Normally, plain water can clean lightly soiled windows; but if you put off washing your windows until they’re really dirty, you’ll need something more potent.
The best glass cleaner is one that works fast and removes grime with a minimum of help from you.
Are newspapers good for cleaning windows?
Over the years, there have been many opinions about which window wipers work best. Professionals do their wiping with natural-sponge applicators and rubber squeegees. Some purists feel the job is unfinished without careful application of a good chamois leather. Yet others swear by yesterday’s newspaper.
In a Consumers Union test of newspaper used withan effective commercial cleaner on heavily soiled windows, it was found that newspaper is not very absorbent. It takes a fair amount of wiping and rubbing to clean and polish a window with it. Newspaper also blackens hands and leaves ink smudges around window mullions.
Homemade window cleaning recipes
Homemade products can equal or best many of the aerosols, sprays, and premoistened towels in stores. They cost a fraction of the price for commercial products – a penny or less per ounce – and you can easily prepare them at home.
The Lemon Formula—works for lightly soiled windows. Mix4 tablespoons of lemon juice in 1 gallon of water.
The Ammonia Formula – works for heavily soiled windows. Mix ½ cup of sudsy ammonia, 1 pint of rubbing alcohol, and 1 tablespoon of hand dishwashing liquid (do not use more than 1 tablespoon, or streaking may result), and top the mixture up with enough water to make 1 gallon.
A store-bought glass cleaner would cost from around a nickel to a quarter an ounce. Pump sprays generally carry a lower cost-per-ounce than do aerosols, and supermarket house brands are generally cheaper than national brands.
With most commercial products, an ounce of cleaner goes pretty far. It would cost on average only a few pennies to clean both sides of a heavily soiled window measuring 2 by 3 feet.
Among the usual ingredients in most glass cleaners, none pose any problems for the environment. None of the cleaners contain phosphates, and none of the aerosols contain ozone-depleting propellants.