We all love having streak-free windows, pristine mirrors, and shiny stainless steel appliances, but some commercial glass cleaners contain concerning chemicals that can pollute your home. Thankfully, there are some safer options available that will leave you with crystal-clear glass. Let’s explore why some commercial glass and window cleaners are unsafe and how to clean windows, windshields, and mirrors naturally, safely, and effectively.
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Concerning Chemicals in Glass Cleaners
Numerous commercial window cleaning solutions and glass wipes contain ammonia, synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, and toxic cleaning agents. Combining ammonia with bleach — whether intentionally or accidentally — creates toxic chloramine gas that can cause coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, or worse. Harsh glass cleaning products are especially concerning for pets, young children, or people with respiratory issues.
The popular Windex Glass Cleaner contains ammonia, synthetic fragrances, and hexoxyethanol, which can have respiratory effects, irritate the skin, and even damage vision. Spraying such products can trigger headaches; respiratory issues; dizziness; and eye, nose, and throat irritation. Also, the blue color can be appealing to young children, because it can look like a sports drink.
You can avoid exposure to harmful glass cleaning solutions by selecting safer products or making your own with safe ingredients. We have some suggestions for you.
How To Find Safer Window Cleaning Products
Selecting safer window cleaning products can keep toxins out of your home and help protect the environment.
Read Cleaning Product Labels
It can be difficult to decipher cleaning products’ ingredient lists, but there are some red flags that are easy to spot. For example, avoid products that contain synthetic fragrances, bleach, or ammonia. Also, if the glass cleaner label states “warning,” “danger,” or “poison,” it’s better to avoid it.
Third-Party Information on Glass Cleaners
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) rates window/glass cleaners to help shoppers find more natural alternatives to toxic window cleaners. Of the solutions it rated, 16 products scored an A, 12 scored a B, and 46 scored a D or F. This shows that, although there are numerous harmful window cleaners on the market, there are also some safe, nontoxic alternatives.
EWG’s Highest-Rated Glass/Window Cleaners
These products received an A or B from the EWG.
Safer Choice Certified Window Cleaners
Another way to spot environmentally friendly glass cleaners is to refer to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice database. The products that meet the Safer Choice selection criteria may display the logo on the product label.
Homemade Glass Cleaners
An easy way to use safer products to clean mirrors and glass is to make your own cleaning products with natural ingredients. Making DIY glass cleaners can also save money and help you avoid packaging waste. Some of the best DIY glass and window cleaner sprays contain vinegar, rubbing alcohol, and essential oils, such as lemon or orange.
Streak-Free Window Cleaner
Spray Solution Ingredients
- 2 cups warm water
- ½ cup vinegar
- ½ cup rubbing alcohol
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
Combine all of the ingredients in a jar or bottle with a lid and shake well until evenly mixed. Pour the cleaner into a spray bottle. Shake as needed before use.
Nontoxic Glass Cleaner
Spray Solution Ingredients
- ½ cup water
- 1 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
- 10 to 15 drops of essential oils, such as lemon or other citrus
Add all the ingredients to a jar or bottle with a lid and shake to combine. Pour the cleaner into a spray bottle. Gently shake before use.
Choose Safer Window Cleaning Products
It is very possible to have clean, streak-free windows and mirrors without exposing your family or pets to harmful chemicals. Switching to safer cleaning products helps make your home healthier and boosts indoor air quality, whether you try one of the safer commercial glass cleaners listed above or simply make your own with safe ingredients.