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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

Reading & Watching

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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.