State University Extension
Home Maintenance And Repair - 01500200
In cleaning windows to remove soil and grease use an alkali, such as
ammonia or baking soda or washing soda.
To remove hard water deposits and some soils, use a weak acid such as
vinegar (a strong acid would etch the glass).
Never combine an acid and an alkali to clean glass. One partially
neutralizes the other and you waste these neutralized materials. Thus
do not mix vinegar and ammonia; use one or the other in your water
solution to get the full effectiveness of the one product used.
One popular "recipe" from a commercial product suggests combining
ammonia (a moderately strong alkali), baking soda (a mild alkali) and
vinegar (a weak acid) in water to clean glass. It gives good results
but you could get the same result by just using less ammonia without
the weaker alkali and the neutralization of the vinegar and part of the
Be careful not to drip alkaline or alcohol solutions on painted or
varnished woodwork as it can damage the finish.
Wring out a cloth, sponge, or chamois almost dry before wiping the
glass surface. Dry the wet surface with newspapers, paper towels,
window wipes, or a chamois. Try not to drip cleaning solution on
woodwork. Avoid washing windows in direct sunlight because they tend to
streak and are more difficult to clean.
Rubber squeegees with long handles are useful for reaching large or
high windows. When using a squeegee, stroke from top to bottom. Wipe
the squeegee after each stroke. Also convenient for cleaning
hard-to-reach windows is an extension wash brush (available in
automobile supply stores). The wash brush can be attached to a garden
This article was written by Anne Field, Extension Specialist, Emeritus,
with reference from Mary Ellen Delsipee and Isabel Jones, previous
to main page
This information is for
educational purposes only. References to commercial products or trade
names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or bias against those
not mentioned. This information becomes public property upon
publication and may be printed verbatim with credit to MSU Extension.
Reprinting cannot be used to endorse or advertise a commercial product
MSU is an
employer. Michigan State University Extension programs and materials
are open to all without regard to race, color, national origin, gender,
gender identity, religion, age, height, weight, disability, political
beliefs, sexual orientation, marital status, family status or veteran
status. Issued in furtherance of MSU Extension work, acts of May 8 and
June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Thomas G. Coon, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing,MI 48824. This
information is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial
products or trade names does not imply endorsement by MSU Extension or
bias against those not mentioned.
information.was reviewed as
of June 2008. For more information about the contents please
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