Save Money By Making Your Own Window Cleaner

Many store-bought window cleaners have labels that list hard-to-pronounce chemicals as ingredients, but you don’t need that stuff to keep your glass clean. You can save a little money by making your own window cleaner.

Window and door seller Jeld-Wen offers an astoundingly simple formula for making the cleaner. You start with a a gallon of water, to which you’ll add either a teaspoon of baby shampoo or a cup and a half of vinegar.

To use the cleaner, swab your window clean with a cloth or sponge dipped in the solution, then rinse with water and dry with another cloth. If the process works well for you, that’s one less cleaning product you’ll have to stuff in your cabinets.

How to Make Your Own “Green” Window Cleaner [Jeld-Wen]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Bativac says:

    This is fantastic. For years, I’ve tried everything from spitting directly onto the window and smearing it around in all directions, to bringing the garden hose into the house, to just replacing all the glass in all my windows every six months.

    But if I use all my vinegar to make my own window cleaner, how am I supposed to make my own salad dressing?

  2. Torgonius wants an edit button says:

    Yesterday was cleanliness tips, today will be money tips.

    Up next: Rack up the savings by putting your pocket change in a jar
    Followed by: The best place to hide your change jar from thieves
    And right before lunch: Don’t get ripped off by your black market kidney dealer

    • kobresia says:

      I get the impression they didn’t give Phil access to the inbox that real consumer issues and tips are sent to.

      Either that, or all consumers everywhere have been strangely satisfied and customer service has been awesome over the past few days.

  3. Dallas_shopper says:

    Yeah…picked this trick up a looooooooooooooooong time ago from my grandmother, who cleaned her windows (and most of the rest of her house) with diluted distilled white vinegar for about 60 years.

  4. Cat says:

    Many store-bought window cleaners have labels that list hard-to-pronounce chemicals as ingredients like water and ammonia.

    • bosozoku says:

      I had ammonia one time, had to take some antibiotics to clear it up. If antibiotics can clear that up, I’m sure it will work wonders on my windows – I’m off!

    • wren337 says:

      I make my own ammonia at home from fermented urine, so I’m getting a kick etc etc.

  5. eezy-peezy says:

    That picture is the most depressing view out of a window I have seen in a while. If those were my windows I would leave them dirty.

  6. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    I just make sure to rub my mattress against the window whenever I flip it (thanks to the index cards reminding me), and then I take my used toothbrushes with the overly large heads and firm bristles to touch up the corners of the glass before I throw them out.

  7. caradrake says:

    Fill a sink with water and vinegar. Clean all windows and bathroom mirror. Use remaining solution to mop the floors.

    I never actually measure the vinegar. I pour some in while the hot water is running. I’d estimate I probably use a cup or so of vinegar for half a sink of water.

  8. mauispiderweb says:

    Just put that up on top as a link, so this site can go back to the way it was … a place to read and comment on consumer horror/delight stories.

  9. chemmy says:

    Ah, so it’s going to be another one of THOSE days, is it, Phil?

  10. Cat says:

    Vinegar and water? What a douche.

  11. Fubish says: I don't know anything about it, but it seems to me... says:

    Drapes. If you never open your drapes you never need to clean your windows.

    Problem solved.

    • kobresia says:

      And if you don’t have enough money for drapes because you spent it all on meth, you can save money on your window treatments by nailing blankets and cardboard over your windows.

      • zerogspacecow says:

        And to stay warm (because your blankets are nailed to the wall), save money by burning your furniture in the fireplace instead of turning on the heater.

  12. ExtraCelestial says:

    Ah sure let’s continue to perpetuate the stereotype that SCIENCE IS HARD and should be ignored so we can continue this downward spiral in which our country (and really the world) is headed.

    Yeah I wrote social commentary on a post about window cleaning. What’s up?

  13. zerogspacecow says:

    Really, “Big Money” huh? How often are you buying window cleaner exactly? I’m pretty sure I spend a grand total of like a dollar a year on window cleaner.

