I’m just going to come right out and say it. Spending money on glass cleaners completely unnecessary!
Most store-bought glass cleaners use ammonia as their active ingredient. Ammonia does a beautiful job on glass, but its fumes can really burn your eyes, nose and throat. It can also cause serious respiratory issues over time.
White vinegar cleans glass just as well as ammonia and it never leaves behind streaks, residue or harmful fumes. Vinegar is non-toxic, so it is safe to use around babies and pets and can be used to clean surfaces that touch food and drink. It is also highly economical. One gallon of white vinegar costs less than most quart-sized bottles of chemical glass cleaners.
So stop wasting your money on pretty labels. Grab yourself a couple of spray bottles and a gallon of vinegar, and you’re all set.
Here are a few tips on cleaning different types of glass with vinegar.
Clean regular glass
Mix two parts warm water and one part white vinegar into a spray bottle. Spray the mixture directly onto windows and mirrors. Wipe dry with a clean, lint-free cloth or crumpled newspaper. You can use this mix for windows, mirrors, picture frames, tabletops, vases, votive holders and decor.
Clean pollution-covered glass
To clean soot from fireplace covers and pollution from car and house windows, mix equal parts white vinegar and water into the spray bottle. Spray the solution generously onto the dirty glass and let sit for a minute. Wipe dry with a lint-free cloth or crumpled newspaper.
Clean paint-splattered glass
Heat about a cup or so of vinegar in a pot until it is very warm, but still cool enough to touch. Dip a cloth directly into the vinegar and apply it generously to the paint. Let it sit for a few minutes to soften the paint, wipe it away and re-spray the area to remove any residue.
Clean foggy dishware
Dip a clean, lint-free cloth in undiluted white vinegar, wipe the glass and let it air dry. Alternatively, you can soak several items at once in an equal mix of vinegar and water for a few minutes and then air dry. You can also pour half a cup of vinegar onto the bottom of the dishwater before running it for an extra sparkle.
Fill sticky peanut butter jars and salad dressing bottles with equal parts water and white vinegar. Let them sit overnight and remove any debris with a bottle brush if necessary. If food residue is difficult to reach, add rice or sand to the vinegar solution. Shake the bottle to loosen the food and wash as usual.
Remove labels stuck to food jars
Peel any plastic coating from the top of the label, if it has one. Once the paper part of the label is exposed, soak empty jars or bottles in a bowl of water for 15 minutes and scrape off what you can with your fingers.
If there are glued-on bits left behind, soak a cloth in white vinegar. Set the cloth over the label and let it sit for an hour or so to remove the rest of the label more easily.
Good to know
- Vinegar isn’t just great for glass. It’s also a powerful sanitizer that can be used to kill germs in the kitchen and bathroom.
- A diluted mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar also does a beautiful job of shining stainless steel, brass, copper and chrome.
- Vinegar can deteriorate exposed window seals, dishwasher gaskets and unsealed grout over time. Rinse these surfaces with water right away after cleaning with vinegar.