Natural Solutions to Dirty Windows

Keeping your windows clean is a nearly constant process. Next time you find yourself spraying that commercial cleaning solution you found under your kitchen sink, though, try reading over the ingredient list. For chemists out there, the components might not seem too foreign. However, many of us would struggle to even pronounce the things we spray all over our homes.

Canada's popular "going green" movement (which encourages us to find sustainable, natural products) highlights this problem, but it's also identified the solution.

What is it?

It's vinegar.

Discovered by accident when a cask of wine fermented and turned sour, distilled vinegar (also known as white vinegar) is made with completely natural ingredients. It's also a common cleaning product in most homes across the country because of its versatility. Vinegar can gently remove the stickers your children placed all over their room, or kill mold and mildew. Completely safe if inhaled or ingested, vinegar has a huge advantage over cleaning products that must print poison warnings on their labels.

While many people know about vinegar's cleaning prowess, this list will provide natural supplements to use along with it. Yes, standing alone, vinegar can successfully clean your glass. However, if you use these additions, you'll be able to improve on a classic.

While vinegar is a safe and inexpensive cleaning agent, many homeowners are leery about using it because of the strong smell. Pure vinegar is great for heavy-duty cleaning, but diluted vinegar for everyday window care is even more effective.

Overly saturated vinegar can etch glass and eventually cloud it. Adding water to the vinegar will keep your windows safe and reduce the lingering smell.

Take care to use filtered water in this mixture, however. Unfiltered water can have particles that will stick to and cloud your windows.

Castile or Dish Soap
When you first make the switch from commercial to natural window cleaner, you might not notice a difference. Or worse, the glass might seem cloudier than ever. If that's the case, mix in a few drops of Castile or liquid dish soap. Although you can't always see it, many commercial products will leave small amounts of residue, and this soap will help make your window truly clean so the vinegar mixture can do its work. After a few applications, you can phase out the soap.

Castile soap originates from Spain, but you can find it in most health food stores throughout the country. Simple, natural ingredients form the soap, including olive and laurel oils, that can gently wash your skin and your home. If you do not have Castile soap on hand, commercial dish soaps, like Dawn or Palmolive, will work in a pinch.

Essential Oil
Vinegar certainly has a strong, distinctive scent, but you can add essential oils to help mask this odour. Many people place mint extract into their vacuum cleaners to spread a fresh scent throughout their home, but have you thought about cleaning your window with it? Or lavender? What about chamomile? There are nearly 100 different essential oils, and each has its own scent.
Additionally, many have known health benefits like relieving pain, soothing inflammation, and boosting memory. By placing a few drops of essential oils such as cedar wood, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and vanilla in your natural cleaner, you can give your home a signature scent without having to spray commercial air fresheners.

Cornstarch is more than just a cooking ingredient. It has a shocking number of uses outside the kitchen, including freshening up carpets, absorbing grease stains, and polishing silver. Your windows can benefit from this helpful tool, as well. Mixing a small amount of corn starch into your mixture will help scrub off any set-in dirt and grime.

While newspapers are not ingredients you'd put into your vinegar mixture, they play a role in this natural cleaning process. Instead of using standard paper towels, recycle an old newspaper to dry your windows. Only use black and white newspapers, though, as colored ink is more likely to leave residue.
You can usually dry standard-sized windows using newspaper, but larger windows and glass doors might need some more help. Think about using a large squeegee to dry large windows and glass doors. You might be more accustomed to seeing squeegees used on car windows or skyscrapers, but they will work like a charm inside the house as well.

Go Green!
Now that you have all the tools to create your own natural cleaner, let's break down the recipe.

50 mL distilled (white) vinegar

500 mL warm water

5-10 drops essential oil (How much you choose is up to you, but these drops are stronger than you might think, so start small.)

15 g cornstarch

Combine all the ingredients into a clean spray bottle. The cornstarch will settle at the bottom, so remember to shake before you spray.

With your new information on natural window cleaning methods, you can stop using expensive, commercial detergents and save money by making a healthier choice. If you’d like more info on how to effectively and safely clean your windows using natural products, you can also contact your window professionals at Canadian Comfort! Enjoy!

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