How to Make Your Own Streak-Free Homemade Window Cleaner Using Basic Household Ingredients

Stephanie Shaykin
Updated June 29, 2021
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Homemade glass cleaner is an easy DIY project that will only take you minutes using basic ingredients and a few simple steps

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Window cleaning is a necessary chore, but it doesn't have to be unpleasant. With the right supplies and some easy-to-follow steps, you can make streak-free homemade window cleaner that will leave your windows clean and sparkling, with no need for scrubbing or harsh chemicals.

Project difficulty score out of five: 0/5

Time needed to complete the project: 5 minutes

Tools and Materials for Making Homemade Glass Cleaner

  • Spray bottle

  • Funnel (optional)

  • 0.25 cup white vinegar

  • 0.5 tsp liquid dish soap

  • 2 cups of warm water

  • 10–15 drops of essential oils (optional)

  • Microfiber cloth

  • Cotton swabs

Step 1: Gather Your Household Ingredients

We find that the best ingredients for this DIY solution come from your kitchen. For example, regular white vinegar's acidity cuts through dirt and grease to easily remove stuck-on debris and streaks with ease. 

A clean, empty spray bottle will help you avoid any possible reactions from residual chemicals. 

If you plan on using the same cleaner over and over, make sure to label it accordingly. And remember that vinegar can damage surfaces such as marble, granite, slate, and tile. So be sure to keep this cleaner clear of any natural stone or other susceptible surfaces.

Step 2: Add Ingredients to Warm Water and Mix Thoroughly

To make a homemade window cleaner, mix 0.25 cup vinegar and 0.5 tsp. liquid dish soap in two cups of warm water in a sprayer. Shake the mixture vigorously to incorporate. 

Note: it helps to add all ingredients using a funnel—no mess or stress!

If you don’t have white vinegar on hand, you can replace it with the same amount (0.25 cup) of lemon juice. Like distilled white vinegar, citrus varieties are strongly acidic and clean grease and grime off glass.

Step 3: Add an (Optional) Scent Booster for an Even Fresher-Smelling Home

Vinegar is a great all-purpose cleaner, but the strong smell might not be for everyone. Fortunately, you can mask the vinegar scent with essential oils in your spray bottle mixture. Add about 10–15 drops of any type to enjoy a more customizable scent to your home.

Step 4: Clean Your Glass Surfaces With a Microfiber Cloth

Spot-free cleaning is essential for glass surfaces like windows, mirrors, and shower doors. 

Start by making sure your cleaning cloths are totally clean before use on glass surfaces. Use microfiber ones, which are often used for cleaning cars or other greasy surfaces, to ensure you achieve the ultimate streak-free shine. Paper towels and rags leave behind residue that can distort the finish on your otherwise clean window.

Follow this process for surefire shiny results:

  • Spray solution from top to bottom to avoid streaks. 

  • Give your homemade cleaner about 30 seconds to soak in and do its thing. 

  • Next, it’s time to work those triceps and scrub the surface with a microfiber cloth. 

  • Finally, clean any cracks and crevices with a cotton swab, and if you’re up for it, tackle the grime that tends to get left behind in window tracks

  • Gaze out your crystal-clear window with a sense of accomplishment.

  • Going forward, don’t forget to inspect your windows now and then.

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Why Use These Ingredients?

If you’re eco-conscious, want to avoid harsh chemicals or save money, these ingredients check all the boxes when it comes to creating a homemade cleaning solution.

Vinegar

White vinegar is easy to find in the grocery store near the cooking oils and spices. It cleans through grime on your windows and helps dissolve the bonds between glass and things like bird droppings or dead bugs (eww).

If you're in a pinch, lemon juice can be a possible replacement for vinegar. When cleaning glass surfaces, the acidity of lemon juice can help break down grime as white vinegar does. The citric acid in lemon juice is stronger than the acetic acid found in vinegar, but you will see the same results with both products.

Note that apple cider vinegar, while a good substitute in many homemade recipes, will not yield streak-free windows. It contains pectin, which can cause streaks on the coatings of glass and mirrors. So, keep the ACV in your salad dressing and off your windows.

Dish Soap

Cleaning windows with water alone will require a lot of water and leave you very wet. Not only do you have dirt and grime to contend with, but things like air pollution can coat your exterior windows.

Enter dish soap to save the day. Dish detergent helps separate and rinse dirt from greasy surfaces. In this cleaning solution recipe, soap helps avoid streaks on windows.

Essential Oils

Some essential oils, such as tea tree oil, may work as natural disinfectants. It may be possible to add the oil to a cleaning solution and do double duty, both getting rid of unpleasant smells and fighting germs.

Hot Water

The warmer the water, the better the clean. However, you can get by with water at room temperature as well.

Cost of Window Cleaning Materials Made at Home vs. Professional Window Cleaning

Of course, making your own window cleaner is rewarding in itself. The natural ingredients will give you peace of mind, not to mention extra cash in your pocket. And if you already have the ingredients available at home, that's even better!

Cost of Homemade Glass Cleaner Materials

The cost to make window cleaner at home comes in at a low price, but may vary depending on how much of the materials you need to purchase. The cost of distilled white vinegar can average $1.50 per 64 fluid ounces. The average cost of 32-ounce dish soap can range from $2 to $4, depending on the brand. 

You can find a spray bottle and microfiber cloths for about $1 per piece. And essential oils, an optional choice, can cost anywhere from $9 to $30, depending on the ingredients in the oil you select.

Expect to pay anywhere from $5.50 to $30 in total, with luxe essential oils driving up the high end of the price range. 

On the flip side, a 23-ounce bottle of store-bought ammonia-based glass cleaner can cost around $3, most of which goes toward packaging and water.

The Cost of Hiring a Professional Window Cleaner

The average cost of cleaning one windowpane ranges from $4 to $11, with an average cost of $5.

Window cleaning costs an average of $213, with smaller jobs starting at about $80. Larger homes with many windows in hard-to-reach places can cost up to $421.

How Professional Window Cleaners Price Services

Window cleaning services have a wide variety of options that vary according to your windows’ condition, type, and size.

If you have hard-to-reach areas around the home, you should hire professionals for window cleaning. Save the DIY for another day and allow someone with tools and experience to tackle it for you.

While it is possible to wash your own windows, the cost of buying supplies for extensive projects may make it more expensive than hiring a professional. If you are not tall enough to clean from high up on a ladder or unwilling to risk doing so with potentially dangerous tools, calling in a pro may be the better option.

Plus, if you already have a regular cleaning service, you might get your windows cleaned at the price of housekeeping services.

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