100 Day Challenge #47: Make your own eco glass cleaner
You need to clean your windows or mirrors, so you grab the bottle of Windex and the job is done. Have you ever thought of making your own window cleaner?
What's actually in a bottle of Windex?
First things first, let’s take a quick look into what’s in the list of Windex ingredients. We want to say off the bat that we don’t inherently have anything against this product, and in the scheme of things it’s one of the less harmful cleaning chemicals out there. We’ve chosen it because it’s the household name of glass cleaners and even a “harmless” cleaning product you buy at the store can surprise you with its ingredients.
The first surprise comes when you realize that the ingredients listed on the bottle is what we would call an abridged list. If you look at your bottle of Windex, the listed ingredients are, “Water, Carriers, Cleaning Agents, Wetting Agent, Fragrance, Dye.” Seems pretty straight forward and harmless with nothing you can’t pronounce… think again. You have to make your way to the Windex website to get the full list of ingredients and just for what they list as fragrance you have: benzyl acetate; butylphenyl methylpropional*; c9-11 pareth-3; citronellol*; citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) peel oil*; dipropylene glycol; ethoxydiglycol; hexyl cinnamal*; linalool*; terpineol*. That’s looking a bit more suspicious. Two of the ingredients (benzyl acetate and linalool) within the fragrance section are even considered by the EPA to have “some hazard profile issues. Specifically, a chemical with this code is not associated with a low level of hazard concern for all human health and environmental endpoints.”
We know it’s not feasible to go to the EPA Safer Choice website every time you want to evaluate a product's ingredients, so here’s a quick tip. Try to stay away from fragrances and dyes simply because you know they’re synthetic and most times you have no clue what they’re made of. Even though we’ve all been conditioned to believe that a lemon or fresh spring scent means a clean house, artificial fragrances have actually been linked to quite a large number of healthhealthhealthhealth risks. Across multiple research studies, chemicals used to make fragrances are classified as allergens, hormone disruptors, asthma triggers, neurotoxins & carcinogens. Long story short, they’re toxic.
Enough about Windex. How can you make your own glass cleaner?
Making your own glass cleaner is super easy and it works great! Word of caution: once you make your own, you might start feeling like you have been cheated into thinking you needed to spend all that money on Windex to get clean windows. Here are a few reasons why we love this easy and simple DIY alternative to store-bought glass cleaner.
It's environmentally friendly. You make it when you need it and can reuse your spray bottle each time. Another way to say no to single use plastic; think of all those containers that won’t be going to the landfill!
It costs about a third of the price of a store bought window cleaner.
You know what the earth-friendly ingredients are, and you’re not bringing a bunch of unidentified formulas and agents into your home.
You need just a few ingredients. If you feel as though you want to adjust the formula a bit, you can certainly do that. Some people add alcohol to the formula to cut through stubborn grime. This could not be simpler and easier.
All you need is:
1 part water
1 part white vinegar
3 drops of your favorite (eco-friendly) dishwashing liquid
If the homemade route isn’t really your thing, then next time you’re in the market for some window cleaner, spend a little extra time at the grocery store to find one that’s a bit cleaner and safer. We’re fans of Seventh Generation products but there are lots of options out there.