How to Clean Windows Naturally

By Marilee Nelson |

Word is finally getting out about the toxicity and ineffectiveness of ammonia-based window cleaners. 

Yet, finding an effective natural alternative to the blue stuff can be a challenge. Especially if you’re a clean-window-connoisseur (like us!).

Fortunately, this article contains all the info you need on how to clean windows naturally and ditch the toxic window cleaner for good.

Natural Window Cleaner Options 

As discussed in 5-Ammonia-Free Cleaning Products, ammonia (NH3) is one of the most commonly produced industrial chemicals in the United States where it is used in chemical fertilizer, cleaning products, textiles, plastic manufacturing, dyes, and weapons of war, among other things.

Ammonia is highly corrosive and toxic and causes tens of thousands of poisonings annually in this country alone, especially in children and those working in confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Regular or chronic exposure to low levels of ammonia via cleaning products (like window cleaner) is also detrimental to the lungs.

According to research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, people who used ammonia daily for household cleaning for 20 years had decreased lung function, equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes daily.

This is a very brief synopsis of why it would be very wise to stop using ammonia-based window cleaners in your home. 

However, it should prove that just because a product has been marketed for generations as safe doesn’t mean that is true.

Plus, ammonia-based window cleaners aren’t very effective!

They leave a waxy film on glass that builds up and attracts dust, which requires more frequent window cleaning.

Bottom line: ammonia-based window cleaners are super toxic, and they don’t work very well, so let’s explore some natural alternatives.

Branch Basics Streak Free 

Branch Basics Streak-Free is one of the most effective and economical, non-toxic, and natural window cleaners on the market.

All it takes to make (get ready) is 1 drop of Branch Basics Concentrate in a large spray bottle of water.

Yes, you read right. 1 drop of Branch Basics Concentrate + a large spray bottle of water makes enough Streak-Free to last for months. If using just one drop seems too good to be true, if streaks occur, then it means you have used too much!

If you’re new to Branch Basics, our line was designed to replace all the cleaning and laundry products in your home with just one non-toxic, all-natural Concentrate. And it’s so easy to use.

Branch Basics Concentrate is designed to be diluted with water to create:

  • All-Purpose
  • Bathroom
  • Streak-Free
  • Foaming Wash
  • Laundry

Branch Basics Concentrate is EWG-Verified, Made Safe Certified, non-toxic, all-natural, and safe to use around anyone, including babies, pets, and the chemically sensitive. The Concentrate has been independently verified to NOT be a skin or eye irritant!

Check out our Starter Kits to learn more about our non-toxic cleaning system for windows and your entire home.

White Vinegar

White vinegar, which acts as a natural degreaser, cleaning agent, and sanitizer, makes an excellent non-toxic DIY window cleaner.

For best results, combine 1 part distilled white vinegar with 2 parts distilled or filtered water (this helps prevent any mineral build-up). Spray on and wipe off with a microfiber cloth.

For tougher jobs, combine white vinegar with hot water to help dissolve stuck-on messes.

Discover more about the natural cleaning power of vinegar in: 12 Ways to Use Vinegar in Your Home.

The caveat with vinegar is that it contains acetic acid which is a lung irritant when aerosolized. Therefore, if you decide to use vinegar for cleaning your windows, be aware that you should try to avoid breathing in the fumes and use good ventilation to clear the air quickly. Avoid spraying vinegar in the presence of anyone with asthma, CPOD, or any respiratory issues. 

How to Clean Your Windows With Branch Basics (or DIY Solution), 4 Simple Steps 

Having trouble getting perfectly crystal clear, streak-free, dust-free windows, even after cleaning?

If you’re using a good product, like the ones listed here, chances are you may just need to tweak your technique.

Here’s how to clean your windows with Branch Basics, vinegar, or your favorite natural DIY window solution in 4 simple steps.

Step 1: Pick the Right Time of Day to Clean Your Windows 

It’s best to clean your windows when the sunlight is not directly shining on them. 

The reason is that the hot sunlight can dry the window cleaner too quickly, resulting in streaks or spots.

Step 2. Dust Your Windows 

If you want perfectly clean windows, dusting before applying window cleaner is essential. Otherwise, your cleaner will stick to the dust and move it around in clumps.

We recommend running a dry or damp microfiber cloth over the window first, then moving onto step 2. 

If you’re feeling ambitious, you could instead vacuum your windows to remove the dust.

Step 3. Apply Cleaner and Work Top to Bottom Using a Microfiber Cloth or Squeegee

Once the windows are dusted, apply Branch Basics Streak-Free or your DIY solution and wipe down from top to bottom using a microfiber cloth or squeegee.

Note: We recommend a microfiber cloth over paper towels or a rag because it will not leave behind lint or dust. 

If using a squeegee, have a cloth handy to wipe up any excess that may run down to the window sill.

Step 4. Buff Your Windows After Cleaning

This step isn’t always necessary, but if needed, use a dry microfiber cloth to buff the windows after cleaning to remove any lingering cleaner.

Window Cleaning FAQs

Natural window cleaning is not difficult, but switching to a new product can bring up a lot of questions. Here we answer your window cleaning FAQs.

What should you not do when cleaning windows?

Avoid the following when cleaning windows:

  • Using ammonia-based window cleaners, which are toxic and leave behind a waxy residue
  • Cleaning in direct sunlight, which can cause streaks
  • Failing to dust the windows prior to cleaning, which will leave behind lint and dust.
  • Over-using your cleaning product. A little goes a long way with Streak-Free and the DIY solution.
  • Working bottom-to-top. This is inefficient and can leave streaks and spots.
  • Failing to wipe the bottom of the windows at the end, which may lead to moisture build-up from leftover cleaner.

If you follow the steps above you’ll get perfectly clean windows every time. 

How often should you clean windows? 

This depends on your situation. 

For example, families with young children or dogs may want to clean finger and tongue smudges off their windows daily (or a few times a week). 

Whereas a single person or couple may only clean them once a month.

In the interest of reducing dust and improving indoor air quality as much as possible, we recommend cleaning your indoor windows once a week.

What is the best way to clean high windows? 

High windows definitely need cleaning, too, and require a special extendable window cleaning tool, usually a squeegee.

To clean high windows using Branch Basics Streak-Free or DIY option:

  • Follow the instructions above using an extendible duster to dust first.
  • Followed by a squeegee dipped in a small amount of Streak-Free.
  • The finish by buffing with a clean duster.

Once or twice a month is typically enough for high windows, but you can do this as often as you need to.

Toss the Toxins With Branch Basics 

We hope this article has shown you how easy it is to get streak-free crystal-clean windows naturally. 

All it takes is the right non-toxic cleaner plus this 4-step technique:

  • Avoid cleaning windows in direct sunlight
  • Dust the windows before applying cleaner
  • Apply Branch Basics Streak-Free and work from the top down using a microfiber cloth or squeegee
  • Buff after cleaning

Interested in trying Branch Basics Streak-Free for non-toxic, ammonia-free window cleaning?

Explore our Starter Kits, available in refillable plastic or glass, to learn more about our non-toxic cleaning system.

Want to dig deeper into the nuances of non-toxic cleaning? Check out Spring Into Cleaning: Your Non-Toxic Home Cleaning Guide.
Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson

Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.