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The 6 Best Alternatives to Windex Glass Cleaners

When it comes to cleaning mirrors, windows, and all things glass, Windex is the number one brand.

But if you don’t have it handy, or you’re looking for a more natural or less expensive option, you’ve come to the right place.

In this article, I’ll share the six best Windex alternatives. These alternatives are ideal if you’re looking to:

  • Make your own cleaning solution with common household items
  • Use a more natural option with fewer chemicals
  • Save money with a less expensive formula

Let’s dive right in!


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Windex Alternative 1: Dish Soap, Vinegar, and Water

If you want a simple, eco-friendly Windex alternative, try this homemade cleaning solution. It’s a simple, three-ingredient solution that only takes a couple of minutes to make.

Dish detergent vinegar and water Windex alternative

To make this Windex alternative, you’ll need: 

  • Glass spray bottle (at least 20-ounce capacity)
  • Liquid measuring cup with spout
  • Tablespoon
  • Teaspoon
  • Degreasing dish soap (like Dawn)
  • Distilled white vinegar (or cleaning vinegar)
  • Water
  • Funnel (optional)

To make the DIY glass cleaning solution:

  1. Place a funnel into the open spray bottle.
  2. Measure two cups of water and pour it into the funnel.
  3. Add three tablespoons of white vinegar to the funnel.
  4. Add one-half teaspoon of dishwashing liquid.
  5. Remove the funnel and screw the trigger sprayer in place.
  6. Shake the solution to mix evenly.

Pros of This Alternative

This Windex alternative has plenty of perks:

  • Unlike Windex, which contains ingredients like ammonium hydroxide and sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate, the ingredients for this cleaner are simple and safe.
  • This option is a fraction of the cost of Windex; you can even buy the ingredients in bulk and make multiple bottles to place around your home.
  • This mixture has fewer chemicals than Windex (the dish soap adds a negligible amount)
  • Most likely, you have the ingredients in your home right now, as well as an old spray bottle.
  • Choosing a degreasing dish soap helps break down any grease or buildup on glass.
  • Like Windex, you can use this mixture on any glass surface — even soap scum-laden shower doors.
  • It has a light scent; some people find Windex to have too strong of a smell.

Cons of This Alternative

Of course, there are some downsides to using this solution.

  • First, it’s not 100% chemical-free; the degreasing dish soap adds chemicals to the mix. Mind you, it is a small amount, but if you want a truly natural solution, this isn’t your best bet. Still, it has way fewer chemicals than Windex.
  • Second, vinegar is naturally acidic and can damage marble countertops or anything made of natural stone. So, you need to be careful where you spray the mist. Yet, Windex is similar; both options will dull stone.
  • Next, the addition of soap (although minimal) can leave residue, possibly causing streaks that could build up over time or at least require some extra elbow grease to ensure a streak-free finish. Windex is designed to deliver a streak-free result without extra work.
  • Additionally, dish soap bumps up the price a bit. Later in this article, I cover alternatives that use fewer ingredients and cost less.
  • Also, you’ll incur the cost of purchasing a glass spray bottle. Vinegar will naturally eat away at plastic, so a glass bottle is necessary. If you must use plastic, choose ones that can withstand vinegar (HDPE- or PETE-stamped).
  • Finally, this Windex alternative features added fragrance and dye from the dish soap. If you want a dye-free and fragrance-free option, try a solution that only uses natural ingredients.

Bottom Line

A solution of dish soap, vinegar, and water is an excellent alternative to Windex. It’s easy to make, inexpensive, and doesn’t have a harsh smell.

Yet, it contains dyes and artificial fragrances. Other alternatives are completely natural, but this one is effective and has a lower toxicity level than Windex.

Windex Alternative 2: Vinegar and Water

This next Windex alternative is simple to make and only requires two ingredients: vinegar and water. If you want a natural alternative to Windex, this is an excellent option.

