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The Right Way to Clean Windows with Vinegar

The Right Way to Clean Windows with Vinegar

Q: I can’t seem to clean windows with vinegar without leaving streaks. Any suggestions? –Pat B., NY

A: Oddly enough, it was the task of cleaning windows that
turned a huge number of well-intentioned, environmentally
friendly consumers away from non-toxic cleaning using the
simple ingredients that can be found in most kitchen cupboards.
Around Earth Day 1990, every newspaper in the country
(or so it seemed), offered tips for cleaning in ways that didn’t
harm the planet, and the recommendation for windows was
almost always to clean them with nothing but vinegar and water.
People by the thousands tried this, and many swore off cleaning
with homemade products for good because the formula left
streaks on their windows. (I wish I had $1 for every time
someone has said to me, “Well, I tried non-toxic cleaning and it
didn’t work. I used vinegar to clean the windows …”)

The problem was that the commercial window cleaner used before the switch to vinegar left a very fine wax residue. The vinegar alone wasn’t enough to remove it, and the result was streaky windows. If instead, everyone had added a dab of liquid dish soap to the vinegar and water, the wax would easily have been removed and the windows would have been cleaned perfectly!

My favorite recipe is to combine 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar, and up to 1/2 teaspoon of liquid soap or detergent in a spray bottle. That’s all there is to it. (Make sure to label the bottle and keep it out of the reach of children.)

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


+ add your own
2:49AM PDT on Apr 12, 2014

Thanks for uploading

12:58AM PDT on Apr 11, 2014

loved it

12:26AM PDT on Apr 11, 2014

Mzing work

4:44AM PDT on Apr 4, 2014

nice thanks

9:28PM PST on Nov 10, 2013

All depends on how dirty the Windows are but it does work just make sure that you have a cloth to clean and go over it with a micro fiber cloth you might find you may need to clean it twice

4:50AM PDT on May 30, 2013

I am off to try

5:47PM PDT on May 8, 2013

thank you

10:45AM PDT on May 8, 2013

Glad to know why I left streaks and how to get rid of them. Thanks!

6:02AM PDT on May 5, 2013

Like the Idea

4:04AM PDT on May 5, 2013


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