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Glass Cleaner that’s Always Greener

When it comes to cleaning your windows, are you a good guy or a lazy guy?  Good guys whip up their own, wholesome, high-performance glass cleaners from environmentally friendly, non-toxic, inexpensive kitchen ingredients.

Lazy guys go to the store and blow their money on one of a number of widely advertised, heavily marketed commercial cleaners that often contain caustic chemicals.  We won’t name names, but the go-to color for these products is a deep aqua blue, perhaps to suggest the contents come from cool alpine pools or pristine lagoons.

Here’s the other thing that separates the saints from the sinners:  Paper towels.  How many times have you seen someone waste half a roll of paper towels cleaning a few small windows?   Not good for trees, not good for landfills, not good for the bottom line.

Old newspapers, rags, squeegees or chamois are the earth-friendly choice.

Finally, consider how much cheaper it is to make your own.

A 32-ounce bottle of national brand window cleaner cost about $4 in 2011, while the active ingredients in the same amount of homemade glass cleaner cost about 12 cents, according to National Geographic’s Green Living website.

The only issue with making your own glass cleaner is deciding which formula works best on your type of glass and grime.  So experiment with some of the recipes below.  When you get one that works, write it down and keep it handy in your recipe box, or write it on the spray bottle.

From the Environmental Protection Agency:

GLASS CLEANER: Combine 1 tablespoon lemon juice with 1quart warm water, or equal parts warm water and white vinegar. Stubborn glass streaks may call for undiluted white vinegar.  Another version: combines 1/2 cup white vinegar and 3 tablespoons cornstarch with 1 gallon warm water.

From blogger Debra Proctor, who writes that she’s run across four different formulas, all of which have their own avid fans:

GLASS CLEANER RECIPE 1: Mix 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon liquid dishwashing detergent and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.  Use the same as commercial window cleaner.  Some think this is the best homemade glass cleaner because it’s sudsy; others hate the suds.

GLASS CLEANER RECIPE 2: Mix 1 tablespoon vinegar, 1 cup water and 1 cup rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle.

GLASS CLEANER RECIPE 3:  Mix 1 tablespoon ammonia, 1 cup water and 1 cup rubbing alcohol. This recipe uses ammonia instead of vinegar. Those who don’t like the smell of vinegar may like this recipe better.

GLASS CLEANER RECIPE 4:  Mix 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup ammonia and 1 tablespoon cornstarch and pour into a 32-ounce spray bottle. Finish filling the bottle with water. Shake before using.