Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe

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About: 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 from Parsons School of Design in NYC. Since then I've done work for Mart...

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

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 cup rubbing alcohol

2 tbsp corn starch

4 cups warm water

Step 2: 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!

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!

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    40 Discussions

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    windoz

    1 year ago

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

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    odellkevin

    2 years ago

    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

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    donna taj

    2 years ago

    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.

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    balexan7

    2 years ago

    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***.

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    DonSteve

    2 years ago

    Why use corn starch instead of borax or baking soda?

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    dustyhoffsky

    3 years ago

    Here is the function of the cornstarch:

    (from: http://wholenewmom.com/whole-new-budget/homemade-...

    "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.

    4 replies
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    windozdustyhoffsky

    Reply 2 years ago

    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.

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    windozdustyhoffsky

    Reply 2 years ago

    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!! ;-)

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    yrralguthriewindoz

    Reply 2 years ago

    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!

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    blueye81

    2 years ago

    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.

    250px-Sinnerscher_Kreis.png
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    vincent7520

    4 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    5 replies
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    Pinklyvincent7520

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    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.

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    windozPinkly

    Reply 2 years ago

    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.

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    dsantil71Pinkly

    Reply 3 years ago

    not as long as it's mixed well

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    gravityisweak

    4 years ago

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