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Glass Plus vs. Windex: Which Glass Cleaner Is Better?

You need an effective, reliable glass cleaner. But how do you choose between Glass Plus and Windex?

In this comparison of Glass Plus vs. Windex, you’ll learn how these cleaners differ in terms of ingredients, effectiveness, price, and more.

Plus, I reveal the results of a test I conducted to see which glass cleaner is more effective on windows, glass tables, and mirrors.

By the end, you’ll have all the key facts to decide which glass cleaner is best for you.


Use the links below to navigate the comparison:


Product Offerings

Glass Plus makes things simple by only offering one multi-surface glass cleaner.

Glass Plus

Windex, on the other hand, offers an extensive range of glass cleaners and related products. Here is a brief overview of its catalog:

Windex Original Glass Cleaner (view on Amazon): The original formula is powerful, thorough, and works quickly to clean fingerprints, dust, grime, and other impurities from your home’s glass surfaces. It is formulated to provide a “streak-free shine” when sprayed and wiped.

Windex Original
Windex Original

Windex Vinegar Glass Cleaner (view on Amazon): The vinegar-based Windex formula provides the same basic benefits as the original cleaner but without the odor or irritation associated with ammonia-based products. Vinegar is known for its disinfectant and bond-breaking acidic properties, and it won’t cause any damage when applied directly to glass surfaces. 

Windex Ammonia-Free Glass Cleaner (view on Amazon): Like the vinegar-based formula, the Windex ammonia-free cleaner uses alternative ingredients to clean glass without leaving behind the strong smell associated with ammonia. Thanks to an overall gentler and less concentrated chemical makeup, it is ideal for use in enclosed spaces like cars or smaller bathrooms. 

Windex Ammonia-Free
Windex Ammonia-Free

Windex Foaming Glass Cleaner (view on Amazon): This cleaner uses a foaming aerosol formula to prevent dripping while you clean. It is easy to use and clean up and provides an even more dependably streak-free effect on your glass surfaces. 

Windex Original Wipes (view on Amazon): Wipes are more convenient for smaller jobs and more limited glass surfaces, such as touch-ups on hand mirrors or picture frames. These wipes use the original Windex formula but allow for more precision and variety during use. 

Windex Glass Cleaner Concentrate (view on Amazon): This concentrated formula gives you more control over the strength of your Windex glass cleaner, as the chemical concentration will vary depending on how much water you add to it. Some consumers — especially those working in commercial spaces — find this personalization useful and cost-effective.

In addition to these options, the Windex brand also sells specially-formulated outdoor window cleaning kits, a multi-surface cleaner, a disinfectant multi-surface cleaner, as well as window and electronic wipes.

Ingredients

It’s important to know exactly what goes into the cleaner you choose to purchase.

To help you better understand the ingredients in Glass Plus and Windex, let’s take a quick look at the formulas.

I’ll start with Glass Plus.

  • Water: Used to adjust the product concentration, balance active ingredients, and bind them together.
  • Propylene Glycol Butyl Ether: Dissolves certain ingredients into others to form a cohesive solution.
  • Methoxyisopropanol: Same as above — dissolves and solubilizes certain ingredients.
  • Propylene Glycol: A dissolving agent/solubilizer.
  • Ethanolamine: Adjusts and balances the pH level of the formula to provide ideal acidity/alkalinity.
  • C9-11 Alkyl Glucoside: A surfactant that breaks down the molecular bonds of surface substances like dirt, oil, and mildew, allowing them to be easily wiped away.
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate: Another surfactant that breaks down foreign substances and dissolves odor-causing bonds.
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate: Same as above — this is a surfactant.
  • Fragrance/Parfum: Changes or covers up the natural smell of the formula to make it more pleasant for the consumer.
  • C.I. Acid Blue 182: Imparts color — in this case, a pale, translucent blue hue — and helps distinguish the product from other liquids (such as plain water, vinegar, etc.).

The Windex Original formula has many of the same properties as Glass Plus, with some variation in the chemicals.

