I'm all out of Windex/glass cleaner and I want to clean a very dirty window without leaving streaks. I have both a microfiber cloth and paper towels available. What can I use instead of glass cleaner?

10 Answers 10


You can use straight white vinegar and newspaper to clean glass very well. Spray some vinegar on the surface to be cleaned, then use the newspaper to wipe away dirt and grime. I would recommend wearing gloves to keep from getting any ink on your hands.

This method, although super simple and great for people prone to bad reactions to chemical cleaners, might leave some streaks. (I've never noticed any, but I've heard other people complain about it, so maybe it's a technique thing?) Depending on the amount of dirt, it also might require a little more elbow grease than desired.

In any case, there are many variations on this theme. This article from Mrs. Clean provides a specifically streak-free formula using ammonia, vinegar, cornstarch, and water, as well as some extra tips on cleaning all things window related.

Good luck!


In India we use cheap and best glass cleaner called 'vibhuti'(It is a whitish soft powder which is produced after baking cow dung cakes).

  • Take a cup of vibhuti, mix it with a cup of water to form a paste.
  • Smear this paste all over the glass & let it dry for 3 minutes.
  • Use 100% cotton cloth to wipe up.

With a single wipe your glass will be clean & super shiny.


Get a bucket or container, put in warm water, a squirt of washing up liquid and a slosh of vinegar - wash the window with this, preferably using a cloth (dishcloth, old teeshirt, whatever, but not a microfibre cloth). Now get another bucket or bowl, this time with plain water and more vinegar (about 1 to 2 tablespoons to 4 pints) and rinse with that, sloshing it on with another cloth, or if you can, throwing it over the glass (depends where the glass is, if its outdoors, throw it on to rinse off the soapy stuff). If you've got a squeegee, wipe off the rinse water with that, or let it drain down naturally - letting it drain naturally doesn't leave smears, but anything that doesn't run off in terms of water droplets might leave a mark. Doesn't matter what kind of vinegar, so long as its real vinegar.


A mixture of equal parts of water and regular vinegar (white distilled or cider) works well. The vinegar smell will disappear quickly.


White vinegar works as others have said. If you have rubbing alcohol it can be mixed with the vinegar. I would use the paper towels rather than the microfiber as they can be a bit more abrasive for cleaning stubborn grime.


All you need is water and dish washing liquid (preferably Dawn). Just do like one to two little squirts of dish washing liquid per gallon of water. Works great.

Don't use paper towels! They can scratch the glass! I also hear that they produce static electricity which will attract dust back to the windows!

Preferably, use a squeegee for washing windows. Doesn't have to be an expensive one. If you don't want to get a squeegee, a microfiber cloth that you already have is a good alternative.

  • Why "preferably Dawn"?
    – bjb568
    Jun 22, 2015 at 21:35
  • @bjb568 b.c it's the best dish liquid available in my experience, in that it really does a good job getting rid of dirt and crap without having to use much of it at all. Pretty sure that's what a lot of pros use too.
    Jun 23, 2015 at 2:30
  • 1
    Blue (specifically) Dawn is so good that I use it to clean optics for research and development. Nothing works so well to clean telescope mirrors and laser optics. It has no fragrances or additives and leaves no residue. It is the purest detergent available. I've been using it for over 25 years. I used to use 50 Green (liquid medicinal green soap) but Blue Dawn is equal or better.
    – Stan
    Aug 21, 2016 at 13:58

Here's the official Lifehacks technique to use when you clean windows to save time and effort. It works with every liquid cleaning solution from technological to ecological. It's not only what you use but how you use it.

When cleaning the exterior of the windows, use all the same direction for your strokes.
Use a different direction for the strokes for the inside surfaces.

For example: use only vertical strokes when cleaning the exterior and only horizontal strokes for the interior surfaces or vice-versa.
When you're finished and you examine your work, if you do see a smear or a mark—You'll know immediately by the direction of the smear which side of the glass it's on to remove it completely.


Use methylated spirits in place of windex. Spray it on and wipe off in exactly the same way you would use windex.


You can just simply use warm water, sponge and vinegar.DO NOT USE PAPER!! I've tried it and it is not very smooth and scratches the glass.


Very simple to use rubbing alcohol mixed with water -- I use paper towels to wipe dry -- never had a problem with streaks also do this with my glass coffee table!

  • 1
    That answer has already been given.
    – Chenmunka
    Jan 2, 2019 at 10:21
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