One of the last jobs we usually get to in the house is cleaning the windows but the chore doesn’t mean that you have to buy special or expensive cleaners to get it done right.
If you have read some of our previous posts we have described how to formulate some of the household products that you use every day at pennies on the dollar. Now sometimes there is good reason to buy store brand products but thats only when they do a better job than what you can come up with.
I would always use a commercial brand rug soap in my rug cleaner because it just does the job better and you really don’t want to waste time or risk doing that job wrong because it takes half or the whole day to complete.
On the other hand there are many tasks that are better performed with soaps and cleaners that you make yourself. For instance bathroom cleaning I will normally use a generic abrasive cleaner in the toilet but on all of the other surfaces I use a mixture of homemade soap and even straight bleach in old spray bottles.
For your windows one of the best cleaners is Vinegar. If you can find it in your local market you can pick up a gallon of 5% vinegar which is much stronger than table or cooking vinegar. It is normally used for canning vegetables like cucumbers when making pickles but it also even states on the jug that it can be used for cleaning.
Now there are two basic types of household cleaners. There are ones based on Bleach that are great for surface disinfecting and ones based on vinegar or ammonia. I really don’t like using ammonia in my home it causes me breathing problems but any chemical that is sprayed both bleach and vinegar will cause you breathing problems if you inhale it. Make sure you don’t inhale the mist while spraying but once it is on the surface you should be good to go if you have some light air movement in the room.
From Chemistry class we learned that bleach is a base or alkaline on the opposite end of the spectrum is vinegar which is an acid.
Vinegar works real well on some jobs. If you have calcium deposits or in our case if you are cleaning windows.
To prepare the vinegar just pour it straight from the jug. It is at 5% solution so its really not too strong but its much stronger than what you will get in a cleaning product. I use a half size spray bottle with a spray head to apply it directly to the glass then using paper towels I remove it by wiping up and down. It is important to pick a direction when cleaning windows and up and down if it leaves any streaks will be easier on your eyes. Horizontal or circular streaks will have you cleaning them again just so you can see straight out the window. If you have a car you probably learned that on a early fall humid day when you had to wipe off the moisture inside the car.
If the window is really dirty then I will follow up with a homemade solution of soap that I make by filling my liquid clothes washing jugs about a quarter of the way full with water and shaking until I get all the residual soap out.
So, This is pretty inexpensive it might cost you 50 cents to do your whole house rather than $5 or more.
The bonus is your house smells like pickles for about an hour.
You should experiment making your own soaps and cleaners at home. The best way is to simply look at the bottle and find out what they’re putting in it. Look for percentages and then duplicate that or make it stronger.
I really like using straight bleach and straight vinegar when I need something strong.
But if you are using bleach remember to spray your hands with vinegar to neutralize it when you are done working. It works real well and almost instantly cuts that slippery bleach feel off your hands and stops it from causing damage to your skin.