non-smear glass cleaner

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

I have tried several cleaners on my glass windows and display cases but end up with smears. I use a cloth, which I found worked better than paper towels, to clean the glass and then come back with clean dry rag to polish out the smears. But i can never get them to go completely and when the light changes throughout the day, they can look really bad at some angles.
I have used the usual, like Windex and such, and one formula from Consumer's Reports which is part vinegar, water, a little surficant (I use Polmolive) and a little lemon. Same problem.
One possible reason is that I heat with propane part of the time and it leaves a brownish film on everything. So I try not to use it much; only when the heat pump is not enough after the temperatures get below 20 deg.
Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

With the gunk put out by the propane heater, you may have to wash first with ammonia to clean it, then polish with your normal glass cleaner.

I don't know what is in the fumes, but they will cause silver to build up years worth of tarnish in just a month or 2. Nat. gas does it too. The only way to keep it from happening is to get special cloths impregnated with ?something from the jewelers to wrap the items in.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

I do feel like they are hard to clean. I often have to wash them twice before polishing them with a clean cloth. But it is the glass that's the problem, not the items within.
I know a lot of window cleaners use ammonia, but I don't think that helps either in this case. I am at a loss. I worked 2 days on my 6 windows, 2 doors with windows in the upper half, 2 storm doors and one attegere and they have streaks.

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I think most window cleaners don't really have much in the way of ammonia in them anymore--they may put a pinch in so they can say on the label that they have ammonia but for the most part they've replaced the ammonia with less smelly but also less effective ingredients. You'll know by the smell whether it's got enough ammonia in it to do any good, if it smells nice then you know there's not much ammonia! LOL

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

I'll try some with ammonia that is enough to take my breath away, lol.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

Now that I do not have gas heat, I just use a few drops of dish soap in a quart or so of water. I put a stack of torn up towell-rags in it and have another stack (12"X12" squares) of dry ones that if finish with. I use a small squeegee to clear off the most of the water, then polish. I have also put corn starch in the water to get a spectacular shine when company is coming. The glass seems to get cloudy pretty quickly after doing that, so I only do it for VIP family members.
I had to use straight ammonia to get the windows "clean-ish" enough to finish with the regular glass cleaner, when I had gas for heat/water/cooking.

Check your chimneys and vents. You may have a problem. I did. I almost died. I don't trust gas anymore...

OC, CA & Twin Lakes , IA(Zone 4b)

Have you tried Murphy's Oil Soap? I have been usinging regular Windex to get the grime off but because I have it in my head that it leaves a residue that attracts dirt . . I follow up with plain vinegar and water. Jury is still out on that one.

Central, LA(Zone 8b)

I use a product made by Sprayway. It's a glass cleaner in a spray can. It's ammonia free and also said that it is streakless. I got it at Sam's and have been using it for about 6 months and really like it.

PS They also support Breast cancer research.


Mesilla Park, NM

I just got this product a couple of weeks ago but have not tried it, it is called, Clean-X invisible Glass Shield and it is supposed to repel soil, dust, fingerprints and minerals. It says it is easily appied and lasts for months, keeps mirrors and glass sparkling, like new..lol

Anyway, I bought it from one of the Stained Glass companies that I order glass from, I thought I could use it on the shower doors, they make me cringe sometimes and I don't shower in those showers either, I use the tub.

I want to try this once these winds die down some and maybe this coming weekend I'll get to try it at least on the inside, but wanted to do the outside windows but I have to thoroughly clean them beforehand.

Anyone try this?

Missouri City, TX

Try Greased Lightning. It will disolve years of yellow-brown buildup. Doesn't have much odor either. And - if you don't have it on your hands very long, seems to have no harmful effects. Throwaway gloves are always a good idea whenever using any chemicals.

Mesilla Park, NM

Where can we find Greased Lightining? I'd love to try it in several areas here in this home we moved into 2 years ago, the well water has made all these stains in several areas and I've tried with a couple of other things but it is very slow going and lots of scrubbing.

Missouri City, TX

Most Home Depots, Lowes, some of the Dollar stores (under a number of different names) have Greased Lightning. Some supermarkets, too. About $3 for a qt spray bottle - $7 for a gal.

