How To Clean A Window Or Mirror Without Windex

Have you ever gone to clean dirty windows only to discover that you’ve run out of Windex? The first time it happened to me, I was expecting guests, so there was no time to run to the store, but I desperately needed to clean my windows. What could I do?

Luckily, a quick Google search informed me that there are quite a few ways to clean windows and mirrors without using Windex. 

how to clean a window without windex

In this article, I’ll tell you everything I’ve learned about cleaning glass without a commercial cleaner and give you a few tips on getting a streak-free shine without stressing yourself out.

How To Clean Glass Without Glass Cleaner

Thanks to good marketing, glass cleaner has become a household staple for most people. Before I discovered that I had unexpectedly run out of cleaner, I didn’t even know you could clean glass without it.

Fortunately, there are many excellent alternatives to Windex and other commercial cleaners, most of which you can find right in your kitchen.

5 great class cleaner alternatives

1. Vinegar

Vinegar is an excellent all-natural cleaner that’s simple to use. All you need to do is fill a spray bottle with warm distilled white vinegar, spray it on your windows, and wipe it off with the lint-free tool of your choosing. 

If the smell of straight vinegar is too strong, you can mix a 50/50 solution of water and vinegar instead. You could also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to give it a fresh scent.

Just don’t use too much essential oil, or it could leave a residue on your surface.

2. Rubbing Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol, or rubbing alcohol, is a strong cleaner that dries faster than water, which makes it a good option for cleaning glass.

Many people find it too malodorous to use straight, so you should mix it with water before use. 

To harness the cleaning power of isopropyl alcohol, you can combine one cup of alcohol, one cup of distilled water, and one tablespoon of vinegar to make an excellent homemade glass cleaner.

Feel free to add a few drops of essential oil to improve the smell, taking care not to add so much that it will leave a residue.

3. Dish Soap

If the glass surface you’re washing is particularly grimy, like the outside of your windows, for example, you can use dish soap to clean them easily.

Just combine eight ounces of warm water with a drop or two of dish soap, spray the solution onto your surface, and wipe it off with the tool of your choosing.

4. Water

Given the popularity of window cleaners, cleaning glass with water alone seems like a solution that’s almost too good to be true.

Nevertheless, if your glass surface is relatively clean, you can make it shine by spraying it with distilled water and wiping it off with the tool of your choosing.

5. Shaving Cream

I was so surprised when I learned that you can clean glass with shaving cream. While it may seem strange at first, shaving cream is an excellent glass cleaner.

All you need to do is put a spot of shaving cream on your glass surface and use a microfiber cloth to apply it to the entire surface. 

As an extra bonus, shaving cream keeps glass from fogging up, so I like to use it on the mirrors in my bathrooms.

Just make sure you use cream rather than gel because the gel doesn’t have the same effect. 

Tips To Clean Your Windows Without Streaks

Here are a few tips to get a streak-free shine on your glass surfaces, for TV’s see our seperate guide as the process is different.

cleaning windows without streaks

Choose the Right Cleaning Tools

Many people clean their glass surfaces with paper towels and get frustrated with the outcome. That’s because paper towels leave lint behind, making it hard to get a streak-free shine.

Here are a few better alternatives:

  • Microfiber cloth: Microfiber cloths are the go-to for most housekeepers when it comes to small glass surfaces, like mirrors, small windows, or coffee tables. Unlike paper towels, they don’t leave lint, so when combined with the right products, they will make your glass shine.
  • Squeegee: Squeegees are valuable tools for large glass surfaces, like shower doors or giant windows. Getting the method down takes a little bit of practice, but it’s well worth learning to get a streak-free shine.

 If you decide to use a squeegee, make sure you scrub any heavy grime off of outdoor windows first; thickened dirt can ruin your squeegee’s rubber blade.

To get the best, streak-free cleaning with a squeegee, always ensure the rubber blades are sharp and keep two or three extras on hand, so you don’t run out unexpectedly.

  • A dryer sheet: The ingenuity of some people never ceases to amaze me. I would never have thought you could use a dryer sheet to clean glass, but apparently, it’s a great, lint-free solution if all of your microfiber cloths are dirty. They work so well because the fabric softener in dryer sheets contains ingredients that are meant to soften water deposits.

To clean glass with a dryer sheet, simply apply a little bit of your cleaning solution to the sheet, taking care not to soak it, then rub it on your glass surface in a circular motion.

Dryer sheets are especially effective on shower doors because the fabric softener they contain wipes away soap scum with ease.

  • A piece of newspaper: Using newspaper to clean glass has been passed down from generation to generation, but I was skeptical that it would work until I tried it myself. It turns out that your grandparents were right; newspaper is an excellent tool for cleaning glass surfaces. 

Cleaning windows and mirrors with newspaper is easy. Just spray your window with your cleaner, then wipe it off with newspaper, first scrubbing in a circular motion, then wiping horizontally and vertically to absorb all the liquid.

Change out your piece of newspaper when it gets too wet to soak up any more solution.

Methods Matter

How you clean glass is equally as important as what you clean it with. Here are a few ways to achieve a streak-free shine in no time.

  • Work quickly: Time is of the essence when you’re cleaning glass surfaces. If you leave your cleaning solution on your window for too long, it will dry there, making the whole surface look spotty and causing you a lot of grief to get the streak-free shine you’re looking for.
  • Start at the top: No matter what you’re cleaning, you should always start at the top and work your way down so that any dirt that isn’t immediately removed from the surface will be removed as you work your way to the bottom.
  • Use a circular motion: Cleaning in a circular motion is more efficient than cleaning horizontally or vertically. 
  • Clean often: If you clean your windows and mirrors frequently, there will be less dirt to remove. That means you won’t have to use strong products or as much elbow grease to get a streak-free shine.


If you need to clean your windows or mirrors but don’t have any glass cleaner, don’t despair. There are a lot of wonderful alternatives, including vinegar, rubbing alcohol, or even just distilled water.

Having the right tools for the job, like a lint-free microfiber cloth or a squeegee, will make it easy to get the streak-free shine you desire without using commercial cleaners.

Shauna Stone