Vinegar and water windex alternative

To make this Windex alternative, you’ll need:

  • Glass spray bottle (at least 20-ounce capacity)
  • Liquid measuring cup with spout
  • Distilled white vinegar (or cleaning vinegar)
  • Water
  • Funnel (optional)

To make the DIY glass cleaning solution:

  1. Place the funnel into the open spray bottle.
  2. Add one-half cup of water to the funnel.
  3. Add one and one-half cups of white vinegar to the funnel.
  4. Remove the funnel and screw the trigger sprayer in place.

Pros of This Alternative

Here are some of the benefits of using this Windex alternative:

  • Like any DIY solution, you can keep reusing the same bottle instead of purchasing Windex over and over and then throwing out the bottles.
  • Windex has artificial fragrances and dyes; this solution is dye- and artificial fragrance-free.
  • The active ingredient is white vinegar, and it only requires a small amount, so you can buy a bulk container for a price less than Windex and make multiple containers.
  • Unlike Windex, this mixture is completely non-toxic.
  • Like all other DIY solutions in this article, this option is ammonia-free. Windex uses ammonia in most of its formulas, which in large doses can be toxic, and, in small doses, can cause eye and respiratory distress. In short, skip it if you can.
  • Finally, you likely already have white vinegar at home, so this is a quick and easy-to-make solution.

Cons of This Alternative

Even though this solution is simple and non-toxic, it has some drawbacks.

  • The cleaning power of vinegar cannot be disputed. Unfortunately, neither can the smell. It is often the base in many DIY cleaning solutions, and it has a strong odor.
  • Also, mixing vinegar and water produces a thin solution, so you may have challenges removing tough grime. The acetic acid can cut grease, soap scum, and grime, but you may need a higher ratio of vinegar to water for better results.
  • For better results, you may have to pay extra for white cleaning vinegar, which has a higher level of acidity. That increases the cost of the solution, but it also can make it more effective (and smellier).

Bottom Line

A simple water and vinegar solution is an excellent Windex alternative because it’s non-toxic, dye-free, ammonia-free, and artificial fragrance-free. Plus, it’s inexpensive and easy to make.

Alternatively, it has a pungent odor, might not remove dirt like Windex, and may take a few tries to get just the right cleaning ratio — especially if you notice streaking or poor cleaning performance.

Windex Alternative 3: Alcohol, Vinegar, Cornstarch, and Water

Next on the list is a four-ingredient glass cleaner with an added boost for a streak-free result. The secret ingredient? Cornstarch.

To make this Windex alternative, you’ll need:

  • Glass spray bottle (at least 20-ounce capacity)
  • Liquid measuring cup with spout
  • Tablespoon
  • Whisk or mixing spoon
  • Distilled white vinegar (or cleaning vinegar)
  • Cornstarch
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hot or warm water
  • Funnel (optional)

To make the DIY glass cleaning solution:

  1. Place the funnel into the open spray bottle.
  2. Add one-half cup of rubbing alcohol to the funnel.
  3. Add one-quarter cup of white vinegar to the funnel.
  4. Measure out one cup of hot or warm water.
  5. Add two tablespoons of cornstarch to the hot or warm water and mix until it dissolves.
  6. Pour the cornstarch/water mixture into the funnel.
  7. Remove the funnel and screw the trigger sprayer in place.
  8. Shake the bottle to mix ingredients well.

Pros of This Alternative

Here’s why you should try this homemade glass cleaner instead of Windex:

  • One benefit of Windex is that it offers a streak-free shine. This DIY glass cleaner can do the same thing, but without harsh chemicals.
  • This solution is cheaper than Windex. All ingredients are inexpensive and can be purchased in bulk if desired.
  • Since this mixture uses only a small amount of vinegar, the smell won’t be as strong as other DIY glass cleaners or Windex.
  • This glass cleaning alternative is non-toxic, while Windex contains chemicals like ammonia.
  • These ingredients may already be in your home, so you can try this alternative without going to the store. 
  • The addition of cornstarch breaks water bonds that form on glass surfaces and makes this mixture as effective as Windex in delivering a streak-free result.
  • The cornstarch also acts as a thickener, preventing the mixture from dripping quickly down a window or mirror. You can spray without having to wipe it immediately.
  • This option doesn’t leave the residue that dishwashing soap can.
  • The alcohol and vinegar both help to disinfect surfaces without chemicals.