Mesilla Park, NM

Thanks Bubba
adding that to my list for this weekend.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

thanks folks. I may just try that greased lighting. It is a yellow-brown build up, partly from the one propane heater we use if they power goes out and partly cigarette residue. My husband has tried to quit about a dozen times, but no luck so far.
The inside windows take a lot of scrubbing and scrubbing and then polishing with a clean cloth but still, some streaking remains. A squeegee doesn't work at all, nor a little dish liquid in water. We're talking mean scum here.

Hobart, IN

Your topic caught my eye since I don't buy commercial window cleaners anymore (too expensive for mostly water). I don't use ammonia for my standard spray since it can cause plastics (plexiglass, stereo component covers, etc) to get dull and cloudy. I use 1 cup on rubbing alcohol, 1 drop of dish detergent to 1 qt of water. The original recipe used to include 1/8 c ammonia but I found that the windows got dirty quicker so I dropped it. Most soaps/detergents require rinsing so why not leave out all but one drop for surfactant purposes? If there's a film build up on the glass, you may have to wash twice to get all of the residue (including ammonia) off of the glass. The alcohol also helps the windows dry quicker with less work (unless the window is cold). I'm a clean window fanatic but hate to clean them more often than I have to. I can also clean the window frame with the used damp cloth to keep them clean too.
I'm always looking out for cheaper and safer cleaning products.

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

Now that is an interesting solution. I wonder how it would do on the brownish build-up from propane and cigs. I use about 2 squirts of surficant in my vinegar solution. But I can see it need rinsing after that.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

Ammonia will strip paint. Keep that in mind while using it...

It cut gease nicely so I used it on a stove and took some lettering off.

Brooksville, FL(Zone 9a)

My Dad used to say use a potato for window cleaning.

Lewiston, MN

A potato? That's interesting! I hadn't heard that one before.

We have lots of windows, and I really want them clean so the light can shine in on these short winter days. I bought myself a good quality squeegee just a few weeks ago, and when we had a nice day (nice being relative. Here in MN that meant a high in the 20's above zero) I went out with a scrub bucket and my new squeegee. It worked great! I scrubbed several of the windows with plain warm water and one of my cheap scrub-rag washcloths and then squeegee'd them dry. No streaks at all! I just wish I could use that system indoors without making a mess!

Hobart, IN

Woodspirit1 -
The brownish buildup - on the window frames or on the glass? I've always used alkyd paint on interior woodwork (an unpopular choice but it holds up better and the windows don't stick when trying to open/close them) and I've found that oil-based paint does yellow over time. Anyway, you can try one of those Mr. Clean scrubbing sponges (which conform well to the shapes of various wood trims). In desperation, I've once used a mild bleach solution which also seemed to help remove some of the yellowing on woodwork.
I've also used Rain-x on my exterior storm windows which prevents dirt from sticking. I have noticed though on my car windshield that as it wears off, it can turn a little cloudy but that usually takes months. It does last longer on the storm windows though - a couple of years or more. I haven't tried it indoors.
I've tried using white vinegar too and I was always disappointed because it seemed to leave more streaks and cloud up rather quickly.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

I'm going to go look in the garage right now for rain x . My windows get sooo dirty on the outside with the construction in the area and all of the woodstoves and fireplaces. I can clean them and a week later they are kinda' grey.

Hobart, IN

JuneyBug -
If you have a lot of dust/dirt in the air, any rain/water drops that do remain on your window (very few) will evaporate, leaving a little of the dust behind. A simple rinse with clear water should take care of that. Just make sure that when you apply the Rain-x that you buff it out really well with a clean dry cloth or it will leave streaks.

Lewiston, MN

Does anybody here remember Glass Wax? ...the Pepto-Bismol-looking stuff that dried on the glass and then dusted off? I wasn't exactly a compulsive cleaner as a kid (!) but I loved cleaning windows with that stuff. I remember it working pretty well. It went off our area's market when I was still a kid, though. I saw it offered again once, years ago, in the Vermont Country Store catalog, but I didn't get it ordered -- tossed the catalog too soon, I guess.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

I remeber glass wax. We used it in Hawaii, '92-'95. The salt would etch the glass if ya' didin't. I t would work great here where I have very hard water. I can't rinse the windows off with the hose, since it leaves the lime deposits behind.