  14. Cat says:

    I maid my own window cleaner at home, but she doesn’t do windows.

  15. topgun says:

    Anybody in favor of a story about the unemployment rate increasing by one more?

  16. Maltboy wanders aimlessly through the Uncanny Valley says:

    Enough Philler already! Where’s the beef?

    Has Consumerist jumped the shark?

  17. Jacquilynne says:

    I could probably buy a five year supply of window cleaner for the same amount it would cost me to buy something to store more than a gallon of window cleaner for the rest of my life, which is how long it would take me to use that much window cleaner.

    If you live in the kind of house where you have enough storage space to keep an extra gallon of window cleaner just sitting around waiting to be used, may I suggest that a far more effective way to save money would be to move out of your McMansion and into some place a little more reasonable in size?

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Whoa, whoa, I know we’re all annoyed by the unending Philler on this site, but that is no reason to take it out on your fellow commentators. I could easily store an extra gallon of something or the other, and by no stretch of the imagination do I live in a McMansion.

      • Jacquilynne says:

        I’m making the assumption that someone who stores a gallon of window cleaner is also storing a hell of a pile of other stuff that makes them more ‘frugal’.

  18. Straspey says:

    Did you ever see the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” ?

    Remember the father of the bride, who always carried a bottle of Windex around with him wherever he he went – and used it as the solution for anything and everything that happened ?

    Well — That’s me.

    Spill on the counter —> Windex

    Feline Projectile Hair Ball Expulsion —> Windex

    Fingers Stuck Together With Crazy Glue — > Windex

    Stab Myself In The Eye With A Pen — > Windex

    It’s also great for cleaning mirrors, TV screens and windows.

  19. ahecht says:

    Argh Phil, this is a “Consumer Issues” blog, not a home finance blog. How do dubious money savings tips fit with “Shoppers Bite Back”? Please, for the sake of my RSS reader, if you don’t have something on-topic to post, don’t post at all.

  20. leastcmplicated says:

    or cheap vodka does the trick too… one spray for me, one spray for the window…

  21. italianbaby says:

    “Newspaper is printed on special paper Called “newsprint.” It is a cousin to paper towels, which weren’t invented until much later. People found that newspaper cleaned glass better than a cloth rag, even if it had news ink on it. Actuarially works better than paper towels. leaves no lint., or streaks.
    To use newspaper for cleaning glass, use a weak solution of vinegar and water or ammonia and water. Spray the solution lightly on the glass, then wad the newspaper up and use like a paper towel. The glass will be much cleaner than you expect… and it’s cheaper than window cleaner.”
    reprinted from
    i myself have been using newspaper to clean my windows and mirrors for years.
    a good idea is to use gloves, since the wet ink will get on your hands.

  22. daemonaquila says:

    This is NOT a good recipe. Instead, try 2 cups water, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 1/2 tsp dish soap, and a few drops of your favorite scent. Unlike the recipe in the article, you do not need to do any rinsing. It cleans perfectly straight out of a spray bottle, better, in fact, than Windex and other brands. Just don’t add too sweet a scent if using it outdoors or near open windows… the bees love some scents too!

  23. Outrun1986 says:

    You can get a gallon of window cleaner for $1 at a dollar store, can you actually make your own for less than that?

  24. Pigfish99 the randomly insane says:

    I’ve never heard about this. Me and my mom have a cleaning job… and if this works, this will save us hundreds.

  25. Javin says:

    I wonder if Phil would give me my own post on how to save money by recycling bottlecaps. Or perhaps on how you can can your own vegetables AND the jars can double as drinking glasses! Perhaps a post on how one could save money by not paying the neighbor kid $5 to mow your lawn? How about a detailed story about using cloth diapers instead of disposable? C’mon Phil, I’ve got a million of them every bit as good as this, the mattress flipping tips, etc. Give me a shot!