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How to Clean Windows with Vinegar

How to Clean Windows with Vinegar

If you have tried to clean your windows with plain vinegar and gotten streaks, there is a simple reason and an easy remedy.

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 my 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.)

Read more: Home, Non-Toxic Cleaning, ,

By Annie B. Bond

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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.

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Better Basics for the Home

Natural living has reached the mainstream: we are now far more concerned about the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the chemicals that surround us, and recognize that government regulations all too often fall short of safeguarding our health. Enter Annie Berthold-Bond, whose Better Basics for the Home is a compendium of practical information -- recipes, tips, and guidelines -- for creating a simpler, cheaper and environmentally safer now


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4:38AM PST on Nov 26, 2013


7:31AM PDT on Oct 1, 2013


5:06AM PDT on Sep 29, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

5:11AM PDT on Sep 18, 2013

Worth a try

7:06AM PDT on Aug 24, 2013

I agree with Jared, newspapers make a terrible mess.

1:47AM PDT on Aug 17, 2013


11:54AM PDT on Aug 5, 2013

Thank you.

4:37AM PDT on Jul 26, 2013

Thank you

9:15PM PDT on Jun 18, 2013

Did you know that Avon Bubble Bath is great for washing glass and windows? It is effective for using as you would any other liquid soap. Avon bubble bath makes glass sparkle. - Chen Salis

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Have a super day!!

7:18AM PDT on Jun 14, 2013

Vinegar can work ok, but I would only recommend it for spot cleaning. If you use it on windows where a lot of sun shines through you will normally notice smears and streaks. The hands down best and fastest way of cleaning windows is with a google old fashion squeegee.

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Thanks for new recipes.

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