Introduction: Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe

Picture of Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe

Fact: I having a sensitive sniffer. This makes using ammonia based window cleaners a tough go. That's why I was so happy to find that a natural homemade glass cleaner works just as well (if not better) than the commercial stuff. AND it's waayy cheaper. My whole bottle of homemade window cleaner (including the bottle itself) cost me $1.50. And filling it up again will cost approximately $0.50. Both my nose and my wallet are fans of this.

So let's get started on this super simple, all natural, money saving recipe!

Step 1: All Natural Glass Cleaner Recipe

Picture of All Natural Glass Cleaner Recipe

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup rubbing alcohol

2 tbsp corn starch

4 cups warm water

Step 2: Mix & Shake

Picture of Mix & Shake

Place a small funnel in the top of a clean, empty spray bottle. (I bought mine at a dollar store)

Pour in all the ingredients (warm water last) and replace the nozzle top. Screw it on tightly.

Mix it all together by shaking the bottle vigorously up and down 5-6 times.

And that's it! There's just one more step before your cleaner is ready to use...

Step 3: Label Your Bottle!

Picture of Label Your Bottle!

So that everyone in the house knows what's in there, it would be a good idea to label your spray bottle using a permanent marker or sticker label. Safety first!

Happy cleaning!


windoz (author)2017-06-18

I think this is like writing about 'Big time wrestling' or body suppliments; SO many opinions, yet very few of them may be right!

odellkevin (author)2016-08-23

Just as an FYI, because most spray bottles, at least in the U.S. are
32 ounces, the above recipe makes too much. If you want to make this to
go into a 32 ounce bottle, use these proportions:

3 cups water

1.5 tablespoons cornstarch

6 tablespoons alcohol

6 tablespoons vinegar

donna taj (author)2016-08-21

I have been using this for about a month now and I think it is great. I was really skeptical but I gave it a try and I really like it. It really cleans the glass with no streaking. My only issue with the recipe is it makes more than 32 oz. I had extra that I could not get into my spray bottle.

balexan7 (author)2016-07-07

You'd be wise to check your facts before dissing on someone. True, it isn't the hydrogen that bonds. It is the hydrogen in one molecule bonding with the oxygen in another, ad nauseum. This is called a hydrogen bond, so thus the confusion. Also, you're right about soap breaking the surface tension of water, which then allows it to clean surfaces by bringing the dirt along with it when it is washed or wiped away.

Otherwise, the WATER sticking to WATER (E.g. Surface tension) is why we need something to break the bond.

Congrats on the business. Congrats on the secret formula. But next time, don't assume you know everything. Otherwise, you come off sounding like a d***.

DonSteve (author)2016-07-06

Why use corn starch instead of borax or baking soda?

dustyhoffsky (author)2015-10-09

Here is the function of the cornstarch:


"On a microscopic level, glass is not perfectly smooth. When you spray
water on it, the water molecules get caught in the pits on the glass
surface. Water also clings to itself through hydrogen bonding – the
hydrogen atoms from two molecules cling together. Water stuck in the
glass + water stuck to more water = streaking. Cornstarch (or dish soap
or oil-even a couple drops of essential oil) disrupts the hydrogen
bonding, thus preventing streaks!"

I think this is similar to how soap works in general, it breaks the natural surface tension of water so it will have better contact with the surface to be cleaned.

windoz (author)dustyhoffsky2016-07-05

Your wrong about water molecules getting caught in the pits and the hydrogen bonding is hogwash. Glass is microscopically irregular, but basically, it is hydrophobic; water tends to bead on it. Detergent or soap break the surface tension of the water, acting as a wetting agent, allowing the water to fully contact the surface. This is the lions' share of the cleaning effect.

I quickly learned, and this was fortified with a lot of emperical observation that most people make more work for themselves (perhaps intentionally in my former trade) by using the wrong cleaning solution.

windoz (author)dustyhoffsky2015-12-28

I founded and ran my own window cleaning business for 12 years. Cornstarch and water in the proper proportions will create a 'non-Newtonian' liquid; it has properties of a liquid and a solid depending on how it is treated. As to it's function as a cleaner, I can only believe it might act as a mild abrasive as a window cleaner. I think the rest is hogwash.

