Household Window Cleaner Tips

According to the Sierra Club, grocery store shelves are stocked with toxic household cleaners that contain chemicals such as alkylphenol ethoxylates, which are linked to hormone disruption, as well as monoethanolamine, a suspected trigger of asthma attacks.

The toxins in window cleaner can contribute to indoor contamination and can be poisonous if ingested. Additionally, if a window cleaner is mixed with another cleaner, such as bleach, it can become very toxic. Many homeowners are interested in homemade window cleaners that do not harm valuable houseplants or cause illness.

Glass cleaners contain isopropanol. According to the Dow Chemical Company, overexposure to isopropanol can cause discomfort to the eyes, nose and throat. Overexposure can lead to respiratory problems.

When you make your own nontoxic household cleaners, you know exactly what goes into each recipe. You can clean your oven knowing that the ingredients are benign yet effective, instead of worrying about toxic ingredients. Many oven cleaners contain butyl glycol or butyl cellosolve, which can affect the nervous system, kidneys and liver, according to Dow Chemical, the manufacturer of these ingredients.

Clean windows from the top down to prevent drips. Mix 3 tablespoons of white vinegar with 0.5 teaspoon of mild Castile soap and 2 cups of water to fill a hand-held sprayer. Spray the window and clean it off with a damp squeegee or soft cloth. Tiny scratches on a window can be polished with toothpaste before washing. The slight abrasive ingredient in toothpaste smoothes rough scratched areas and doesn’t harm plants.

Butyl cellosolve(also known as 2-Ethoxyethanol or 2EE, CAS No. 110-80-5) is the ingredient in window cleaners that can be toxic to breathe, while ammonia is the ingredient that’s harmful for plants. The effect of ammonia on plants is death or a slow growth rate. Butyl cellosolve is on California’s list of toxic air pollutants because of animal studies showing it causes reproductive harm. Many homeowners are interested in homemade window cleaners that do not harm valuable houseplants or cause illness

Mix 1 teaspoon of castile soap and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice in 2 cups of water for a non-toxic and effective window cleaner. Use as a spray or apply with a soft cloth such as a T-shirt rag or cloth diaper. Clean windows on a cloudy day to avoid streaking. Microfiber cloths are also an inexpensive alternative for the final polishing. Remove caked on dirt in window corners with a toothbrush, cotton swab or a pencil tip covered in cloth.