Spring is in the air, it’s the perfect time to freshen up the house, purge unwanted items, and welcome the change of seasons with a little spring cleaning.

A clean house can be good for your health, energy, and well-being – but getting started can be overwhelming.

Make this amazing glass cleaner recipe, then employ it using the spring cleaning tips below.


Homemade glass cleaner recipe

Cleaning windows is always an important task on my spring cleaning list. I usually neglect my windows all winter, and it’s nice to see the sun shining through my sparkling windows again in spring. My favorite glass cleaner includes alcohol, a trick professional window washers use to eliminate streaking and residue.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup high proof alcohol (Everclear, vodka, etc.)
  • ¼ cup white vinegar (Find white vinegar here.)
  • ½ teaspoon liquid soap, optional for really dirty surfaces (Do not use castile soap.)
  • water

Directions:

Combine alcohol and vinegar in a bucket. Add enough water to make ½ gallon. Add optional liquid soap and stir gently to combine. Pour into spray bottle and store the rest in a clean, well-labeled container with a tight-fitting lid. Use to clean windows, mirrors, glass tables, or even countertops. Spray on surface and wipe clean with a soft, dry cloth.

Homemade Glass Cleaner

Note: Avoid cleaning windows when sun is shining on them. Warm windows will show streaks after drying.

Next up, check out these tips to spruce things up, clear out clutter, and get your cleaning groove on!

Spring cleaning tips

Getting started is the hardest part. The task may seem too large and you may be lacking a plan. Fix yourself a tall, tasty glass of something, turn on some music to keep you moving, and get ready for a cleaning whirlwind!

1) Start with a small space: Choose a corner of a room or a closet and FOCUS. Setting a time limit and sticking to it will help you avoid spending your whole day on one unnoticeable project. The goal is to cover several areas of the house and get a lot accomplished.

2) Organize and purge: Attack each space with a very objective eye. Attempt to simplify the space (and your life) by eliminating things that are duplicate items, don’t fit, are no longer used, or don’t work. Have empty bins or trashbags waiting nearby so you can toss/recycle, sell, or donate anything you part with. Don’t allow yourself to play with long-lost items you uncover while organizing; this will slow you down. Give yourself no more than 10 seconds to consider each item and make a decision to keep or purge.

Have a goal in mind when organizing, it motivates you to purge more. Maybe you want to reduce clutter in the linen closet so items on each shelf can be contained to 12″ x 12″ baskets, or reduce toys in a child’s room so everything fits into one large toy box. Set realistic goals for your lifestyle and keep them in mind as you organize and purge. If you’re having trouble parting with something, take a picture of it. Photos are much easier to store than bulky objects. Chances are you’ll never miss it.


3) Clean from top to bottom: Once things are organized and condensed, gather cleaning supplies and prepare to get down and dirty. A good rule of thumb when cleaning is to clean from top to bottom. (Rationale: If you vacuum before dusting or wiping off surfaces, you’ll end up with crud on your clean floors.) You may even want to start as high as the ceiling fans if you’re feeling ambitious, working your way down to walls/windows, shelves/countertops, furniture, and lastly, floors. Fill a bucket with supplies and non-toxic cleaners that you can carry from room to room. Here are some items I include in my cleaning bucket:

  • lots of microfiber cloths, clean rags, and sponges – that can be washed and reused
  • cleaning gloves – to save my hands
  • homemade glass cleaner – use the above recipe for windows, mirrors, sinks, and most countertops
  • dusting spray – for all my wooden surfaces
  • a shaker of baking soda – for scouring tough grime and carpet freshening
  • (and my vacuum usually gets toted along too!)

More cleaning day strategies

  • Open windows if possible; dust and dirt might be stirred up while cleaning, so let some fresh air into your space.
  • Have lots of cleaning rags, sponges, or old t-shirt pieces on hand to save waste from paper towels.
  • Don’t forget to take breaks during a long cleaning spree! Set a timer if you must, and take breaks for drinks and snacks to sustain energy.
  • (Shameless plug for our book…) If you’re interested in making all your own homemade cleaners, check out DIY Natural Household Cleaners (print and ereader editions available).
  • Have a cleaning party – invite your spouse, roommate, or children to pitch in and share the responsibility.
  • Make the best of your cleaning day by allowing yourself to have fun! Get out your 80’s dance mix, sing along, and let the neighbors wonder what all the raucous is about.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew with spring cleaning, just tackle what you have energy for. Once it’s done you’ll be able to relax in your organized, uncluttered, clean home. Time to channel your inner Tasmanian Devil and start moving!