The problem with cleaners like 'Windex' is they have chemicals So corrosive that they actually can etch the glass. This is certainly true of their earlier formulas as they had phosphates in them. Phosphate residue would remain on the glass surface, and in conjunction with concentration from evaporation and heat, would do a number on the glass. You should be able to take a soft cloth on clean unetched glass and it should glide as if you were wiping a waxed car. The little kicker about phosphates is they do such a great job keeping dirt in suspension that window cleaners could be using filthy looking water and still 'clean' the glass, but would leave this nasty residue that actually ATTRACTED dirt. Anodizing off of aluminum framed windows would come right off the underside where droplets would hang, dry, and concentrate.

Ok, enough of my lecture on that!

I developed a very good glass cleaner that worked better than anything I had ever used on the market, and made it available in a trigger spray formula to my customers. I intended to go into larger production with that, so I can't reveal that formula, but I will still offer a formula that will keep the glass cleaner longer than most off-the-shelf products.

In a gallon of water:

-12 drops of Dawn Free and Clear (Home Cheapo carries it for just under 2 bucks a bottle)

- ONE tablespoon of ammonia (just enough to raise the ph a bit to keep organics from growing in the bottle, and enhance the cleansing action.

Dawn does a great job of suspending and sequestering grease and dirt, and if you use clean cloths, will keep your windows (that don't receive handprints) surprisingly clean for quite a while. It is cheap to make and VERY effective.

I could tell you my REAL secrets to my formula, but if I told you, I'd have to kill you!! ;-)

yrralguthrie (author)windoz2016-07-05

Don't need your secret formula. The recipe works really well. If you add a few tablespoons of dawn to the mixture it will get the crud off shower glass with virtually no scrubbing. Have to use dawn, not something else. The dawn mixture will kill ants on contact. It doesn't keep them from coming back, but if you have ants on a table or counter you are eating off of or preparing food from the mixture will kill the ants without harming the food. Don't spay it directly on the food!

Gadget93 (author)dustyhoffsky2015-11-12

Wow! That is fascinating information. Thankyou.

blueye81 (author)2016-02-27

My two cents: According to the "Sinner Circle" (Sinnerscher Kreis), cleaning can be divided in four parts, every part influences the other ones: chemistry (use of detergents), mechanical work (the annoying part), temperature and time. I use 3 cloth of microfiber and ordinary glass cleaner (sometimes some spiritus added). One cloth = rough dirt (especially outside windows), one wiping dry and the last one polish. More mechanical work, but windows look fine.

vincent7520 (author)2014-03-18

Vinegar has been a recipe for cleaning windows as long as it's existence (or rather as long as glass window existed - lol - ) This is so much part of the "housewife culture" as they say in the marketing industry that one major brand did revive it in a new product and I worked with them to launch it about 24 years ago.

So you did the right thing !!…

They also used whitewash in the old days. Sometimes it is still used in some restaurants' windows to post the to day's special dish.

However I just can't figure out what starch (corn or any other) adds to the mixture.

By the way, I'm sure that we all have zillions of old recipes from our great-grand mothers that are just waiting to be updated for our greater benefit : we are surrounded by so many gadgets that do not perform well what they're advertised to do !!!… This could make an Instructables section as much as "Workshop" or "Arduino" and most others …

As for window cleaning, a bunch of newspaper with this homemade window cleaner works as well as a cloth bought at the supermarket !… (Unless you're like me and clean your windows not even once a year, but that's another story and please do not tell anyone !… … lol)

Thanks for posting anyway ! We do need more no nonsense solutions as this one.

Pinkly (author)vincent75202014-03-20

Yup. I remember my grandmother using newspaper along with her homemade glass cleaner concoction to clean her windows. Worked great. 'Course newspapers are slowly going bye-bye, so we'll have to use something else eventually.

windoz (author)Pinkly2015-12-28

Newspapers worked well because of the coarseness of the paper in conjunction with the acidity of the ink and the chemicals used to make the paper, but a messy and laborious prospect for anyone cleaning windows professionally. Even newspapers have gone to a soy-based ink that is not as nearly acidic as it's predecessors.

Anarchaic (author)Pinkly2014-03-20

An Ipad perhaps?

vincent7520 (author)Anarchaic2014-03-20

Hey !!… You stole my answer !!!… ;)))

JRPeyesatsne (author)vincent75202014-04-07

Phone books! They're always given away free, yet no one wants or uses them.

