

    • The other reason that newspaper used to be recommended is that the vinegar and the newsprint together made the windows super shiny. But now newspapers are coated with something to keep the print from coming off on your fingers, and that coating ruins the shiny magic.

    • Newspaper ink is made of oil, unlike past years, that is why it will streak.

  8. I also add the cornstarch (eliminates streaking) it definitely makes it work even better-however you must shake it before each spray which may be hard for your kiddos but otherwise it works better. The recipe also adds rubbing alcohol:
    1/4 cup white vinegar
    1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
    1 T cornstarch
    2 cups water
    Mix and shake each time before using to avoid clogging the sprayer.
    Works better than any commercial spray that I’ve ever used!

    • The Alvin Corn Glass Cleaner Recipe is also the best glass cleaner I have ever used Sara

  9. Katie, you truly are a gem and have become my go-to resource when I need natural living tips (such as toxin-free cleaners) for myself or my clients. Thanks for amassing such a great collection of articles, recipes, and tips!

  10. What about Norwex? Just water and a cloth! What could be easier than that?

  11. I use two microfiber cleaning system by Norwex – one to clean, one to polish – with only water and it works great even for filthy windows. Why would you also use a cleaner, even a natural one? My children do the windows and will sometimes use a spray bottle with water simply because they love spraying it. Otherwise I just wet the cleaning wipe for them at the faucet and off they go!

    I’m going to try the club soda suggestion for my stove top!

    • Yes, the Norwex Envirocloth and Window Cloth are amazing! Just water and anyone can do it. If you wring out the Envirocloth well enough, you don’t even need the Window Cloth. Just let the water dry, it won’t leave marks, streaks or residue.

  12. This is a lazy question. I made my all purpose cleaner with your 50/50 water to vinegar recipe. Does this formula not work as well on glass? Would be nice to just have one spray bottle for surfaces and glass.

  13. Would the vinegar be harmful to tinted windows – finding a decent cleaner for my car that doesn’t streak or kill the tint is almost impossible. Thanks

  14. I fill a small metalic spray bottle with distilled water and add about 10-15 drops of doTERRA Purify essential oil to it. It works great as both a glass cleaner and all purpose cleaner.

  15. First off once I discovered that Windex contains ammonia which kills your white blood cells, I have been telling everyone I know not to use it. So I just mix tea tree oil and water together (can’t stand the smell of vinegar). Or you could just use water!!

  16. Distilled water is best and I use a little bit of rubbing alcohol in the mix, too.

  17. Love your site! In my country we use vodka or distilled spirits called Zivania for windows with newspaper. We don’t have much rain and houses have huge windows and lots of them. Here in the Northeast too much rain makes for too many bugs and their stains come off well. Of course this is not suitable for kids to use, although it evaporates completely and windows will be O.K. To lick!

  18. I use water in a spray bottle and a micro fiber towel from Wal-Mart for $1.98 (+ or -) made specifically for glass. You can find it in the cleaning supplies, mine is blue. It works better than anything I have used!

  19. What kind of vinegar should be used in this application? Distilled white or apple cider?

  20. I do not live in the States and only have access to white wine or red wine vinegar. Does anyone know if these will work just as well? So far I have been using “Alcol” or Alcohol and have found it quite effective.

  21. BEST GLASS CLEANER! I have tried so many DIY recipes, all of them leave trace or have to spend quite a while whipping it down. The secrets of this recipe I think is the amount of water and vinegar together= balance. I just clean my bathroom mirror and is shiny! I used I rug to clean it and remove all the vinegar, and another one to dry it out completely. Also added 15 drops of peppermint EO.
    Five stars!

  22. It’s a tried a true recipe that never should have gone out of vogue! I’ve cleaned with vinegar for years. Its cheap and does a superb job! I mix a few drops of an eco dish liquid into my spray bottle. It also works fabulously on my timber blinds. The more people that see this recipe the less people will visit the cleaning aisle of the supermarket

    • Katie, Water and white vinegar for windows or most cleaning has been around for centuries. Don’t use glass bottles as cleaning can be hazardous and a dropped bottle can be broken and cause injuries. Plastic is fine. Essential oils causes streaking. Vinegar smell dissipates as the window dries. I have always used black print newspaper for drying, although microfiber is neat. The print ink on newspaper makes a beautiful shine on windows as well as being very absorbent. White vinegar only. Apple cider vinegar on some things will stain. I also use this on my black stove top for a shinny finish. This is also great on glass shower door. Spray on prior to shower, Finish your shower then squeegee off walls and door. .I do this about every two weeks and never have a spotted shower door or walls. Great for killing mold in shower corners. 87 yrs. old frugal farmers wife.

