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Non-Toxic Window Cleaning

April 26th, 2012

Cleaning windows is one of those things that can drive you CRAZY. You scrub, wipe, polish, buff and then the sun comes out and there are STREAKS. What to do, what to do. This alone can make people who normally use non-toxic cleaners to resort to that blue stuff.

Like anything else, the more often you clean your windows the easier and quicker they will be to clean and the fewer problems with streaks you will have. The streaks are usually caused not by dirt, but by oily deposits on the glass, mostly from VOC’s. You’ve probably heard that indoor air is usually more polluted than the air outside and the reason is VOC’s. They come from just about everything in your home, the couch, mattress, fabrics, furniture, carpet, paint, detergents, cleaners, adhesives, cooking, etc. These collect on the glass and can be difficult to get off. One of the best ways to help keep the windows clean is to get rid of the some of the VOC’s.

Houseplants are one of the best ways (here’s my post on that topic),but there are some other things you can do: use non-toxic cleaners, use exhaust fans when cleaning and cooking, let new items off gas in garage or outdoors before bringing them in (if it smells “new” it’s off gassing VOC’s), don’t use air fresheners or burn candles, and open up those windows and let some fresh air inside! Another place those streaks come from is the rags that you’re using to clean, if you use fabric softener or detergent with fragrance, then your rags will most likely leave streaks.

Usually I just use cotton rags for cleaning my windows. I’ve tried using a squeegee before and didn’t like it. For this series however, I purchased one of the best rated scrubber and squeegee sets to cover all my bases. I must say, spending the extra money for a the right tool makes the job go so much faster and let’s face it, we’re more likely the clean our windows monthly if it only takes a few minutes! The one I got was the Ettore Steccone Products 65000 Progrip Window Cleaning Kit. I like it so much I’m going to be buying the handle extension and will be using it often.

So, how do I clean the windows here? I mixed about a quarter cup of my citrus infused vinegar with about 6 cups of hot water in a bucket. Then I dipped in my window scrubber in, squeezed out most of the water and scrubbed the windows. Next I squeegeed off the water, wiping my squeegee with a towel after each pass. Finally, I used a microfiber to clean up any bit of water left around the edges. It took less than a minute to do each window.

If your windows are super dirty you might want to add a squirt of castile in with your water, just a small amount, about a quarter teaspoon. I found that the citrus oil from the infused vinegar did just fine and I didn’t need any soap. If you don’t have a window scrubber, simply mix water and vinegar in a spray bottle, spray on windows and wipe off with clean cotton rags or old socks. If your windows are really dirty you might need to use a few rags, using dirty rags will also cause streaks! If you wipe in one direction (up/down) when cleaning the inside and the opposite (side/side) when cleaning the outside, you’ll know exactly where your streaks are if you have any.

If you do notice streaks, a microfiber towel will usually work to buff them off, turn towel regularly. A small squirt of vinegar will sometimes make it easier to buff off the streaks (not too much vinegar though a few drops usually works). Sometimes, if your windows are pretty dirty you might need to scrub them twice (which is a great reminder to do them more often). I find that cleaning mine once a month is the right frequency so that they never get that dirty, I don’t get too much dirt build up and it takes only a few quick wipes to clean them again. If I wait 2 or 3 months it takes much, much longer to clean them. Try to come up with a schedule, I generally clean my windows around the first of the month.

Of course when you have pets you’ll never have clean windows. As soon as you clean them the pets start sliming them up again so “clean” is a relative term around here when it come to windows here at Chiot’s Run (once a month they’re clean).

How often do you clean your windows? Any tip/tricks to share?

Stocking Your Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit
Learning to Love Castile Soap
Make Your Own: Foaming Soap
Make Your Own: Infused Vinegar
Make Your Own: Multi-Purpose Cleaner
Make Your Own: Color Safe Oxygen Bleach
Homemade Whitening Scouring Scrub
Friday Favorite: Charlie’s Soap
Friday Favorite: Twist Sponges
and more to come

16 Comments to “Non-Toxic Window Cleaning”
  1. kristin @ going country on April 26, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Um. The truthful answer to that is probably, “So rarely I couldn’t even give you an estimate.” Though it depends on the window. The ones on the storm doors get cleaned more often. Although that’s all relative.

