Wash the Windows, Clear the Air

Kimberly Delaney by Kimberly Delaney | February 23rd, 2012 | 1 Comment
topic: Family Health, Green Living, Healthy Home

Washing windows

One of the easiest steps you can take to green your cleaning is to skip the neon blue window cleaner and switch to plain old vinegar and water in a reusable spray bottle. This simple switch will allow you to reduce your household’s impact on the environment by buying less packaging and to clean up your indoor air by releasing fewer toxins into the air and water.

Why switch?

Conventional glass cleaner can contain a number of different toxins. One of the main chemicals you’ll happily avoid is ammonia, which is an irritant to your eyes, nose, throat and lungs. As if that weren’t bad enough, another major problem with ammonia is that when it mixes with chlorine from other products or even your chlorine-treated tap water it can form noxious chloramine gases that can damage your lungs.

Other chemicals to avoid include butyl cellosolve, a known irritant that has been linked to nerve-damage, and glycol ethers, such as ethylene glycol, which can affect the nervous and reproductive systems and irritate your eyes, nose and throat.

For better results

Obviously, vinegar and water is a much healthier and eco-friendly alternative. But if you’ve ever tried it, you may have noticed something rather disheartening: streaks. Wait! Don’t abandon green cleaning forever just because of a few streaks. The streaks aren’t from the vinegar and water. They’re from the film left behind by the conventional window cleaner, and it’s easy to get rid of them.

To help ease the transition from conventional glass cleaner to vinegar and water, use this recipe:

  • Fill 1/3 of your spray bottle with distilled white vinegar.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon vegetable based liquid soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s.
  • Fill the rest of the bottle with water

Et voila! Once you’ve used the whole bottle you’ll be ready to use just the vinegar and water without the soap.

One more tip

Skip the paper towels. Crumpled newspaper works great and won’t leave particles on the glass. (Wear gloves to avoid ink stains on your hands.) Think of it as another way to recycle those old dailies and save a few trees from becoming just another disposable convenience item.

Learn more ways to green your home with sustainability videos on GaiamTV.com!


  1. I know vinegar is a good cleaner but I just cannot take the smell – anything to counter that? Yes I know it dissipates soon but refer to sentence one! :-)

    Gero | February 29th, 2012 | Comment Permalink

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