Life-Saver Window Cleaner

While I love sparkling clean windows, I have all my life been frustrated with cleaning windows.  I've always thought I must be the dumbest housewife ever, since I could never get my windows so sparkling clean  that I didn't mind if the sun was shining when guests came.
I have used every window cleaner suggested to me. The window cleaner that worked best for me had a unpleasant smell that lingered. If I could have achieved perfect results, I might have put up with the smell, but I didn't. I did the vinegar and water thing too, but wasn't happy, and I don't care for the smell of vinegar.
I followed every suggestion.  "Don't clean windows when the sun is shining on them, they dry too fast."  Right! The just cleaned window not in the sun - looks great! ~ until the sun comes round the corner with a smug smile that says ... "HA! gottcha!"  Yes, there are the streaks.

THEN ...
Last week I read a historical novel set in the mid/late 1800's.  In the story, the hotel housekeeper is trying to teach a high society girl how to clean - everything has to be spotless, including the windows.  I don't know where the author got the hint but the cleaning solution the housekeeper used was starch and water. You wipe the window with the solution, let it dry and then wipe off leaving the window streak-less and shiny! Really? and no odor?

Gotta try this one !!
So I experimented a little with proportions (of course the book never gave that -  only said so it looked right)

My solution recipe :
  • 2 rounded teaspoons of cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup of water 
  1. Stir until starch is completely dissolved. 
  2. I used toweling to dip into the solution and then wipe over the window. 
  3. Let dry completely - go do something else.. 
  4. Using newspaper, or toweling or lint-free cloth such as  a microfiber cloth, simply wipe off the dried solution!  and THEN ...  where did the glass go ? 
  5. A little solution goes a long way. 
NOTE ADDED -  it works better to wipe off when dry , rather than letting it sit too long. 

Below -- My before, during and after photos of the first two windows I cleaned - it is time for spring-cleaning, right?
(All photos were taken with the sun shining on the windows) 

                                                               Window below - dirty 

                                                Window with starch solution wiped on

Solution wiped off - Window squeaky clean ! 
Note - the star is blurred in this photo because the camera couldn't see the window to focus on it.

                                                              Window - dirty

 Window with solution wiped on 

Solution wiped off - Window squeaky clean  
(the outside of window needs cleaning too, I couldn't reach it - need husband with ladder!)

37 comments:

  1. That is crazy! Why do we (companies) complicate things with chemicals? Thank you so much for sharing this.

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  2. Thanks for sharing this! I am trying this today!!

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  3. Definitely going to try this, I've never been able to get the windows streak free no matter what I use.

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  4. I wonder if this is why Bon Ami powder works so well? Anyway, corn starch is cheaper so I'm going to give it a try.

    Sharon

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  5. I am going to try this. I love the results you got. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Oh, I can so relate to your story. Will definitely be giving this a try..
    Ruth

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  7. What was the novel that you were reading? :)

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    Replies
    1. Book title is ... Red Bird (Prairie Winds Book 2) by Stephanie Grace Whitson

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  8. Do you remember Glass Wax? Back in the fifties and sixties we would cut stencils and make snowflakes and snow scenes on the windows with Glass Wax. Nostalgia alert!

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  9. I too would love to know the name of the author and the book title. Thank you in advance.

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    Replies
    1. Book title is ... Red Bird (Prairie Winds Book 2) by Stephanie Grace Whitson

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  10. Julie...this is just in time. Today I had set aside some time for windows and my big sliding door tracks. I want them to glide. Any tips for that? I do have a fantastic store bought spray for this job but would rather use an old home remedy.

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  11. I have used this solution for years, but with the addition of a little fabric softener. I think the liquid fabric softener adds a nice fragrance and also prevents (for a short time at least) things sticking.

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  12. Such a great tip!! Thanks!!!

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  13. I used a separate spray bottle just for Windows, and it worked perfectly, with no need to let dry, separate wipe, works great on kitchen windows with oil buildup from cooking,,, equal parts, water, Windex, dish soap, and vinegar..perfect results, clean and clear..

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  14. Why not just use a microfiber cloth? Works well for me!