    Our windows never look clean even when I clean them. This is because most of them are original to the house and have permanent storm windows on the outside. As in, painted over and never moved. But somehow, spiders and other yuckies get in between the storms and the inside windows. Where of course I can’t reach. So there’s always that middle space that makes the windows look filthy, even when I clean the inside and outside that I can reach. Good thing I’m not a neat freak.

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

    • amy on April 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm

      I know of what you speak~kristin:) I love my old house but my windows never look good even after I clean them because of the sealed outer window. We have shutters inside and out so that when company comes they cannot see them:) but I refuse to replace them as they are all old bubble glass.

      Reply to amy's comment

  2. daisy on April 26, 2012 at 7:55 am

    We really only wash our windows about every 6 months.

    Love this series! I’m gonna look into one of those scrubbers, maybe I’ll be inspired to clean them more often!

    Reply to daisy's comment

    • Susy on April 26, 2012 at 8:18 am

      It really does make quick work of it, takes longer to get the screens off and back on than it takes to wash the actual windows.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  3. Melissa on April 26, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Nose prints on our windows are the story of my life around here! With 4 dogs, it’s impossible to keep them clean!

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  4. Kate on April 26, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Seriously? Wash windows once a month? Do you sleep? I’d much rather be digging around outside. It shows inside! Gotta give you credit. I’ll bet you even clean insde your cabinets!! I’m envious, but not that motivated. LOL!

    Reply to Kate's comment

    • Susy on April 26, 2012 at 10:03 am

      Yes, I’d rather be digging outside but it doesn’t take long and I hate looking at my garden through dirty windows. I do clean out the insides of the cabinet, but that only happens once a years :)

      Reply to Susy's comment

  5. Maybelline on April 26, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I live in a dry, dusty region. Each week I take my wool duster outside and dust off my windows and shutters. That keeps them looking clean longer.

    Where can I get OR how do I make citrus infused vinegar?

    I’m a freak for clean windows.

    Reply to Maybelline's comment

    • Susy on April 26, 2012 at 11:40 am

      Making citrus infused vinegar is super easy: here’s my post on how to do it

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • Maybelline on April 28, 2012 at 1:52 am

        Thanks for sharing. I have so many lemons that I don’t want to waste.

        to Maybelline's comment

  6. Estelle on April 26, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    The windows are clean when my mom visits… enough said :)

    Reply to Estelle's comment

  7. Carrie on April 26, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Love love love your blog! So many great ideas, hard to even know where to start! I am looking to start my first ever garden for this summer- planning on using the raised bed square foot garden method. Do you have any suggestions for the best vegetables/plants/fruit to try for a beginner in her first year of gardening:) I live in southwest Ohio:)

    Reply to Carrie's comment

    • Susy on April 26, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Glad to hear you’re going to start gardening – you’ll love it. I’d recommend growing what your family likes to eat. First off I’d suggest planting lettuce and radishes for a quick harvest, then you don’t have to wait for many months to eat what you grow. I’d also recommend growing green beans and tomatoes for sure. Skip the corn, takes up too much space and peppers can be iffy here in Ohio depending on how much sun your garden area gets. Tomatoes are always a must for me, you simply can’t beat the taste of fresh tomatoes.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  8. Allison on April 27, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Thanks for sharing this! I just recently cleaned our windows and was horrified after all my hard work to see them all streaked! It was a different ‘non-toxic’ recipe I tried and, needless to say, I won’t be trying that one again!

    Reply to Allison's comment

  9. Maura on April 28, 2012 at 11:20 am

    I’m loving your non-toxic cleaning series!
    Thank you!!!!

    Reply to Maura's comment

  10. Deb on May 7, 2012 at 10:33 am

    Good posting, but how in the world do you have time to clean windows every month? In 17 yrs. we’ve cleaned them outside 3 times and inside maybe 1 time year at most. Where cats smear them maybe 4 or 5 times year. It would take a whole day to do mine as you have to take the windows apart and have someone in and out at the same time. maybe you’re lucky and have windows that come in? Mine are 80 yrs. old so that will never happen. Some of mine were painted shut when we moved here so they never get cleaned in between. Course we live in a rural area and with work in the fields it would be useless to clean the outside. Dust even gets inside from work outside. Thanks for posting.

    Reply to Deb's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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