A Natural Cleaner that Makes Windows Sparkle

When it comes to cleaning her home, Erin, a contributing editor for Gardenista, likes to take as natural an approach as possible. While she’s been making her own vinegar-based window cleaner for years, she recently discovered the secret ingredient—a pantry staple and an unexpected powerhouse for shine.

Above: A tablespoon of cornstarch is the secret ingredient. Add it to a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar to produce the shiny, streak-free result that is everyone’s goal when it comes to cleaning windows.

Here’s what you’ll need:


To make her glass cleaner, Erin began by juicing half a lemon into a liquid measuring cup. She used a sieve to keep the lemon seeds and pulp out of the cleaner.

Next, she added half a cup of white vinegar and a tablespoon of cornstarch. Use a small whisk to combine the cornstarch into the vinegar. After she thoroughly mixed the cornstarch, vinegar, and lemon juice, Erin added it to an empty vinegar bottle and poured in another 1/2 cup of tap water. She then took the nozzle from an old Biokleen bottle shehad been saving under the kitchen sink.

To clean the windows, crumple up a bit of newspaper. Soy-based inks won’t rub off onto the window (though you might need to wash your hands afterward), and the newspaper doesn’t leave behind flecks of fiber the way a paper towel or cotton rag might. After giving her bottle one last shake to make sure the cornstarch was thoroughly mixed, Erin sprayed the entire surface of our window and used circular motions to apply the cleaner. Be sure to apply a little elbow grease so the solution wipes away to reveal a (near) spotless window.

In the city and anywhere, dirt builds up on window panes quickly, and washing it away makes an impressive difference.

See more Spring Cleaning tips for indoors and out.

Make yourself a Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit.


Josh S.
Josh S.4 years ago

This seems like a pretty tedious and drawn out process just to make a simple window cleaning solution. First of all, the author mentions using a used biokleen bottle - the biokleen dish soap makes a great stand alone window cleaning solution, sometimes using plain old distilled water after cleaning with dish soap, combined with lint free microfiber rags to polish the glass out works great! Fort Worth Window Cleaning

Lois M.
Lois M5 years ago

vinegar and water clean better than anything else I've tried. Clean enough that I don't see the need for cornstarch! But to each...

Jennifer G.
Jennifer G5 years ago

First, I'm not sure you need lemon and cornstarch to clean windows but ok, maybe it cleans better than just vinegar and water. I do know that you do NOT need to buy any special equipment to try this recipe. Strain the lemon through a clean cotton handkerchief, put everything into a clean jar with tight fitting lid and shake until cornstarch is dissolved. Pour into a spray bottle and there you go. What is the point of including links to nearly $50 worth of ridiculously expensive, unnecessary equipment to make a natural window cleaner? Sometimes I just shake my head at the articles at Care2.

Nirvana Jaganath
Nirvana Jaganath5 years ago


Karin J.
Karin J5 years ago

doesn´t sound that expensive or complex to me: that household items or foodstuffs are found in most households. i would only have to shop for the lemon and i am far from being a perfect housewife.

Malgorzata Zmuda
Malgorzata Zmuda5 years ago


Winn Adams
Winn Adams5 years ago


B Jackson
BJ J5 years ago

So much for this author or Care 2 being concerned with recycling, reusing & saving $. Guessing you need to make sure vinegar, lemons, cornstarch & water are organic & from health food store, too.

Mary ann S.
mary ann s5 years ago

Thanks for the tip

Cheryl H.
Cheryl H5 years ago

Yeah, right. I'll run right out and buy all the equipment. What I have read elsewhere is that the first time you use the vinegar and water, it is best to add a few drops of dishwashing liquid to remove any residue if you have been using a pre-made window cleaner. It's that simple! I just remembered, I have been meaning to get to those windows...