  23. I use vodka to make a streak free window cleaner with the same ingredients as above. I found that eucalyptus essential oil mixed with peppermint masks the smell of the vinegar the best.

  24. Ok I’ve read where someone asked if u could use Apple cider vinegar but didn’t see a response. So can u use Apple cider vinegar?

    • I’m honestly not sure but I would think it would leave a slight residue

  25. My suggestion: In preparation of various cleaning solution, instead of pot (drinking) water should be used distilled water. Reasons for this: Drinking water contains dissolved minerals, somewhere between 120 to over 300 mg/L (very hard water). Most of those minerals are reacting with other constituents which are used in DIY cleaning solution. When cleaned surface is dried, those minerals are crystallizing and staying on the surfaces. Some of those newly formed minerals could be wiped out but some of it stays on and accumulate during repeating sequences of cleaning. Just to remind you: Distilled water is de mineralized with zero dissolved and suspended solids and its pH is slightly acidic; between 6 and 6.6 (7.0 is neutral)

  26. I use this and works way better than windex. I don’t put any essential oil though as it leaves an oily streak.

  27. Would these work for eye glasses? Thanks!

  28. Hi! Is this safe for reptile tank cleaning or will it leave a really bad smell in my reptile tank at all because of the vinegar? Thanks!!!

  29. I have always used this – the vinegar smell doesn’t last long, If you use it on the interior car windows, it will take all of the nasty smells out of your car. I used to smoke, and it would even take away that smell.

  30. With all due respect, this recipe doesn’t work. I made a batch and added orange essential oil drops, gave it to my husband to clean the windows of the car. He came back upset saying what the ingredients of “this” are. I said water, vinegar and essential oil, I also added some drops of castile soap as per your advice. He reply to me saying, why you put essential oil in it?, that is obviously he reason why is not cleaning! common sense! I had to agree with him. Threw the batch out and prepared a new one with just castile soap. He came back saying: this one worked well. Leave the essentials oils out of the recipe!

  31. So simple yet so amazing! Decided to stop with the store bought stuff when my 10 month started licking the doors. Now we’re safe and this cleans much better. Lick away little one! One question….Why use a glass bottle?

  32. Katie, I used the cleaning products (glass and surface cleaner) to clean my young boys’ bed room and both times they have had coughing spells for a couple nights to follow. Could it be my EOs? I made the mixture and put it into plastic spray bottles. What could I be doing wrong?

  33. Rose,
    I am no expert… It could be your essential oils, but that may or may not be good. They may have found the oil irritating. And, no doubt, having them cough at night was not helpful for anyone’s sleep!!
    Some oils are decongestants, like eucalyptus, peppermint and rosemary. If the boys were a bit congested, the oils could have induced beneficial coughing. But you probably want them to clear whatever before bedtime! For their room, and everyone’s rest, I would try a oil free batch on their room.
    You can also have them sniff the oil to see if that is what they are responding to. Every human body & reaction is a little different.

  34. its amazing I am no expert… It could be your essential oils, but that may or may not be good. They may have found the oil irritating. And, no doubt, having them cough at night was not helpful for anyone’s sleep!!

  35. After about ten years of (happily) using a recipe similar to this one, I tried the corn starch-vinegar-alcohol recipe (without essential oils), and I found that my windows stayed clean much, much longer. I love the smell of essential oils, but I suspect that they may attract some dirt. Maybe that’s not the key (it could be the alcohol), but in any case, I’m very happy I stumbled upon the alternative because my house is almost all windows, and it’s cut my weekly chore list significantly! The recipe above is certainly healthier than the commercial alternatives, but if you want the most effective, try 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, 1 Tbs (or a bit less) corn starch, with 2 cups warm water.

    • What does the cornstarch do?