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  15. This is awesome, I can't wait to try this recipe. I remember years ago we used BonAmi on the window and used newspaper to wipe it down. It dried to a white powder and the windows were sparkling clean. Thanks so much for this tip Julie.
    Julia

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  16. Wow, this is weird. Now if someone could just help me to figure out what to clean my bathtub with. I think they call it acrylic. The no slid nubs are so dirty. I have tried everything. Googled it to death and nothing works. So frustrating. It has gotten worse since my water softener quit! Yikes!

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    1. I use a mixture of baking soda and castille soap (like Dr. Bronner's), and a rag dipped in warm water and wrung out. Sprinkle the baking soda in the tub, pour a little castille soap on top, and use the mixture to scrub. It won't help with stained porcelain, but it can be used to remove grease/fat from many surfaces including rubbery stuff. I've used this to clean my soft-grip bicycle handlebars, which are off-white and tend to show finger smudges after a while. It's also my standard sink and bathtub cleanser.

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  17. I have a lot of big windows, how much did you mix to do the windows you showed us the pictures of? The recipe you gave wouldn't go very far. But I sure need to try something different. Love all our big windows, love the sunshine,....hate the streaks!! Especially since its such a big job to get done, and then like you say when the sun comes out, it feels like you have to do it all over again.

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    Replies
    1. I found that a little goes a long way ... I did 6 windows including a patio door with the 1/2 cup solution ...

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  18. Wow, I want to give this a try. Thanks for sharing.

    Happy Spring ~ FlowerLady

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  19. just wondering.. after letting the solution dry, do you use a WET towel or newspaper to wipe it clean?

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    Replies
    1. Dry .. definitely dry ... I find one of those microfiber cloths are nice ...

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  20. You must ask Lovella for her best tip for cleaning windows. You’ll never go back. The exteriors of my windows need attention, but I must bide for a nice spring day with no snowbanks.

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  21. How interesting. I've never heard of this one. So glad you found a solution.

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  22. Oh wow. I am going to have to try this out! Thank you for the tip Julie.

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  23. We are getting ready to sell our house. I'm going to have to try this on our windows to highlight the views!
    Have you tried painting the solution on with a brush? Or does it need to be applied with a cloth?
    Also, is it a dry cloth you use to remove the solution?

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    1. I don't know what advantage a brush would be, you could try it, but I would think it would be messy, the liquid dripping from the brush. ... I just used a single sheet of toweling to wipe on the solution, worked great ... and yes... a dry cloth to wipe off the dried film.

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  24. You can tell it has been an awfully long winter! :-) People are pretty excited at the prospect of cleaning windows!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for a good laugh!!! I think we've all got cabin fever.

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  25. I tried this this morning..wiped 3 windows with the mix and went to the dentist. Got home just now and wiped it with a microfiber cloth. It worked pretty well, there were still a few places that seemed harder to wipe off so a few spots remain. I tried a solution a week ago that was nearly the same but also had vinegar in it. I'd say they both worked about the same but didn't leave vinegar one on, just squeegee'd it off. Thanks for the tip!

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  26. I just tried it for my spring window cleaning. It takes a little elbow grease to rub it off with a microfiber cloth, especially on the outside where I suspect it might have been more frozen than dried, but overall I'm quite pleased with the results. I used it on the mirrors too, and there I can really see the results.

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  27. I tried this following your instructions to the tee, using even less of the solution you're windows are showing and it was a complete disaster. Even after leaving on the windows for just a few minutes to dry, it was impossible for my husband and myself to wipe off with a microfiber cloth, paper toweling or newspaper. Windows had to be re-cleaned and wiped down with paper towelling before they finally came clean.
    This may be a good idea for some but it sure wasn't for us. Will stick to my Mother's tried and true hint of using warm water & a few drops of ammonia ( which I had hoped your hint would save us buying again ) that's never let us down.

    Joycelyn

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  28. I, too, found the solution to streak free glass and mirror cleaning after years of frustration. I was in Shipshewana, IN...in the Blue Gate Bakery...and bought some cloths called E-cloth. One was a general purpose cloth and the other was a glass polishing cloth. I use plain water on the general purpose cloth to wipe the window and dry it with the glass polishing cloth. This is the easiest way to clean glass and mirrors. I was astonished with the results and has since made the chore less grueling. I love this method.

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  29. I can't wait to try this! We are having a winter storm here today so my very dirty windows will have to wait a bit longer. I usually use my Norwex cloths with just water and that works well too. Bring on Spring!!!!

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