Stop Buying the Blue Stuff! Use This Easy Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe Instead

Learn how to make homemade glass cleaner. It's really easy plus DIY glass cleaner is much cheaper and works just as well as the blue stuff or any other commercial glass cleaners.


We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We choose products carefully and recommend only those we believe are helpful and provide value. Learn More

When I was little, I had a great excuse to go play outside.

My mom would clean our windows with ammonia and crumpled up newspaper. That smell always made me feel queasy and light headed. So mama bear was always OK with me heading out the door on window cleaning day.

Fast forward to today. The smell of most commercial glass cleaners still makes me feel nauseated whether it’s ammonia free or that fake summer rain smell some products use.

Unfortunately, I’m the one that cleans the windows now so I can’t just go outside and play. And we have a lot of glass surfaces that need regular cleaning.

We have 2 dogs that love to slobber on and press their noses up against our windows. We have a glass table with more fingerprints than the FBI. I don’t know how our bathroom mirrors and shower doors get so filthy, but they do.

Yep, I have a lot of glass that needs to be cleaned. But I can’t stand the smell of most store-bought glass cleaning products. Those glass cleaners are also filled with dyes, artificial fragrances, ammonia, and other unpronounceable chemical ingredients I would rather avoid.

Vinegar to the rescue! Well, vinegar plus water and a couple of other simple ingredients that make up the homemade glass cleaner recipe I’ve been using for a few years now.

Why Make Homemade Glass Cleaner?

If you’re going to DIY something you can get at any supermarket or drug store, then it should be simple to make, just as effective as the big brands, and cheaper. Homemade glass cleaner checks off all three boxes. Plus it’s not full of:

  • Liquitint Sky Blue Dye
  • 2-Hexoxyethanol
  • Isopropanolamine
  • Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate
  • Lauramine Oxide
  • Ammonium Hydroxide (ammonia)
  • Synthetic Fragrance

Here’s what I use to get the job done:

Homemade Glass Cleaner Recipe

You’ll need a spray bottle that can accommodate a little over 20 ounces of liquid. Fill your spray bottle with the following ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2 cups warm water
  • Juice from half a lemon or 5-10 drops of your favorite essential oil (optional)

Give it a good shake and it’s ready to use. Make sure you label your spray bottle.

Recipe Notes

One of the ingredients this recipe calls for is rubbing alcohol, which can’t really be considered non-toxic. It’s flammable, it can cause irritation to the skin or eyes, and inhaling or ingesting it can have serious health consequences. The CDC has more info on rubbing alcohol if you’re concerned.

That said, rubbing alcohol is something we usually do keep in the house. Jerry uses it to clean tools and treat the minor scrapes he always seems to have. I’m not crazy about the smell, but it’s not ammonia and it does dry quickly.

If you’re not comfortable with the rubbing alcohol, Bren from the always excellent blog Bren Did has an effective alternative. She uses cheap vodka in her DIY glass cleaner recipe. I haven’t tried it yet, but cheap vodka is something we almost always have on hand too.

Check out Bren’s recipe for homemade glass cleaner.

I’m more sensitive to smells than a lot of people. As far as scent goes, it smells like vinegar as you would expect, but it goes away quickly. If you just can’t stand the smell of vinegar, add a few drops of essential oil or the juice from half a lemon.

Want Cash Back on Your Groceries Plus $10 Free?

Download the Ibotta app. Ibotta gives you cash back for your grocery purchases and more. You get cash straight to your PayPal account for buying the things you normally buy at supermarkets, restaurants, and all your favorite stores.

Sign Up for Ibotta and Get $10


Make sure you give the bottle a good shaking before you use it. The cornstarch won’t completely dissolve so it will settle on the bottom between uses. It might gum up your sprayer if you use it without shaking.

I use newspaper instead of rags or paper towels just like my mom did. Newspaper is the way to go for streak free windows as far as I’m concerned. If you don’t subscribe to a newspaper, you can usually find plenty of abandonded newspapers at just about any breakfast place or coffee shop.


Store your homemade glass cleaner in a cool cabinet where kids, pets, and husbands can’t get to it.

Make sure you keep it away from any heat source as well. Again, it has rubbing alcohol in it which is flammable.

Homemade glass cleaner doesn’t have any additives or preservatives which means it won’t have as long a shelf life as the store-bought stuff. I don’t make more than I can use in a couple of months max and I wouldn’t store it longer than that. Write the date you made it on the label so you know when to make a fresh batch.

Cost of Homemade Glass Cleaner

How much does homemade glass cleaner cost? Not much. Here’s the breakdown using prices from the grocery store closest to our house:

  • 1/4 cup of store brand white vinegar at $0.08 per ounce = $0.16
  • 1/4 c. rubbing alcohol at $0.06 per ounce = $0.12
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch at $0.11 per ounce = $0.03
  • 2 c. tap water = let’s call it $0.01 since I get a water bill, but I’m not about to do the math or collect a bucket of rain
  • 1/2 a lemon = I don’t always add lemon juice, but on a good day I can find lemons for around $0.50 each so we’ll say $0.25

That comes out to $0.32 for a 20 ounce bottle of homemade glass cleaner without the lemon and $0.57 lemon included. The blue stuff would cost me $3.79 for 23 ounces at the regular price. I can get through 6 or 7 bottles in a year meaning a year’s supply of homemade costs me right around $2 rather than $20+.

Does Homemade Glass Cleaner Really Work?

Absolutely. DIY glass cleaner works as well or better than any commercial glass cleaner I’ve ever tried.

That’s not to say it doesn’t take any effort. Depending on how dirty your windows and other glass surfaces are and how often you clean them, it might take some elbow grease.

The glass in our house gets filthy no matter how hard I try to keep up. But I’ve never felt like I had to go back to store-bought glass cleaning products. After making my own for a while now, I’m never going back.

Making Homemade Glass Cleaner

Would I still make my own glass cleaner if it wasn’t way cheaper than store-bought products? Yes, I absolutely would. There’s more to it than just the savings.

Making my own is fast and easy since I usually have all the ingredients on hand. My DIY glass cleaner recipe is also cheap plus it works great. Best of all, the smell doesn’t make me want to run outside and jump rope in the driveway with my sister.

Give it a try. I bet you won’t go back to the store-bought glass cleaners.

Pin It For Later

How to Make Homemade Glass Cleaner