No matter how hard I try, the mirror directly above my bathroom sink always ends up with little water splotches every few days. Because of this, I am constantly cleaning my mirror. I used to depend on Windex for the job, but I couldn’t stand the smell. I also wasn’t sure what kind of an impact those chemical fumes were having on my health. This is why I started experimenting with a Windex alternative. I use a DIY recipe that is all natural, very inexpensive, and effective.
Is Windex Toxic?
This was my biggest question before I started exploring alternatives. I knew that breathing Windex fumes in my small, poorly ventilated bathroom didn’t make me feel very good, but wasn’t sure why.
According to the EWG, Windex scores a “D” in categories related to human health and environmental impact. The inclusion of ammonium hydroxide in Windex formulations is of the highest concern. This chemical can contribute to respiratory issues, organ and vision defects, skin irritation, and more.
That was enough to convince me that it was time to find a Windex alternative.
The Best Homemade Windex Alternative
This DIY window and mirror cleaner recipe is so effective and inexpensive, I’m honestly not sure why anyone would use anything else. All of the food-grade ingredients can be purchased in bulk sizes. This reduces consumption of single-use packaging waste, which is another environmental win. See below for the recipe.
Ingredients and Materials:
- 1 part distilled white vinegar
- 1 part water (filtered if possible)
- 2-10 drops essential oil (optional)
- 1 reusable spray bottle
- Microfiber Cloth
- Funnel (optional, but makes combining ingredients much easier)
Instructions for Use:
- Using a metal funnel, combine all ingredients into a reusable spray bottle.
- Shake well, then spray directly on windows and mirrors.
- Use a cleaning cloth to shine windows and mirrors clean.
- If you’re cleaning a framed mirror, it might be best to spray directly on a cleaning cloth first. Use the dampened cloth to then wipe down the mirror surface.
The Best Tools to Clean Windows and Mirrors
When washing exterior windows, you might want to use window cleaning tools like a squeegee and bucket full of soapy water.
A spray window and mirror cleaner is great for using indoors. Use it with a tool that wipes away liquid before it drips into window tracks or mirror frames. There are a number of options to choose from:
- Paper Towels – This is probably the most popular option for most households. The thing is, there are FAR better options for cleaning glass and windows than paper towels. Not only are paper towels wasteful (see how we went paper towel free – it’s easier than you think), they’re simply less effective at cleaning messes.
- Newspaper – Newspaper is touted for streak free results. The problem is newspaper is not very absorbent, so it requires a LOT of newspaper to clean a small window or mirror.
- Squeegee – If you aren’t concerned with drips ending up in your window tracks, then this is a great option for cleaning windows and mirrors. With that said, you will still need a cloth of some kind to wipe up drips at the end of your squeegee job.
- Microfiber – This is my preferred window and mirror cleaning tool. Microfiber leaves a streak free finish and is also great for cleaning countertops and other areas of the home.
Additional Ways to Use DIY Glass and Mirror Cleaner
This DIY window and mirror cleaning recipe can be used to clean a variety of areas around the home. Below is a short list of cleaning tasks that can be tackled with this cleaner:
- Tile showers and countertops
- Doorknobs and light switches
- Lifting carpet stains
*One quick word of caution: Do not use vinegar cleaners on stone or other porous surfaces. The acidity of the vinegar can damage stone like granite and marble. Here is a DIY granite cleaner recipe.
Best Natural, Store Bought Glass and Window Cleaners
If DIY isn’t your thing, but you’re still interested in replacing Windex with a healthier alternative, then here is the list for you. Each of the products linked below ranked above a “B” for human and environmental health by the EWG.