A Cleaning Guide to Streak-Free Windows & Mirrors

by | Read time: 4 minutes

Cleaning glass can feel like a never-ending battle. Those windows and mirrors, covered with fingerprints, toothpaste, makeup, dirt and gunk glare at you, daring you to clean them each time you pass.

So you gather your courage, spraying and swiping, believing you’ve triumphed over all that evil accumulation. But, just 10 minutes later, you’re met with another nemesis: a streaky, cloudy mess that’s somehow even worse than before.

Woman Cleaning Window with Natural Homemade Cleaner | Vitacost.com/Blog

To save yourself some time, energy – and let’s be honest – sanity, we’ve got an easy-to-follow guide to help eliminate those annoying streaks for good.

How to clean windows & mirrors without leaving streaks

Streak-free window and mirror cleaning is all about a one-two punch:

  1. The cleaning agent (either homemade or store-bought)
  2. The cleaning material (hint: it’s NOT paper towel)

Let’s dive deeper into each so you can enjoy a more satisfied streak-free window cleaning experience – starting with the cleaning agent. Windex is often the go-to choice among store-bought cleaners. But this conventional option contains harsh chemicals, including ammonia, which can cause problems for those with breathing and/or skin sensitivities.

For streak-free windows and ammonia-free air, consider concocting your own natural household cleaners. Not into DIY? No problem! Opting for store-bought, natural home cleaners is a great option.

Homemade natural cleaners


  • Inexpensive (as you’re likely to already have these household ingredients sitting in your cupboard)
  • All-natural, and so, will be more gentle than manufactured chemicals


  • Can often lack cleaning power
  • Takes more time and effort to create

Store-bought cleaning solutions


  • Powerful cleaning abilities
  • Convenient


  • Can be expensive
  • Contains unknown, possibly harsh ingredients

DIY: Homemade window cleaner (works for mirrors, too!)

By whipping up your own streak-free window + mirror cleaner, you can save a bit of change, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly what ingredients are inside. Here are two foolproof solutions.

Method for windows

Step 1 – Wipe off frames with a dust-attracting microfiber cloth, vacuum window with a glass-safe attachment, then dissolve stubborn gunk (such as paint, sap, etc.) with a cotton pad soaked in rubbing alcohol. To protect flooring, lay down a large towel or plastic bag below the windows to catch any wayward splashes.

Step 2 – In a bucket, combine:

Soak a cloth squeegee in the solution, then wash windows. Squeegee off the water in a side-to-side, horizontal motion, in one swipe without lifting the rubber. Or, pull the squeegee straight down, drying off the rubber in between swipes with a dry microfiber cloth. Make sure you get the window completely dry.

Method for mirrors

Step 1 – In a spray bottle, add:

  • 1/2 cup distilled water
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch (a best-kept secret boasting excellent dirt-removing properties)

Step 2 – Gently shake to combine all the ingredients, then spritz your mirror from top to bottom. Using a clean, dry microfiber cloth, start from the top of the mirror and work your way down, wiping in an “S” pattern. Avoid swiping in circular motions, as this will drag the cloth through its own dirt and gunk. Make sure you get the mirror completely dry.

6 tips for more potent DIY cleaning solutions

1. Use distilled water: Hard water contains a higher concentration of minerals like calcium and magnesium that will increase the likelihood of clouding up your glass or leaving behind mineral deposits. Water that’s been distilled from those impurities will maintain its clarity – plus it’s typically inexpensive to filter or purchase in small quantities.

2. Opt for distilled white vinegar: For a mean green clean, use distilled white vinegar. It’s non-toxic, antibacterial and it’s safe for skin, pets and children.

3. Limit suds: As tempting as it is to load up on the soap, it’s easy to go overboard – which will result in more streaks and residue. Using just 1/2 teaspoon of soap is enough to clean your glass without leaving streaks behind.

4. Use a toothbrush: Scrub the corners of your mirror or window with an old toothbrush for an extra deep clean.

5. Nix paper towels: As convenient as paper towels are to use, it’s the bane of glass everywhere. Paper towel leaves behind lint, gets soaked and dirty quickly, and it can get pretty wasteful.

6. Buff out imperfections: If you do happen to spot a few streaks after your window/mirror clean, grab a new, clean and dry microfiber cloth. Carefully buff out streaks using an “S” motion.

Best store-bought cleaner

The best in show is Method Glass + Surface Cleaner. It’s ammonia-free, non-toxic and made from biodegradable ingredients. Not only is it an all-natural glass-cleaning formula – it will get (and keep) that glass streak-free. It’s safe on a variety of surfaces, including counters, tile and granite, so you can be confident you’re keeping other areas safe from damage.