How to Make Your Own Non-Toxic Glass Cleaner




About: Whoever first said "sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me" obviously never attended a ninja poetry slam.

So why would someone want to make their own glass cleaner? It won't really save you money, I'm guessing it costs almost exactly the same to buy new versus mixing your own. A local grocery store has new bottles for sale at $0.99. You can buy the needed ingredients for roughly $2.00 and it's enough to make about 2 bottles. You do the math.

There are a few reasons I can think of why it's still worth your time to do this. By knowing all the ingredients, you can assure that you're not disposing of dangerous chemicals into your trash. Re-using the bottle will also mean less trash to dispose of, and even if you recycle, it's still a waste of resources to make it usable again. All "Save the Earth" motives aside, it can be a fun little conversation piece with your friends. And finally, if you have pets or little tykes, I consider this to be a "less-dangerous" cleaner than what you may buy commercially. Knowing the four commonly available ingredients (three of which are consumable) could be resolved easier than trying to pronounce the five-syllable ingredients to a poison-control center employee. To be fair, I haven't tested the effects of drinking this concoction or that of the store bought variety.

This is my first instructable- just don't be an idiot because neither this website or myself are responsible.

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

There are several different "recipes" for creating glass cleaners, this is for a medium strength cleaner. A quick google search will get you an ingredient list for weaker and stronger cleaners. Many of those other cleaners will contain ammonia, and a quick word of caution- it shouldn't be stored near bleach as even the vapors can create a mixture that can kill you. Of course, most of you will know this already. To summarize this thought, if you don't have some basic idea of what you're doing (say, a passing high school chemistry credit) you probably shouldn't be playing around with chemicals anyway. Some other points of caution- if you use stronger chemicals than what I have, you might consider household cleaning gloves and a paper mask.

Okay, here's what you need:

1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 liter water
Capful of lemon juice
(optional) few drops food coloring

Step 2: Mix the Ingredients

Simple enough- I started with some of the water. You don't need bottled water like I used, as you should know most bottled water is really just tap water anyway. If you plan to use the lemon juice or vinegar for human consumption afterwards, make sure not to contaminate it with any of the cleaning chemicals. Separate off the amount you would need before mixing it together. I actually poured some of my vinegar into the half empty water bottle, which I had carefully poured out earlier.

After roughly half the water, add the half cup of rubbing alcohol, then the half cup of vinegar. Then add the other half of the water and finish up by adding a lidful of lemon juice. Unlike my pictures, you should leave a little area of the top not filled. I shake mine up to ensure a good mixture. If you choose to use any food coloring, now is the time to add a few quick drops. I didn't use any, and you can tell the finished mixture appears more greenish than blue.

Step 3: Test Your Cleaner

With your completed mixture, test it out on the glass you want to clean. Look for a somewhat hidden area to start, that way if there is some problem with the mixture you're not going to ruin important parts of the glass.

There are certain eyeglasses, windows, mirrors, and other surfaces that have protective chemical coatings. Keep in mind some chemicals (namely the lemon juice for this mixture) can eat away this and ruin whatever you've tried to clean. You've been warned. Just use common sense, and you should be okay. In fact, that's not a bad policy for most other things too.

This completes my first instructable, I hope you enjoyed it.



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    34 Discussions


    Reply 3 years ago

    Is this a question or a statement? For the record, it cleans the glass very well.

    heh heh well mustard is an oily, volatile liquid, (ClCH2CH2)2S, that is corrosive to the skin and mucous membranes and causes severe, sometimes fatal respiratory damage. It was introduced in World War I as a chemical warfare agent and chlorine is chlorine is a halogen element, a heavy, greenish-yellow, incombustible, water-soluble, poisonous gas that is highly irritating to the respiratory organs both act in the same way 2 differrent chemicals mustard blisters the skin so bad and chlorine chokes chloring is less effective on its own they mixed it with mustard and then its work better because the soldier would take off his mask and seek treatment but chlorine would kill them then the developement of diphenylcyanoarsine came into play as a vomiting agent chlorine and mustard were tosed out and they began to use phosogene and then mixed it with diphenylcyanoarsine (dc) and chemical warfare gas/gasmask dreadlock was broken again

    Bog, but do I love organic chemists! Thanks mate, you've provided me with recreational research for the afternoon!


    Ammonium chloride gas to be precise,and it'll sting your eyes,kill your sense of smell for a few hours and KILL YOU IF YOU BREATHE IT ENOUGH.

    This is very important, ammonia and bleach do not create tear gas! Tear gas is a powder dispersed in an arisol form, bleach and ammonia creates mustard gas, which will KILL you if you inhale it, it will burn your eyes and your lungs it is very dangerous, in fact they used it in WWI. Never mix bleach and ammonia or any product containing either chemical.

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    About 15-20 years ago Consumer Reports rated glass cleaners and diy cleaners like vinegar. They also gave a recipe of their own which I have used ever since. I don't know if they still recommend it or not. It is very economical even considering the cost of rubbing alcohol these days. Recipe: 1 person with common sense (my addition). 1/2 cup sudsy ammonia (NEVER USE WITH BLEACH!!!!) 1 pint rubbing alcohol 1 tsp dishwashing liquid enough water to make a gallon. Again DO NOT MIX WITH BLEACH - makes chlorine gas.

    3 replies

    depends did you brethe it and i cant remember if it makes chlorine,hydrogen cyanide,hydrazaine,or pure hydrogen gas but all of them are poisionous


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I've been using a recipe like yours with similar proportions for 5-6 years now. With this and a squeegee, the windows are easy to clean. I also use it as a general-purpose cleaner for many things.