Many commercial window cleaners are not only harmful for the environment, but will leave a waxy residue on the glass. Unless you have the right tools for the job, this residue will create streaks that will become extremely pronounced when the sun is shining on them. When you don't have access to commercial equipment, homemade cleaning solutions made from white distilled vinegar (which evaporates clear) is a more viable option.
Create a Cleaning Solution
If you haven't cleaned your windows for a while, they'll probably have a grimy coating as a result of the accumulation of dust and debris. Begin by mixing 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar, 2 teaspoons of dishwasher liquid and 2 litres of water together in a bucket – feel free to adjust the overall quantity, if required. Soak a microfiber cloth in the cleaning solution and scrub the windows. Don't worry about streaks or blemishes at this stage as your primary goal is to remove any unwanted residue.
When you've removed all of the dust and grime, start mixing together the secondary cleaning solution. This glass cleaner will leave your windows blemish-free and can be used on windows and glass both inside and outside of the house. Mix equal parts white distilled vinegar, water and isopropyl alcohol together in a spray bottle and give it a shake. Spray the solution directly on the windows and leave it to evaporate – no need to wipe.
Polish to a Shine
When the glass cleaner has dried, polish your windows with microfiber, lint-free cloths that can be washed and reused. Alternatively, use cellulose sponges as they are reusable and biodegradable. Avoid paper towels, newspaper or anything that is manufactured by trees and will end up in a landfill.
For the best results, leave your window cleaning until it's cloudy and work from the top down. If it's hot and sunny, the solution could dry too quickly and might leave streaks and blemishes. If you don't have isopropyl alcohol, you can use baking soda, lemon and/or cornstarch instead – feel free to experiment.
Whether you're cleaning windows, doors, roofs or walls, external house cleaning products need not be harmful to the environment. If you don't have the time or ingredients to create your own solutions, purchase "green" commercial alternatives. Just make sure they don't contain petroleum, ammonia or chlorine, as they these chemicals are harmful to both the environment and human health.