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References and Resources

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Comments

  1. says

    In the winter, I clean my windows, on average, of once a week. The propane gas logs emission makes a film over the windows that prevents both sun and view from shining through. Then again, when one has a view such as mine, window cleaning ranks right up there with healthful meals and clean laundry.
    Other times during the year, I’m generally working outside and window cleaning isn’t as important.
    As to cleaning supplies, old and worn cotton clothing are cut into rags and kept in a bucket where they are easy to grab. I use a lot of paper towels and don’t apologize; with 5, sometimes 6 dogs and 3 cats paper towels are a necessity in my household. We all have areas where we splurge and where we save; buying and using paper towels is my splurge.
    Dusting spray – stopped using it as it only serves to attract dust. I now mix Murphy’s Oil Soap with water to clean my wooden furniture, cabinets, etc. It works much better at getting rid of dust, dirt and grime plus it refreshes the wood.
    Baking soda with cinnamon added freshens rugs before I vacuum.

    • Marcia Hill says

      Is this glass cleaner safe for eye glasses? We live overseas and have a hard time finding eye glass cleaner. Thanks.

      • Betsy Jabs says

        Marcia – For eyeglasses, mix together 1/2 water, 1/2 alcohol, and a few drops of liquid dish soap. This is the expensive formula optometrists sell! :)

        • Debbie says

          Marcia – I have one of those small refillable spray bottles that I mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar & 2 tablespoons of distilled water in. Works great for lots of things… glasses (I use it on mine everyday), spray it sparingly on dust free cloth and clean computer monitor screens, tv screens (we have a plasma tv I use it on)!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Agreed Sandra, I save on paper towels but splurge on other things. :) I’m with you on the dusting sprays as well…my homemade dusting spray is actually made with Murphy’s Oil soap, water, and a few other wood-nourishing ingredients! Thanks for your comments!

      • Suss says

        Paper towels have become less important to me since I started using T-shirts to wash my windows, glass, and mirrors! In Arizona we have lots of dust & I have shaggy dogs, for floor rags I’ve been using micro fabric cloths to catch the hair. Pop it on the swiffer (can I use brand names?) then shake it outside and wash, with my homemade laundry soap!
        Thank you so much for this site!
        My home is getting less toxic and my grocery bill much less, now I focus on buying food instead of chemicals!

  2. Lauren Collins says

    Betsy,

    When you say white vinegar are you speaking of distilled white vinegar that you get at the supermarket?

    Lauren

  3. Tish says

    If you have a ball of old newspaper, plain old water will work just as well! My mom was (still is) a neat freak and because we grew up a bit on the poor side, she taught me how to clean all the glass tables and mirrors with just water and a ball of newspaper. Just spray (or splash) cold water on the surface you are trying to clean and with a quick circular motion wipe clean!

  4. SteveR says

    My recipe which has worked very well for years:
    1/2c vinegar
    2c water
    a bit of soap if you want
    a drop of blue dye – just so you know that it is window cleaner

    I spray the window, wash with a rag, then squeegee dry.
    You can do a window in just a few minutes.

    • Ericka says

      Hi SteveR
      When you say 1/2 c vinegar, You mean cup? How much is a bit of soap, and what kind of soap?
      Thanks

  5. says

    The best window cleaner I have found is: 1/4 cup alcohol or cheap vodka, 1/4 cup white vinegar, 2 cups water, and 2 tablespoons cornstarch. Mix together and put in spray bottle. You may need to shake it frequently to keep the cornstarch mixed in. When I first used it, I realized how much of a film the purchased window cleaner left on my windows and mirrors. No wonder I always had streaks. So it took a couple of cleanings before the towel slid across the window without any dragging. But now it is so easy and quick to clean. Just spray, wipe with a cloth, and then dry with an old t shirt or microfiber towel.

  6. Laura says

    I am a big fan of your work and appreciate your wisdom as I begin to embrace a natural lifestyle. But, I’m surprised to see rubbing alcohol listed in your formula. I avoid it when making natural cleaners.

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Good for you…it should be avoided. I included it as an option in this recipe because shortly before writing this article I was criticized for only listing vodka as an alcohol option in another recipe. The reader thought it was a ridiculous waste of money, and couldn’t be convinced otherwise.

      BUT…I appreciate you pointing this out, and I’m removing it from the recipe. After all, readers should expect to see natural ingredients in our recipes, not cheap ingredients, right? :)