Make Your Windows Shine With Two Common Household Ingredients

Photo by Linda Ly

Cleaning the windows and mirrors in my house is the least favorite of my chores. Not only is it tedious work, but the fumes from that dubious blue bottle of window cleaner makes you want to open all the windows — not close and clean them.

If you want an all natural, non-toxic solution that will make this task a little more pleasant, look no further than your kitchen pantry. The secret ingredients to making your windows shine are not only powerful and safe, but also common and cheap: vinegar and lemon.

As a highly acidic solution with antibacterial properties, distilled white vinegar has long been known as a workhorse in the home. It's useful for nearly every chore from removing stains to disinfecting surfaces, but where it unexpectedly shines (no pun intended) is in cleaning glass.

Vinegar removes scum and film from your windows, and leaves the glass streak- and smudge-free. As for lemon, you know that it excels in cutting grease and grime and polishing surfaces, which makes it a natural solution for bringing back the sparkle to your windows. In this case, it also adds a clean, fresh scent while you work (though the strong smell of vinegar gradually dissipates as it dries).

To make your own all natural window cleaner, combine equal parts vinegar and water in a small spray bottle. You can start with half a cup each, and make more as needed.

Add the juice from half a lemon to this solution. To keep the seeds and pulp from clogging the nozzle, strain the juice through a sieve and straight into the bottle. Shake well.

Photo by Linda Ly

When it comes time for cleaning, you don't even need a squeegee or a fancy chamois; plain old newspaper (preferably with soy-based ink) works well, as it won't leave fibers on the glass the way a cloth does. Just crumple it up and use it to wipe down your windows. Although your hand does get a bit dirty from the newspaper, it won't transfer to the glass — leaving the surface shiny and streak-free.

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About the Author

Linda Ly runs the award-winning blog Garden Betty, which chronicles her adventures in the dirt and on the road. Her first book, The CSA Cookbook, will be out March 2015.
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