  • Water: Water bonds and adjusts the concentration of the active ingredients.
  • 2-Hexoxyethanol: A surfactant that surrounds and “loosens” solid foreign substances such as dirt or dust, making them easier to wipe away.
  • Isopropanolamine: Another surfactant specifically aimed at breaking down soft substances like soap scum or oil by degrading their molecular bonds and detaching them from the glass surface.
  • Ammonium Hydroxide: A multi-purpose ingredient commonly called “ammonia,” this chemical compound is both a surfactant that breaks up dirt and a pH balancer that adjusts the relative acidity or alkalinity of the solution. By using a modified form of ammonia, a product can contain less of the chemical, reducing unpleasant odors and potential irritants.
  • Lauryl Dimethyl Amine Oxide: Another cleaning agent aimed at loosening solid particles.
  • Sodium Dodecylbenzene Sulfonate: Another surfactant that, like the previous chemical, is commonly used in shampoos and soaps as a way to loosen and degrade dirt particles.
  • Fragrance: In this case, the fragrance used combines secondary and tertiary ingredients that cover the strong ammonia smell and add a more pleasant scent.
  • Liquitint® Sky Blue Dye: Gives Windex its characteristic blue hue.

The Windex Ammonia-Free formula contains many of the same ingredients as the Original formula, but without the active ammonium hydroxide component and the addition of the following:

  • Sodium Hydroxide: This compound replaces the ammonium hydroxide used in the Windex Original formula. It acts as a bonding agent for other chemicals in the solution and adjusts the product’s pH level.
  • Liquitint® PG Red Dye: To differentiate the ammonia-free formula from the original, Windex gives the product a purplish hue by adding this red-colored dye.

You can find detailed health and environmental safety information on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) website. Simply search the product and read through the ratings, ingredient lists, and information provided by the database.

According to the EWG, both Windex and Glass Plus score a D rating and can pose “potentially significant hazards to health or the environment.” The ammonia used by Windex in its original formula holds an F rating, as it is a strong chemical that carries “high concern” for consumer well-being.

Always exercise caution when using potent cleaning agents, and follow the safety instructions and warnings carefully.

How to Use

The steps to use Windex and Glass Plus are the same.

Simply turn the nozzle to “ON” and apply the product directly to the surface. Then, wipe it off with a paper towel or lint-free cloth. I’ve found that a microfiber cloth, like E-cloth or Norwex, works the best.

Glass Plus Instructions

Avoid using Glass Plus on varnished surfaces because the formula can degrade or damage the varnish.

Tip: old, folded-up newspaper works well for a streak-free effect. Just make sure to wear gloves or use a larger piece of newsprint folded over multiple times, so the cleaner doesn’t soak through and get on your skin.

Test Results

It’s time to address the top question on your mind: which glass cleaner works better?

To find out, I put Glass Plus and Windex to the test. My goal was to observe which product cleaned each surface more effectively.

I chose Windex Ammonia-Free because Glass Plus doesn’t contain ammonia, and I wanted to get the most apple-to-apples comparison.

Glass Plus versus Windex_performance

I used both products to clean a glass table, mirror, and window. To get a fair comparison, I used the same amount of product and wiped it using a microfiber cloth with the same level of pressure.

Overall, both products performed incredibly well. The surfaces were covered in fingerprints, smudges, and other stains, and both cleaners removed 100% of the mess.

Both had the same mild odor. It wasn’t overpowering or unpleasant, but you could smell it if you got close enough to the surface. After a couple of minutes, the smell went away.

The only difference I noticed was that the Glass Plus formula was a bit soapier. After I sprayed it and wiped it once, a foamy streak appeared (see below). After wiping again with the dry side of the cloth, the foamy streak disappeared.

Streaks on a mirror from Glass Plus
Streaks on a mirror from Glass Plus

The Windex formula sprayed on smooth and didn’t develop any noticeable foaming or streaking. 

Besides that one minor difference, both Glass Plus and Windex Ammonia-Free were easy to use and did the job.

What Others Are Saying

My testing didn’t reveal any significant performance differences between Windex and Glass Plus, but several other companies conducted similar experiments.