I couldn't find rainX, but I found something like it and did the outside of three sliding glass doors. It's below freezing for the rest of the week, so I'll have to get to the rest of the house later. This has got to help.

Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

Ooojen, it seems to me that as a youngster we used to use . . . oh what is that bar soap for dirty dirty hands??? Ummm, oh phooey! What is its name?!?! (You have my permission to fill in my blanks. It's been around for a thousand years.)

Anyway, we would dampen a sponge, sponge that soap mightily, then spread it about the window. Then . . . when the soap dried to a greyish film, towel it off and viola! Sparkling clean and jewel-like shiny! When I "came of age" as a young housewife I tried all the high-end bottled with a sprayer stuff and it never compared to the results I achieved when I finally compared it to the bar soap cleaning.

Today I am much lazier as a single housewife (married to the house?) and use the hose end sprays and a squeegy to clean the outside of all those stupid windows. Not perfect. But appropriate at my age and with the amount of work required to maintain a house all by myself.

Linda and The MopTops

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

Lava soap?

Fresno, CA(Zone 9b)

YES!!! LAVA SOAP!!! Ooooo, thx for finishing my sentence, Ecrane!

I don't recall that there were any scratch-producing properties to the product.

It turned the windows into jewels!

Linda and The MopTops

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

There were 2 kinds of Lava: one had sand in it and the other didn't. My brothers loved that stuff as they were always messing with old cars and it cleaned them up perfectly. (My sister used the non-sanded for her pimples)

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

My you folks have really put yourselves out telling me your favorite cleaning product/method. Thanks. I see 3 I want to try. I am also going to try Scotch Brite, because it doesn't scratch.

Warwick, RI(Zone 6a)

I found the best way to clean my glass and mirrors is with just a bit of liquid dish washing soap and a good professional squeegee. I picked up a tool in the hardware store that I use to wash the window. I don't know what it's called, but is shaped like a squeegee and has a removable cloth. It made a world of difference. My mirrors shine and seem to stay that way for a much longer time. Easy work and no special products needed!



Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

I once bought a cleaner from a auto parts store that is used for windshields. I need to find some more because it didn't streak. I do have rain-X but my problem is inside so i don't know if it would help. The glass and the munions and the sills all get the same level of stickiness.

Dover AFB, DE(Zone 7a)

Hmmm. Has anyone tried Rain-X on the inside?

Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

I'd like to know that too.

Harford County, MD(Zone 6b)

Try Dirtex..... I washed the patio windows yesterday while the sun was streaming through and had no streaks at all. Normally when I use anything else they look clean..... until the sun hits them, then you see streaks. I don't like paper towells for windows, so I have taken an old cotton tablecloth and cut it up in squares and use it solely for windows. When I put them in the washer I don't use any fabric softener.

I first learned about Dirtex when the painter at my daughter's house had gotten latex paint splatters on her natural woodwork. When she showed him, he said " no problem" and took out a can of Dirtex, sprayed some on a rag and wiped it clean. Since then I've been using it when I paint, if ( or should I say when ) I have any drops.

I really had not used it for windows until yesterday but will certainly buy it again.

Thumbnail by ginlyn
Lake Toxaway, NC(Zone 7a)

I've never seen it before but i will look for it. We have an old time hardware store, with creaky wooden floors and everything under the sun that you can't find at a big discount store.

OC, CA & Twin Lakes , IA(Zone 4b)

ginlyn,
Where did you buy it? I see you can buy it online but the shipping is as much as the product.

Harford County, MD(Zone 6b)

TwinLakes, I got it at our local hardware store, but have had it a few years. I would think Home Depot or most hardware stores would have it. I'm going to Home Depot today, so will check.

OC, CA & Twin Lakes , IA(Zone 4b)

Thanks. I'll look too.

Harford County, MD(Zone 6b)

Twin, Home Depot does have it. I just bought 2 cans. $ 3.49 each.
The cans are a little more updated than the one I had already.

OC, CA & Twin Lakes , IA(Zone 4b)

Thanks!

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