Cons of This Alternative

As good as this formula is, it has a few issues:

  • It takes more effort than other alternatives since it requires some mixing. You’ll also have to shake it well before each use to make sure all ingredients are blended well, as cornstarch can settle at the bottom.
  • It uses rubbing alcohol, which can be harmful if swallowed. Keep this cleaner away from children and pets.
  • This mixture may smell unpleasant. But, it only contains a small amount of vinegar, so it won’t be as intense as formulas that require more.

Bottom Line

A mix of rubbing alcohol, vinegar, cornstarch, and water is an excellent Windex alternative because it’s non-toxic, relatively easy to make, streak-free, and inexpensive.

However, there is still the issue of the smell of vinegar. While it dissipates quickly, it can be unpleasant while you clean.

Windex Alternative 4: Essential Oil, Alcohol, Cornstarch, and Water

All of the other DIY glass cleaning solutions in this article contained vinegar; this one doesn’t. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, here is a Windex alternative that you can customize with natural fragrances.

To make this Windex alternative, you’ll need:

  • Glass spray bottle (at least 20-ounce capacity)
  • Liquid measuring cup with spout (at least 2-cup capacity)
  • Tablespoon
  • Lemon or orange essential oil (or both)
  • Whisk or mixing spoon
  • Cornstarch
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hot water
  • Funnel (optional)

To make the DIY glass cleaning solution:

  1. Place the funnel into the open spray bottle.
  2. Pour one cup of hot water into a measuring cup.
  3. Add four tablespoons of cornstarch to the water.
  4. Mix the cornstarch in until it fully dissolves.
  5. Add one cup of rubbing alcohol to the solution.
  6. Add at least 20 drops of each essential oil.
  7. Mix the solution again.
  8. Pour the blended solution into a spray bottle.
  9. Remove the funnel and screw the trigger sprayer in place.
  10. Shake the bottle to mix ingredients well.

Pros of This Alternative

This method has some great benefits, including:

  • A pleasant smell. The addition of orange or lemon oil means no harsh vinegar smells.
  • Unlike Windex, this solution is environmentally friendly.
  • The orange essential oil acts as a degreaser, the lemon is believed to be effective in killing germs, and the cornstarch provides a streak-free result.
  • This homemade glass cleaner is easy to make, and a little goes a long way.

Cons of This Alternative

Of course, there are some downsides to consider. 

  • Although this formula has a pleasant citrus smell, quality essential oils can be pricey, making this DIY formula more expensive than Windex.
  • This solution is only for cleaning glass; never use it on natural stone or wood. Essential oils can impact and alter many surfaces.
  • You’ll need to shake it every time before using it to keep the ingredients blended. The cornstarch can eventually clump and clog the spray nozzle if you skip this step.
  • If you’re not a fan of using rubbing alcohol, this option probably isn’t for you. It’s harmful if ingested, so you will need to keep it away from pets and children.

Bottom Line

This Windex alternative offers a streak-free finish and can cut through tough grime on glass. It is fairly easy to make and leaves behind a pleasant smell.

However, using quality essential oils increases the price, making this one of the most expensive DIY glass cleaner recipes. Plus, if you don’t keep shaking the solution, it can cake up and clog the spray nozzle.

Windex Alternative 5: Glass Plus

If you’re looking for a Windex alternative but don’t have the time or patience to mix your own formula, consider Glass Plus.

Glass Plus alternative to Windex

Pros of This Alternative

Here are a few upsides of Glass Plus:

  • Unlike Windex’s original formula, Glass Plus is ammonia-free. Ammonia, also known as ammonia hydroxide, is an effective grease and grime cutter. But, it can irritate your eyes, skin, and respiratory system.
  • It’s more versatile than Windex because it’s not only safe to use on glass and mirrors but also on plastic, computer screens, fiberglass, plexiglass.
  • It’s ready to spray, just like Windex. No mixing or portioning is necessary.

