Save money with this easy homemade window cleaner recipe that is rated by consumer reports to work much better (and cheaper) than most commercial window sprays.
Homemade Window Cleaner Recipe
1/2 cup ammonia
2 cups rubbing alcohol
1 tsp. dishwashing liquid
In a one-gallon container*, mix ammonia and rubbing alcohol. Fill almost to the top with water. Add dishwashing liquid and mix. Top off with water. Rated by Consumer Reports Magazine to work much better (and much cheaper) than most commercial window and kitchen sprays. Alcohol is the secret ingredient – it’s what commercial window washers use.
*Safe on most, but not all, household surfaces.
*You can use a washed out gallon milk carton and fill with a funnel or just half or quarter the recipe to fit in your spray bottle.
The window cleaning recipe is tried and true for me as well.
As for the general cleaning solution, vinegar is acidic and ammonia is alkali. Adding the vinegar will neutralize the ammonia.
I believe a better recipe for a strong all-purpose cleaner comes from “Home Comforts” by Mendelson:
1 Tbsp ammonia
1 Tbsp liquid laundry detergent
1 pint water
1/2 cup washing soda added to 1 gallon water
I tried this recipe. It’s effective at cleaning, but left really noticeable streaks.
If you used it outside on grimy windows you may need to rinse them first then rub them dry. Also you need to check what kind of rag or cloth you are using because often the cloths will smudge no matter one even microfiber cloths.
Adding a bit of corn starch makes for streak free!
How much is a bit, roughly
In the daycare area (diaper changing area and food prep area) I put plain alcohol into a spray bottle. I spray the area after a diaper change. It dries quickly. It is cheaper than Lysol spray. I have done this for years and I have not had any problems with the alcohol doing damage to the surface of my diaper changing area.
I also spray the food pre/serve area on my daycare. I let it dry. I believe this kills lots of germs that might be on the surface. The alcohol does a great job of keeping my stainless steel sink nice.
Roxie from Texas
Thanks for the “recipe”. I can’t wait to try this!
I too make my own window cleaner. here is my sure fire recipe. Works great.
1/2 bottle hydrogen peroxide
1/2 bottle rubbing alcohol
1 teaspoon dawn for dishes
Put this in a gallon jug and fill it the rest of the way up with water to make 1 gal.
Alcohol makes it dry quickly and the peroxide cleans it really well. No streaks.
This is the same recipe as in Dining on a Dime for those of you who have it to save you coping it. Thanks Linda
Jet dry, rubbing alcohol and dish soap make the best window cleaner, especially if you are doing the outside of your windows.Make a big batch, spray it on with a garden hose attachment and rinse.Put some in a spray bottle for mirrors and indoors.
I use just vinegar and water.
This is just the recipe I use and recommend to clients if they ask. It combines the 3 main features a window cleaning agent must have. But I don’t restrict the use of this homemade cleaner to the windows and mirrors only. I use it as an universal sanitiser, adding just a little vinegar (little, to avoid the scent). Works like a charm.
Just a heads up.You really don’t need to add the extra vinegar for sanitizing. First because the rubbing alcohol is a sanitizer and often use it alone in the bathroom instead of going through the trouble of making up any cleaner I use it by itself and does a great job. Second vinegar doesn’t sanitize 100% so just be aware of that when you are using it to clean a bathroom or a kitchen where you have had something like raw chicken. But with this recipe you don’t have to worry about that because the alcohol does kill 100% of the stuff.
Lisa @ Fun Money Mom
Great tip…will definitely have to try this out!
I have used the first recipe above for nearly 40 years. I got it out of Consumer Reports. But now they no longer use the recipe b/c it is not GREEN. But My housekeeper got my recipe 20 years ago and used it and shared it. Then she lost the recipe and tried all kinds of others but they did not work as well. She just got my recipe again. But I could not find it in Consumer Reports
How to Clean Anything book. But I found it again here.
I hate that when I loss a recipe especially an older one that really works so I am so glad we had this for you.
Thanks for this, I just tried it and it works great!
What is the receipe from Consumer Reports to wash Windows?
The recipe from consumer reports is this one post here on this post
This is fantastic info. Have you ever heard of using cornstarch or arrowroot powder in your window cleaning solution?? I don’t know about using it in this particular recipe, but I’ve heard it works a treat in some homemade window cleaners. Really appreciate the time you put into providing us all with great, easy solutions and am happy to have found your site. Thanks again for the great information!
My daughter is allergic to a TON of foods. I have been able to take your recipes and create meals that she could eat without making her sick. Things like “cream of whatever” kinds of soups. I have also used your recipes for budgeting.
Also, have shared with our church how to menu plan with what you HAVE without going to the grocery first!
One of my biggest treats was tagging along on your European trip!!! What amazing things you got to experience and share with us!!
What proportions of ammonia, dish soap and Dry RInse did you recommend on the first part of this video? The one using the spray on , then rinse with hose sprayer?
Ron on the last line it tells you how to use it and to half or quarter the recipe at the beginning.
We’ve used equal parts distilled white vinegar and equal parts water for our own DIY window cleaning solution and that also worked quite well. If your windows are especially grimy, then using dishwasher soap as a pre wash has also seemed to get the job done in extreme gritty situations. But will have to try your method next time. Probably once the snow and winter months pass!
I used this recipe the other day and worked liked a charm. Thanks for sharing the specific ratio. I think that’s where I went wrong last time, used too much dishwashing soap not enough ammonia. With all of the snow incoming, it’s a shame my windows won’t look this good for long. But will definitely be stashing this solution to use when it gets warmer out.
You are welcome Steve. Glad it worked for you. Yes that dishwashing soap can be tricky – I think we all use way more than we need too of it in everything. : ) I know it has taken me years to think “Just a tiny bit goes a long way.” LOL
Can I use this window cleaner on my car and travel trailer?
I can be used on any glass windows or mirrors
hi Jill. i need to clean a third story window, so i need to use a spray bottle with a hose connection. Would you use the same recipe and connect to the hose sprayer? Needless to say, I will not be able to wipe down the window either. Will it streak?
Sue we have another recipe that I think would work better for what you need for a high outside window that you can’t dry. It is Homemade Outdoor Window Cleaner. I am having trouble connecting some of my links but just type in Homemade Outdoor Window Cleaner in the search bar and it will take you there.
It is the Jet dry in this recipe that makes it so you don’t have to dry it. Also always be careful if you have plants under any window cleaners like this that you do use. You might want to cover your plants.