Homemade Glass Cleaner

These homemade glass cleaner suggestions are anecdotal in nature. Please read our disclaimer.

Starting with a
Homemade Spray Bottle

I live in an area where we have a toll bridge. The dollar store is across that bridge and it costs $5.00 to get there.  I needed a bottle and the math didn't work out to spend $5 in tolls and who knows what on gas, so I just improvised.

And in addition, if I wanted to make the glass cleaner that has rubbing alcohol, I couldn't use an old bottle from a commercial cleaning product because the rubbing alcohol has a chance of reacting with residues from the previous cleaner. 

Here is my solution.  Use the empty vinegar bottle and attach a spray nozzle. Done deal!

Here are my favorite recipes and some notes that you might find helpful.

homemade glass cleaner

Glass Cleaner #1 - Simple

  • 1 1/2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup distilled water
  • 8 d. lemon essential oil

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake before use.

Glass Cleaner #2 - Cornstarch Added

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch 
  • 2 cups water
  • 8-10 d. any citrus essential oil of your choice

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake before use.

Glass Cleaner #3 - Easy Ingredients

  • 1/2 tsp. clear liquid soap
  • 3 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 2 cups warm water

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake before use.

Glass Cleaner #4 - Mostly Rubbing Alcohol

  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake before use.

Glass Cleaner #5 - Grease Be Gone

  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tsp. liquid Castile soap
  • 2 cups distilled water
  • 2 d. tea tree essential oil

Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and shake before use.

What Prevents Streaking?

I was totally unaware of why some cleaners left streaks and other did not.  Here is an answer that made sense to me.

On a microscopic level, glass is not perfectly smooth.  When you spray water on it, the water molecules get caught in the little pits on the glass surface.  Water also clings to itself through hydrogen bonding.  That is to say, hydrogen atoms from two molecules cling together.  So...

Water stuck in the glass + Water stuck to more water = Streaking

To prevent streaking, you need to have at least essential oil, or cornstarch or even a little dish soap in the solution to disrupt the hydrogen from bonding.

Some Notes About Using Your Homemade Glass Cleaner

Make sure to label your bottle so no one will mistake it for plain water.  You can add some natural food coloring as well to make it stand out.  Like a little juice from that can of beets you opened.

If using Glass Cleaner #2, shake the bottle thoroughly before each use as th ecornstarch may clog the spray nozzle.

Using microfiber clothes or rags makes it easier to get a clean surface.  Paper products tend to leave lint.

Be aware that vinegar can harm marble.  Be careful when using this cleaner around any marble surfaces.

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