Let’s review what those publications are saying.

Business Insider named Windex Original the “best overall” glass cleaner, giving it high marks for its ability to cut through a variety of messes. It is a time-tested and effective product thanks to the ammonia, which quickly breaks down tough-to-remove substances like grease, soap scum, oils, and dust.

The reviewers advise caution when using the spray on eyeglasses or laptop screens — always apply the spray to a cloth and then wipe the glass with it. They also warn consumers not to use the product on touchscreens (which are very sensitive and require specialty formulas).

Business Insider also named Glass Plus the “best ammonia-free” glass cleaner and praised it for its versatility and affordability. Since it’s ammonia-free, this cleaner isn’t limited to hard glass surfaces. They noted that you could also safely apply it to vinyl, plastics, fiberglass, and even washable wallpaper.

Respected home product blog Your Best Digs reviewed both Windex and Glass Plus in its updated “Best Window Cleaners” list. Windex received the highest ratings overall and was the blog’s “top pick.” The reviewers noted that it was easily the most reliable cleaner, especially when it came to stubborn messes that normally require a lot of scrubbing.

Glass Plus was given decent ratings but simply wasn’t as efficient as Windex. The reviewers noted that it sometimes left faint streaks on surfaces. Still, it was labeled as more than adequate for basic, at-home applications.

Good Housekeeping featured two Windex products on its list of the “best window cleaners,” rating the brand’s Original Glass Wipes as the best for “speed cleaning” and its outdoor window cleaning kit as the best for outdoor applications.

Popular home product review site The Spruce named Windex Original formula the “best budget” glass cleaner and praised its accessibility, effectiveness, and overall reliability.

Reviewer Bob Vila and his staff labeled the Windex Vinegar formula as highly effective as a multi-surface glass cleaner. The reviewers gave it the label of “best bang for the buck.”

Real Simple also listed Windex in its curated review of the “10 best glass cleaners for a streak-free finish.” They awarded the Windex Original formula the “most trusted” glass cleaner, citing reviews praising its grime-busting abilities, multiple applications, and reliability.

Generally, Windex was reviewed and rated more frequently than Glass Plus. Nevertheless, both achieved solid ratings.

Price

There are no significant variations between the cost of Glass Plus or Windex. Consequently, it shouldn’t be a factor in your overall purchasing decision.

Prices vary by retailer and the fluid ounces in the bottle you’re purchasing.

This price chart should give you a good idea of what you’d expect to pay for either brand:

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Bottom Line: Should You Choose Glass Plus or Windex?

Having looked at several differences between the Glass Plus and Windex brands, you should now feel a bit more confident about choosing the best option for you.

To review, Windex has a broader product range and also sells specialty cleaners for electronics and outdoor window applications. Glass Plus only sells its namesake product and has chosen to stick with this formula for many years.

Many of the active ingredients between the brands are the same. Glass Plus is ammonia-free; therefore, it’s best compared to the Windex Ammonia-Free formula, which is sold separately from its original solution (which includes Ammonia-D as a central ingredient).

The cleaners are both used the same way and share similar price points.

Windex is available in nearly every grocery and home improvement store and on Amazon. Glass Plus is harder to find in retail stores; you’re better off simply ordering it on Amazon.

The bottom line is that Windex has been more widely reviewed and is seen as the original glass cleaner. Glass Plus is a reliable product with excellent reviews and ratings, but it’s less available, only comes in one formula, and doesn’t receive as many accolades for its performance.

If you’re on the fence, go with Windex. It’s a well-established brand for a reason: it works. Plus, it comes in several formulas, including options that are Ammonia-free and vinegar-based.

Read more reviews and check the current prices of Windex and Glass Plus on Amazon at the links below:

Andrew Palermo Founder of Prudent Reviews

Andrew Palermo - About the Author

Andrew is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Prudent Reviews. He’s been studying consumer buying behavior for 10+ years and has managed marketing campaigns for over a dozen Fortune 500 brands. When he’s not testing the latest home products, he’s spending time with his family, cooking, and doing house projects. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn or via email.

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