Now that spring is here, we want to see the sun shining through the clear, clean glass window panes of our homes.

Even if you don't "do windows," occasionally — about twice a year — it's a good idea to break out the squeegee and sponge but skip the harsh chemicals. Of course, you might be wondering: what is the best way to clean windows using green cleaning tactics and nontoxic products?

There are several variations of natural window-cleaning solutions you can mix and pour into a spray bottle, or apply with a squeegee or sponge. All include water, and most include vinegar and a small amount of liquid dish soap, which cuts the wax residue left behind by commercial cleaners. Recipes include:

For spray bottle:

Dirty windows
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon liquid dish soap
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 cups water
Another spray bottle solution:
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar
  • up to 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap
For bucket/sponge and/or squeegee:
  • 2 quarts warm water
  • 2 cups rubbing alcohol
  • 1/2 cup ammonia
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
Other ingredients for green window cleaning include club soda, baking soda and corn starch. You can also add a touch of essential oil in a fragrance of your choosing, to create a fresh, clean smell.

Cleaning windowsHow do you best clean windows without streaks?

Tools and technique are crucial. Besides the aforementioned spray bottle and squeegee, bucket and sponge, your best bet for the physical act of cleaning are microfiber or flannel cloths, old (clean) cloth diapers or even an old cotton T-shirt. Though some swear by newspaper to wipe windows clean, others say it causes streaking and residue. Use microfiber cloths made specifically for glass to avoid scratches.

How and when you wipe clean is as important as what you clean with — for example, do not clean your windows in direct sunlight, as the sun will dry the cleaner too quickly and leave streaks. When spraying or sponging solution directly onto the window, wipe up and down and side to side, not in a circular or repeating motion. If you use a squeegee, wipe in one motion, straight up and down or from one side to the other, and then wipe the blade dry with a cloth after each swipe.

Does it matter whether you do the inside or outside first?

What matters most is that you clean both, and protect the environment — and the lungs of you and your family — while doing so. Let the sun shine in!

Got other tips for how to clean windows using green ingredients? Leave us a note in the comments below.

Photos: psyberartist/Flickr; Adam Jones, Ph.D./Flickr

See also:

Green cleaning solutions