Cleaning your windows can be a chore, but it can also brighten up your home considerably and make you less likely to want to keep your blinds closed all the time. Commercial window cleaners can be filled with a lot of harsh chemicals that aren’t good for your skin or the environment. Thankfully, DIY window cleaners are easy to make with ingredients you probably already have. Here are 7 weird but effective cleaners for windows.
That’s right, if your windows are not too dirty or grimy, you really don’t need to use any cleaner at all. Just make sure and use lint-free cloths or rags for a streak-free shine. If you don’t have clothes or rags, newspaper also works effectively. You’ll go through a lot of paper towels cleaning your windows and paper towels often leave a trail of lint behind, so try newspaper for a streak (and lint) free shine!
Plain white vinegar will cut through dirt and grime just as quickly and easily as any commercial window cleaner. Just mix equal parts vinegar and water, pour into a spray bottle and use as you would any other type of window cleaner. If you also want to add a natural, fresh scent to your home while you are cleaning your windows, you can also drop in a few drops of orange or lemon essential oil. The citrus oil will also help further cut through grease and grime in addition to making your home smell heavenly.
- Corn Starch
Streaky windows are the worst and they can cause almost as much aggravation as dirty windows. Corn starch helps to keep soapy residue from sticking to your windows, making it easier to achieve a streak-free shine. To make a window cleaner using cornstarch, fill a gallon bucket with water and mix in 3 tablespoons of cornstarch and 1/2 cup of vinegar. Apply to windows and wipe dry.
If you have thick layers of accumulated dirt and grime on your windows, you will need a stronger cleaner to cut through it all. Ammonia is one of the primary ingredients in most commercial window cleaners, but you don’t have to buy a commercial window cleaner with a lot of added chemicals to get the super-charged cleaning power of ammonia. Just mix half a cup of ammonia with two cups of surgical spirits (“rubbing alcohol” in the US) in eight cups of warm water. You will also want to drop in a few drops of dishwashing liquid, but make sure it is plain dishwashing liquid with no moisturizers or “oxygenating action.” The additional ingredients in these liquids will leave streaks on your windows.
Borax is another powerful cleaner that can help naturally cut through thick layers of dirt and grime but doesn’t have the same strong scent of ammonia. If you use borax, however, you will need to actually wash your windows twice. Once to remove the dirt and grime and once to clean up all of the residual streaks. To wash windows using borax, mix 2 tablespoons of borax in 3 cups of water. Apply the solution to windows and wipe clean. Then follow up with vinegar and water or cornstarch solution.
As windows age, they can develop fine scratches where the wind has hurled dust and debris. Vinegar will generally clean away most hard water spots, but for really stubborn ones, you may also need to use a toothpaste treatment. Toothpaste contains a super-fine grit that will polish out the scratches in your windows and leave them clear and sparkling clean. Just make sure it is the old-fashioned white paste and not a gel. Using a clean rag, apply the toothpaste to the window or affected area using a small circular motion, like you would waxing or buffing a car. Once you have applied the toothpaste, you can use another clean cloth to wipe it away, leaving your windows crystal clear and scratch-free.
- Oven cleaner with lye
If you’re trying to go the all-natural route or avoid harsh chemicals, then oven cleaner may not be the right solution for you. If you want a quick and easy way to get rid of the film that accumulates on old windows, however, oven cleaner might be right for you. Just spray it on your windows, let it sit for 15-20 minutes, then wipe away. Just like cleaning your oven, however, if you are going to go this route you’ll want to be sure and wear gloves.
If you want the easiest and most painless solution to clean windows, or for help cleaning hard-to-reach windows, visit https://thistlewindowcleaning.com.au/.