Cleaning windows with vinegar is an economical and practical alternative to traditional cleaners. A basic staple found in 90% of US households, vinegar costs much less, ounce per ounce, than commercial cleaners. Specifically, a one-gallon jug of white distilled vinegar is roughly equivalent in price to a one-quart bottle of commercial window cleaner. And it’s not just cheap; vinegar has a long history as a household cleaner. Vinegar is mildly acidic, containing about 4 to 8% acetic acid. It can cut grease and dissolve buildup, thus easily removing fingerprints, smears and hard water stains on glass. Vinegar’s acidity also gives it disinfectant properties; it is known to destroy bacteria and mold. Finally, because it is non-toxic, vinegar is a safe and environmentally friendly cleaning agent. To get started cleaning your windows with vinegar, follow one of the recipes below.
Window Cleaning Recipes
To make a basic window cleaner, mix ¼ cup of white vinegar with two quarts of water. Keep this mixture in a spray bottle and use as you would commercial glass cleaner.
A vinegar and cornstarch solution can also be used for cleaning glass. Combine 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and ½ cup white vinegar with a gallon of water.
If glass is particularly dirty, make a solution of 2 cups water, 3 tablespoons white vinegar, and ½ teaspoon liquid dish soap. Shake well to combine. This mixture is also helpful for removing waxy residue left behind by commercial cleaning products, so you may wish to use it when first switching to homemade window cleaner.
Window Cleaning Tips
The ratio of vinegar to water can be altered according to preference or to make a stronger solution for use on dirtier glass. Common recipes call for anywhere from 2 tablespoons per quart of water to a mix of half vinegar, half water.
Stubborn hard water residue on glass can be removed using undiluted vinegar.
Using crumpled newsprint to wipe the glass clean will give you streak-free results. Paper coffee filters also work well. For a non-disposable option, use a soft, lint-free cloth.
Always label your bottles of homemade window cleaner and any other homemade cleaning products.
“HeinzÂ® All Natural Vinegars – Vinegar Uses, Vinegar Recipes and Vinegar Tips.” HeinzÂ® All Natural Vinegar – Vinegar Uses, Vinegar Recipes and Vinegar Tips. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2010. http://www.heinzvinegar.com/faq.aspx.
“Cleaning Products.” Ontario Ministry of the Environment. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2010. www.ene.gov.on.ca/en/myenvironment/home/cleaningproducts.php.