Pinkly (author)2014-03-20

Any chance the corn starch will clog the nozzle eventually?

dsantil71 (author)Pinkly2015-01-23

not as long as it's mixed well

gravityisweak (author)2014-03-18

I was wondering what the corn starch does as well. Scrubbing action maybe? Whats the difference in cleaning results if you dont add it?

Orngrimm (author)gravityisweak2014-03-18

Starch may act as a thickener so the mixture does not run off this fast because if foams more?

I have no idea but thats what my physics- and chemical-knowhow tell me (as electronic engineer. May not be much but still...)

Orngrimm (author)Orngrimm2014-03-18

and use cornstarch. the later one tells "

“What the …. cornstarch?” you ask.

“Yes,” I reply. “Cornstarch.”

It’s absolutely, without a doubt the secret ingredient to clean,
shiny, amazing mirrors (and windows, I’m sure). I kinda freaked out a
little at the effectiveness of this one."


dsantil71 (author)Orngrimm2015-01-23

it might work like baking soda does as a mild abrasive to help clean.

d_j_h (author)Orngrimm2014-03-20

Cornstarch, or cornflour as we call it, is extremely fine and slightly abrasive, which is perfect for cleaning glass. Of course you have to buff it off or you'll have a residue. But being so fine makes it easy to buff.

coolatta (author)2014-03-20

Is this mixture ok to use in an automotive washer system?

JRPeyesatsne (author)coolatta2014-04-07

Maybe, but I wouldn't recommend using it anywhere outside of the tropics. Washer fluid for cars must never freeze, or it will ruin your washer pump. Not a major fix by any means, but much more expensive than simply buying the right stuff to begin with.

blackweb (author)2014-03-26

Vinegar and water with uncool urged newspaper is all you need. Ammonia is just terrible stuff for you and the en ironment

dlwebbok (author)2014-03-21

If you don't have newspaper, clean coffee filters work great.

platdujour (author)2014-03-21

Can you buy rubbing alcohol in the UK?

Cueball21 (author)2014-03-20

I have used equal parts of household ammonia and rubbing alcohol with filtered water equal to both those parts for many years. A drop of dishwashing liquid in a gallon is OK, but don't use it if making less than that amount. I use filtered water or distilled water because out local water sometimes isn't clean enough.

I don't understand what he corn starch adds to the process.

I use newsprint - but not colored inks - to scrub and to polish glass after spraying with my mixture. I keep spray bottles in all the vehicles and always have some in the laundry supplies.

Africorn (author)Cueball212014-03-20

"Fact: I having a sensitive sniffer. This makes using ammonia based window cleaners a tough go." And if you DO use ammonia, a VERY little goes a long way.

Africorn (author)Cueball212014-03-20

"Fact: I having a sensitive sniffer. This makes using ammonia based window cleaners a tough go." And if you DO use ammonia, a VERY little goes a long way.

jack ruby (author)2014-03-20

You should probably use distilled water - it won't leave any hard water spots or streaks.

Africorn (author)jack ruby2014-03-20

The vinegar would take care of any hardness in the water. No need to make it more expensive than it has to be...

rodrigo G (author)2014-03-20

Vinegar stinks. I would try with citric acid, extracted from lemon or orange..

El vinagre tiene mal olor , no me gustaria encontrarme con ese olor en la casa, el acido citrico no tiene olor.

bonymorales (author)2014-03-20

It's a great idea, and helps to conserve our environment.

ppowell14 (author)2014-03-20

Nice! - what does the corn starch do? won't it leave a film on the glass?

Syx (author)2014-03-20

I have always just used a spritz of neat white vinegar... will give this a go!

camaro_19_67 (author)2014-03-20

I have made a similar mixture for the past 10 years to use in automotive detailing but there is no need for the cornstarch. I do add ammonia which assists in cleaning. The mixture is streak free (if you use clean towels) and it doesn't fog as easy. When using the mixture you don't have to use very much to do the job. Just one spray from the bottle usually does the trick for a car side glass and two per side on the windshield and rear glass. It works great for a quick cleaning of light dust on the paint also.

Uncle Kudzu (author)2014-03-17

I'm intrigued! So the corn starch doesn't leave a residue?

About This Instructable




Bio: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a BFA in product design ... More »
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