How To Clean Windows Without Windex Or Glass Cleaners

There's a surprising number of better ways to clean windows without Windex or other blue glass cleaners like Windowlene.

Unfortunately, people who sell us window cleaning sprays will never admit that their cleaners might not really work. 

how to clean windows without windex

I have 5-panel bifold doors in my house and I am able to get them clean and streak-free without using any special window cleaner. 

Trust me when I say that these tips I'm sharing with you will give you the best streak-free windows.

You'll wonder why you ever bought a blue window cleaner in the first place.

My Top 2 Ways To Clean Windows Without Window Cleaner

These are my two absolute favourite methods for cleaning both windows, mirrors and glass surfaces.

Method #1: Squeegee & Dish Soap

This is the BEST WAY to clean large windows and bifold doors, hands down!

It gives me gorgeous streak-free windows every single time.  

Here's a video I made showing how I clean my bifold doors.

What you'll need:

  • Bucket
  • Bucket of warm water
  • Dish soap
  • Microfibre mop and regular sponge
  • Microfibre cloth 
  • Squeegee (I love my electric squeegee) 

Instructions:

  1. Fill your bucket with warm water. Add a few drops of dish soap and mix well to create soapy water.
  2. Dip your microfiber mop or sponge into the soapy water. I use the sponge for internal windows and the mop for external windows. Squeeze it a little so it's wet but doesn't drip too much.
  3. Wash the windows. Starting at the top, work your way down and use some elbow grease on any set stains.
  4. Squeegee before it dries. Before the soapy water has a chance to set, slide the squeegee across or from top to bottom, section by section. Overlap slightly each time and wipe the squeegee blade after each pass with a clean, dry microfibre cloth.
  5. Wipe. Use the microfibre cloth to remove any remaining soapy water on the edges of the window.

Method #2: Glass Cloth

This is another method that will guarantee you perfect streak-free windows.

The only snag is that they can make your hands ache because they require a lot of elbow grease.

Use this method to clean glass, small windows, mirrors or for quick touch-ups.

Here's a video I made on how I use it!

What you'll need:

  • Microfibre cloth (preferably one with a rough or waffle texture)
  • Microfibre glass cleaning cloth 
  • Water 
E-Cloth

Instructions:

  1. Wet. Dip the waffle textured microfibre cloth in water and squeeze. It should be damp, not wet.
  2. Clean. Rub over the window in circular motions to remove any dust or dirt.
  3. Wipe again. In your other hand, hold a dry microfibre cloth and rub in circular motions over the wet glass, buffing it thoroughly until there is no liquid left. This will leave you with gorgeous streak free windows.

Tips:

  • Don't clean your windows in direct sunlight as they will dry too quickly before you get a chance to clean them properly. 
  • Wash your microfibre cloths regularly and the correct way. Don't use fabric softener or bleach to wash them else they'll leave streaks on your windows.
  • Add a little bit of vinegar to the water if you want more cleaning power.

Other Ways To Clean Windows Without Window Cleaner

Here are some additional methods to get sparkling windows using everyday household items.

Method #3: Best Homemade Window Cleaning Solution

If you love natural homemade cleaners, you are going to love this one.

cleaning spray

This homemade glass cleaner recipe combines the cleaning power of vinegar and the quick evaporation of rubbing alcohol to give you clean and shiny windows.

You'd be surprised that some homemade solutions can give you better results than even commercial cleaners.

What you'll need:

  • Spray bottle
  • 1 cup distilled water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup isopropyl alcohol

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. 
  2. Label the spray bottle clearly. (Especially important if you have other cleaning mixes around)
  3. Shake well to mix.
  4. Spray the window with the solution.
  5. Wipe the window clean with a microfibre cloth, using a S-shaped motion to avoid spreading the dirt around.
  6. Buff the entire surface of the window dry with a clean, dry microfibre cloth or glass.
  7. You can use this diy solution to clean mirrors as well.

Method #4: Vinegar

Vinegar is a natural cleaning powerhouse that cuts through grime and leaves windows sparkling.

What you'll need:

  • Spray bottle
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Water
  • Microfibre cloth

Instructions:

  1. Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the windows with the vinegar solution, one section/ window at a time.
  3. Wipe the window frame and corners with a microfibre cloth, using a S-shaped motion.
  4. Buff the window dry with a clean, dry microfibre cloth.

Method #5: Newspaper/ Coffee Filters

This is a method I felt obligated to mention, but won't use again because it's quite expensive.

coffee filters for cleaning

Method #1 will always be my favourite. 

I just wanted to include it for completeness and show you all the methods that work.

Cleaning windows with newspaper is an old trick that actually works!

In a perfect world, you'd have newspaper on hand but who reads newspapers these days? 

Here's why newspaper works so well: it's super absorbent, leaves minimal lint, and gets the job done. The closest match you'll find in your kitchen? Coffee filters!  So, if you don't have newspaper, coffee filters are a fantastic substitute.

What you'll need:

  • Cleaning spray
  • Newspaper or coffee filters
  • Microfibre cloth (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Spray the surface of your window with your store bought or DIY spray mix.
  2. Crumple newspaper or coffee filters into a ball.
  3. Starting at the top, work the newspaper or coffee filter in a circular motion over the surface of the window.
  4. If it gets too wet, grab a another clean, dry newspaper or coffee filter and buff over the surface.

Other Glass Cleaning Tips

How To Clean Outdoor Windows You Can't Reach

There are two options for cleaning exterior windows that are out of reach:

extendable tools for cleaning windows
  • Extendable tools: Buy an extendable window cleaning set with a long handle. They are so easy to get and will help you reach the windows easily. I have also seen this magnetic cleaner online that's worth trying.
  • Hire a professional: If you're not comfortable using a ladder or extendable tools, you'll get the best results when you hire a professional window cleaner. They don't cost a lot of money and you can book them in once a month. They have the experience and equipment to clean even the highest windows.

What Do Professional Glass Cleaners Use?

I asked the person who cleans our windows what special tool they use to get such good results. Here's what they said:

"We don't use tap water. We use a special type of purified water that doesn't leave water spots." It sounds simple, but that's all they were willing to share.

Here's my breakdown of the best way to achieve professional-looking results based on what I've observed professional window cleaners do:

  • Use a degreaser or cleaner. Liquid dish soap diluted in water is a common option.
  • Scrub your glass windows with a brush or a firm sponge going over any stubborn stains repeatedly.
  • Rinse thoroughly with deionised water. Hard water minerals can leave streaks.
  • Squeegee the water off.
  • Wipe the window edges with a clean cloth.
Clean outside windows

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Hey you, I’m Torera

Hey there! I am Torera, a home care and cleaning enthusiast with a mission to make cleaning as fun and easy as possible for women like you. As someone who had to learn everything from scratch, I have the mindset of a beginner and know exactly how to take you from A to Z. Let us ditch the overwhelm and create a space that is clean, cozy, and totally you!