5 Ways to Clean Glass Without Leaving Streaks

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Home Improvement

Cleaning glass is not just about putting in effort, but about using the right tools. Kathrin Ziegler/Getty Images

Window cleaning is a repetitive and tedious task, made worse when it leaves behind streaks. These streaks are particularly noticeable when the light hits them, which always seems to happen when you have guests. However, with the correct tools, cleaning glass – whether it’s a window, mirror, or coffee table – can be effortless. Our list of five tips will provide you with the right tools to leave your glass surfaces sparkling clean without much effort or expense. The first tip might seem like common sense, but it’s often overlooked. Keep reading to find out more.

5: Use Distilled Water

The quality of water in your home can vary widely. This is not usually an issue when cleaning floors or countertops, but it can have a significant impact on glass surfaces. Impurities in the water can leave streaky deposits on the glass, which become very apparent due to the transparency of the surface. Diluting glass cleaner with tap water can exacerbate this issue, especially if your tap water has a high concentration of dissolved minerals like magnesium and calcium. Instead, use distilled water to dilute your glass cleaner. It’s relatively inexpensive and can be purchased from your local grocery store. Alternatively, you can make your own distilled water at home if you need large quantities.

4: Try Vinegar

A mixture of vinegar and water can be used instead of chemical cleaners.

Vinegar is an all-purpose ingredient that’s likely already in your pantry. It’s cost-effective, all-natural, and safe for pets and children. Distilled white vinegar is best for cleaning purposes, as it’s non-toxic and antibacterial. It’s also safe for skin and living things in general, thanks to its acidic content. Using a mixture of vinegar and water can be just as effective as chemical cleaners, without the harsh chemicals.

White vinegar mixed with warm water is a great alternative to traditional glass cleaners for windows and mirrors. The mixture should be a 50/50 ratio and loaded into a reusable spray bottle for easy application. Another recipe includes 1 cup of water, 1 cup of rubbing alcohol, and 1 tablespoon of vinegar to prevent streaks. However, the smell of vinegar may linger, so it’s best to use it for outdoor glass. When using soap to clean glass, be sparing, as too much soap can result in a dense cleaner that leaves streaks. A mixture of 2 quarts of water, 2 quarts of rubbing alcohol, and 3 drops of dishwashing soap is a good recipe to start with. Alternatively, sudsy ammonia already has the right ratio of soap and can be mixed with rubbing alcohol and water. Avoid using paper towels on glass, as they leave streaks and lint. Instead, use a microfiber cloth or squeegee, or try using newspaper, which can produce a streak-free and shiny finish.

After all the hard work, it’s time for the final step.

1: Buffing Technique

When it comes to cleaning glass, the tools you use are just as important as the effort you put in.

Even if you follow all the right steps, like using a mixture of vinegar and distilled water and wiping with newspaper, you may still end up with annoying streaks. In this scenario, the easiest solution is to buff the glass after cleaning it.

A chamois or microfiber towel is the best type of cloth to use, although a regular rag will work in a pinch. Avoid using paper towels as they tend to leave lint on the glass. Ensure that the cloth is clean and dry, and then buff the troublesome area of the glass. The streaks will vanish like magic!

Like most household cleaning and maintenance tasks, it’s easier to stay on top of the job. The less dirt and grime that accumulates on your windows, the less time you’ll spend cleaning them.

Learn More

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  • Removing Stickers, Tape, and Glue from Glass: Tips and Tricks
  • Is Newspaper an Effective Tool for Cleaning Glass?


  • APEC Water. “Hard Vs. Soft Water Explained.” 2018 (Oct. 17, 2018) https://www.freedrinkingwater.com/water-education/quality-water-hard.htm
  • Cleaning and Washing Windows. Mrs. Clean. (Nov. 4, 2010) http://www.mrscleanusa.com/en/cleaning-tips/glass/window-cleaning-tip.html
  • Whelan, Corey. “What is the pH of vinegar?” Healthline. April 17, 2018 (Oct. 17, 2018) https://www.healthline.com/health/ph-of-vinegar
  • Window Washing and Glass Cleaning. Mrs. Clean. (Nov. 4, 2010) http://www.mrscleanusa.com/en/cleaning-tips/glass/washing-windows.html


1. What are the best tools for cleaning glass?

To clean glass without streaks, you need to use the right tools. The best tools for cleaning glass include a microfiber cloth, squeegee, and a spray bottle with a mixture of water and vinegar. Microfiber cloths are great for cleaning because they are soft and absorbent. Squeegees are perfect for removing excess water from glass, while the vinegar solution helps to dissolve any dirt and grime on the surface of the glass.

2. What is the best way to prepare the glass before cleaning?

Before cleaning glass, it’s important to prepare the surface. Start by removing any dust or debris from the glass using a soft-bristled brush or a dry microfiber cloth. If the glass is particularly dirty, you may need to use a cleaning solution to break down any stubborn dirt or grime. Once the glass is prepared, you can begin cleaning using a microfiber cloth or squeegee.

3. How should you clean glass to avoid streaks?

To clean glass without streaks, start by spraying the glass with the vinegar solution. Then, use a microfiber cloth or squeegee to wipe the glass in a circular motion, working from top to bottom. Be sure to overlap each stroke slightly to avoid leaving streaks. If you do notice streaks, simply go over the area again until the glass is clean and streak-free.

4. How often should you clean glass?

How often you clean glass depends on how frequently it is used. In general, it’s a good idea to clean glass at least once a week to prevent dirt and grime from building up. However, if the glass is used more frequently, you may need to clean it more often to keep it looking its best.

5. Can you use newspaper to clean glass?

While some people swear by using newspaper to clean glass, it’s not the best option. Newspaper can leave behind ink residue and can also scratch the surface of the glass. Instead, opt for a microfiber cloth or squeegee, which are gentler on the glass and won’t leave behind any residue.

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