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The Best Way to Clean Windows Without Streaks

Learn the best way to clean windows without streaks, including our favorite DIY vinegar glass cleaner recipe.

Your windows will be sparkling clean and no time, and best of all, the cleaning solution and supplies are completely eco-friendly!

We love making our own nontoxic cleaners, like our homemade liquid plumber, dishwasher rinse aid and lemon orange peel and vinegar cleaner.

A woman cleaning a window with DIY vinegar window cleaner.

“I am thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning and gutters that need fixing because it means I have a home…. I am thankful for the piles of laundry and ironing because it means my loved ones are nearby.”

~ Nancie J. Carmody

Spring has sprung, and while some of us no longer adhere to the whole-house spring cleaning rituals of our grandparents’ generation I do notice that winter has taken its toll on our windows.

Professional window cleaning can sometimes be quite expensive. Instead, you can wash your own windows with materials you probably already have around the house — and pocket the savings.

Here’s the formula:

Homemade Vinegar Glass Cleaner Recipe

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap (this tiny amount helps get the windows really clean)
  • spray bottle
  • newspapers
  • sponge or rag
  • dishwashing or work gloves (optional)

Combine the water, vinegar and dishwashing soap and pour the mixture in the spray bottle.

If there are odd bits of crud on the windows, use a wet sponge to gently remove them.

If you don’t want to get newsprint on your hands, now’s the time to don the rubber gloves.

Fold two pieces of newspaper into a paper towel-sized rectangle, and fold in half. (In case you’re wondering, newspaper is the perfect medium for washing windows because the newsprint’s slightly abrasive texture gets the glass squeaky clean.)

Spray some of the cleaner on the windows and use a horizontal stroke to wipe down the outside of the windows.

Switch to a vertical stroke for the inside of the windows and continue cleaning. Avoid the window frames, because newsprint can sometimes leave a mark on the frames.

Keep a sponge or rag handy to wipe the window sill and catch drips. When the newspaper becomes dirty and soaked, put it in the recycling bin and grab a fresh piece.

Check your work; horizontal streaks mean you need to go over the outside, and vertical streaks mean you need to go over the inside.

With a little elbow grease, your windows will soon be sparkling and streak-free!

About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites and 101 Things To Do With Bacon. She shares ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, time and money. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

17 thoughts on “The Best Way to Clean Windows Without Streaks”

  1. Thanks for the tip. I’ve been looking for ways to start making my own cleaning products. Thats what my green change is next week!

  2. I have started washing my windows again now that spring is here!

    Last year I bought the some special microfibre clothes for window cleaning – they were quite expensive (£10 i.e. $20) but they had been highly recommended to me – the window cloth cleans the glass just using warm water, and the polishing cloth gives dries and polishes it.

    The only downside is that the polishing cloth gets quite damp and doesn’t work so well after a few windows so I can’t do all the windows in one day!

  3. My husband has been looking for a window squeegie cleaner, but can’t seem to find one. He’s the one who cleans our windows around here (thank goodness!) But thanks for these tips, I might just have to pass them along. 😉

    • I think it’s lovely that your husband washes the windows! But are you sure “I can’t seem to find a squeegee” isn’t an excuse? Ha ha! Just kidding. 😉

  4. Good luck – I wish I had a recipe for motivation! Maybe you should reward yourself with something wonderful after you tackle the windows. Chocolate, maybe? 🙂

  5. This is exactly the way my mother taught me to wash windows. Through the years I’ve tried other “store” brands of window cleaners and they never work as well. Thank you!

  6. What a great site! Thanks for all the valuable information. We have been cleaning windows in Roanoke VA for over 20 years, so if you ever need any window cleaning article ideas or guest blogging expertise, please don’t hesitate to ask!

  7. I have a great idea instead of newspaper. My friend has used cloth baby diapers to clean everything with as it does not leave lint and you can re-use them hence eco friendly.

  8. Pingback: Day 13 of the January Money Diet – Repurpose Something | Happy Simple Living
  9. Eliza, thanks for this helpful post on window cleaning and home care. You have a lovely blog! For exterior windows, you may need more cleaning power via a stronger detergent solution or simply call in the pros to help with the outside.

  10. There is just nothing more gratifying than learning to maintain your home by simply doing it yourself. What a great window cleaning recipe. Great job!

  11. Just going to begin using vinegar because I cant take the harsh fumes from store bought cleaners anymore…seems vinegar is whats hot right now…hope it works for me


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