Cons of This Alternative

There are some cons to choosing Glass Plus.

  • It costs about the same as Windex. So, you don’t save any money by making the switch.
  • It’s not non-toxic. Similar to Windex, some ingredients cause health and environmental concerns, such as sulfates.
  • Glass Plus is not always as easy to find as Windex. It’s available on Amazon, but many stores don’t carry it.
  • I tested it head-to-head against Windex, and after wiping once, Glass Plus left behind a slightly foamy streak. I removed the streak by wiping it again with the dry side of the cloth, but I didn’t have to wipe twice with Windex.

Bottom line

Glass Plus is a solid alternative to Windex if you prefer an ammonia-free solution and don’t want to try a DIY solution.

Yet, it’s not non-toxic, costs the same, and isn’t as widely available.

Windex Alternative 6: Seventh Generation Free & Clear Glass Cleaner

If you’re looking for an off-the-shelf alternative to Windex that’s non-toxic and made with plant-based ingredients, try Seventh Generation Free & Clear Glass Cleaner.

Seventh Generation Glass Cleaner, Free & Clear, 23 Fluid Ounce

Seventh Generation is one of the leaders in the movement to produce healthier, more eco-friendly cleaning and personal care products, and this is just one of its many plant-based products.

Pros of This Alternative

Here are the main advantages of using Seventh Generation instead of Windex:

  • It’s a biodegradable and plant-based formula made with the environment and your health in mind.
  • Unlike Windex, it is fragrance- and dye-free and is an EPA Safer Choice Product.
  • 96% of its ingredients are biobased, making it a USDA-Certified Biobased Product. Windex does not share this designation.
  • The Spruce named it the “Best Natural Glass Cleaner.”
  • Unlike Windex, it’s safe to use other surfaces besides glass, including stainless steel, acrylic, laminate, vinyl flooring, wood (finished or unfinished), and others.
  • It is ready to use straight from the bottle, making it as convenient as Windex.

Cons of This Alternative

There are a few downsides to using Seventh Generation Free & Clear Glass Cleaner.

  • Its unique plant-based formula makes it more expensive than Windex and most of the other alternatives.
  • Besides cost, tests show that it does not perform as well as Windex.
  • It’s not as easy to find as Windex. Seventh Generation has made a name for itself, and their products are available in most grocery stores and major retailers like Target and Walmart, but not every store carries it.

Bottom line

If you are looking for a plant-based glass cleaner, Seventh Generation is an excellent Windex alternative. It’s fragrance- and dye-free and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals, making it a safer choice.

The main downside is that it costs more than Windex per ounce.

Which Windex Alternative Is Best for You?

Now that you know six different Windex alternatives, it’s time to decide which one is right for you.

Before you choose, let’s consider these questions:

How do you plan to use it?

For heavy messes, stick with formulas that have ingredients to cut through the grease and grime, like dish soap or vinegar.

Do you want a streak-free result?

Try the DIY formula that contains cornstarch. Cornstarch naturally breaks water bonds, eliminating moisture that can result in streaks.

Do you want to make your own solution?

If you love all things DIY, try the homemade solutions in this article and tweak them until you are satisfied. You might find you want to use more or less vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or essential oils.

Are you looking for a more natural alternative?

Try one of the DIY alternatives or the Seventh Generation Free & Clear Glass Cleaner.

Are you on a budget?

Try simple DIY solutions (like water and vinegar) or an inexpensive ready-made product like Glass Plus.

Think about why you want to replace Windex in the first place. Do you want an ammonia-free product? Does the smell irritate you?

I recommend the DIY solution of dish soap, vinegar, and water if you want to make it yourself. Dish soap cuts grease better than vinegar and water alone.

If you want a pre-made glass cleaner, I recommend Seventh Generation. It has safe, plant-based ingredients, and you can use it on multiple surfaces.

Finally, I recommend using lint-free microfiber cloths for cleaning glass instead of paper towels to get the best results. I’m a fan of E-Cloth. Their microfiber cloths are cheaper than Norwex and just as effective.

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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