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3 DIY Outdoor Glass-Cleaning Solutions for Sparkling Windows

A little girl washing the outside of a glass patio door.

Cleaning your windows on the outside doesn’t have to be a smelly, frustrating chore. Armed with these DIY washing solutions, every window in your home will soon be sparkling clean, and you won’t even have to touch (or smell) any harsh chemicals.

Washing windows inside and out is a household task that isn’t much fun, but has to be done pretty regularly to prevent any long-term buildup from forming on the glass. If you’re heading outside to scrub those panes, mix up one of these solutions from products you probably already have under the sink.

Not only will your windows be more sparkly than ever, you’ll be helping the environment (and saving cash) by avoiding the unpleasant smell of harsh chemical cleaners.

Vinegar and Dish Soap

A bottle of vinegar next to cleaning tools; a clear spray bottle next to a sink
Lucy’s/Sally’s Organics

White vinegar is a time-tested ingredient for getting surfaces clean without the harsh effects of chemical solutions. When combined with dish soap, which gently, but thoroughly, cuts through grime, you get a cleaning solution that works perfectly on both interior and exterior glass.

Lucy's Family Owned - Natural Distilled White Vinegar

A key ingredient for streak-free glass cleaning.

Dawn Ultra Dishwashing Liquid

Cuts through even tough outdoor grime.

Even better, this mixture will leave you with streak-free, shiny and clear windows. Follow these easy steps to make your vinegar-based cleaning solution:

  1. In a spray bottle, combine 1/3 cup of white vinegar with 1/2 teaspoon of dish soap.
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle with warm, distilled water.
  3. Spray on the outside of your window, and then wipe with a microfiber cloth until clean.

It does matter what kind of cloth you use on your windows. The wrong one can shed bits of fiber that will cling to your window or create microscratches. If the latter builds up over time, you could end up with cloudy windows.

A microfiber cloth is best for glass because it’s effective and also super-gentle on surfaces.

MR.SIGA Microfiber Cleaning Cloth

Get a smooth, scratch-free window every time.

Lemon Juice and Dish Soap


The acidity of lemon juice also makes it an excellent cleaner. Coupled with a boost from dish soap, it can cut right through all the dust, dirt, rainwater stains, and other debris that’s gotten stuck to your windows all fall and winter. Plus, it smells amazing!

Iberia Lemon Juice from Concentrate, 32 fl. oz.

A great-smelling, all-natural cleaning ingredient.

Follow these steps to get fresh-looking (and fresh-smelling) windows every time:

  1. In a spray bottle, combine 1/4 cup of pure lemon juice with 1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish soap.
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle with warm, distilled water.
  3. Spray on the surface of the window, and then wipe with a microfiber cloth until clean.

Sally's Organics Empty Clear Glass Spray Bottles

Environmentally friendly, and easy to clean and reuse.

Vinegar and Rubbing Alcohol

Two windows being cleaned with a squeegee tool

Love the cleaning power of vinegar but want even more assurance that you won’t be left with streaks? Try this solution made with plain old rubbing alcohol. It has cleaning power on its own, but we’ll help you mix up a solution that will evaporate faster. This means fewer streaks and drip spots will be left behind.

Follow this basic recipe for an easy, streak-free window solution:

  1. In a spray bottle, combine 4 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol with 3 tablespoons of white vinegar.
  2. Fill the rest of the bottle with tepid, distilled water.
  3. Spray on the surface of the window, and then wipe with a microfiber cloth until clean.

Dealmed Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol 70%

Fast evaporation means fewer spots and streaks.

For even more reassurance that your windows will remain shiny and residue-free, consider mixing your solution in a bucket and using a squeegee, like this one from ITTAHO.

The microfiber pad and extendable handle make it much easier to clean all those hard-to-reach places, like those that are over your head. It’ll leave every inch of your windows gleaming and clean.

ITTAHO Squeegee for Window Cleaning

Clean even those high spots and odd corners.

Unger Professional Heavy Duty Bucket, 6 Gallons

Wide enough to accommodate a squeegee.

Cleaning windows—especially on the outside—isn’t a chore most people look forward to. However, you don’t have to head to the store for any special chemicals or tools. You can whip up any of these excellent, eco-friendly cleaning solutions using products you probably already have. Oh yeah, and they’ll clean the inside, too.

Amanda Prahl Amanda Prahl
Amanda Prahl is a freelance contributor to LifeSavvy. She has an MFA in dramatic writing, a BA in literature, and is a former faculty associate focusing on writing craft and history. Her articles have appeared on HowlRound, Slate, Bustle, BroadwayWorld, and ThoughtCo, among others. Read Full Bio »
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