The Pros and Cons of Cleaning Windows with Vinegar

The age-old debate of whether or not to use vinegar while cleaning windows continues to persist. Some argue that using vinegar is an eco-friendly and cost-effective option, while others claim that it may not be the best solution for every situation. 

In this article, the pros and cons of cleaning windows with vinegar are explored to provide clarity and help you make an informed decision.Vinegar is a household staple known for its versatility in cleaning, cooking and even as a natural remedy for various health issues. 

When used to clean windows, it offers a streak-free shine and helps in cutting through dirt and grime effectively. Not all types of vinegar are ideal for cleaning, with white distilled vinegar being the most recommended.

vinegar window cleaning

Benefits of Cleaning Windows with Vinegar

Environmental Friendly Attributes

Using vinegar as a window cleaner offers numerous environmental benefits. As a natural, eco-friendly alternative to chemical cleaners, vinegar does not contribute to environmental pollution. It is biodegradable and free from harmful substances. 

Health Concerns

Many commercial window cleaners contain harsh chemicals that may pose health risks. Vinegar, on the other hand, is a safe and natural alternative for cleaning glass. It does not release harmful fumes or affect the indoor air quality of your home or office. 

Quality of Cleaning

Vinegar is not only safe and environmentally friendly, but it also provides a high standard of cleaning for your windows. Its acidic nature helps dissolve grime, stains, and dirt present on glass surfaces. Moreover, vinegar leaves a streak-free shine that makes windows look crystal clear.

clean windows

Challenges Faced While Cleaning with Vinegar

The Smell of Vinegar

While vinegar is an effective natural cleaner, one common complaint is its strong, pungent smell. This odour can be quite overpowering and may cause discomfort in smaller, enclosed spaces. Moreover, when mixed with other cleaning products, the smell can even worsen. To mitigate this issue, individuals can wear rubber gloves and open windows to ventilate the area as they clean.

Clouded Windows

Another challenge encountered while cleaning windows with vinegar is the possibility of clouded windows. This can result from using an incorrect ratio of water to vinegar or if the cleaning solution is applied to the glass on an overcast or cloudy day. 

For optimal results, it’s best to carry out the cleaning process during sunny, clear days. Additionally, using soapy water can help remove grime from windows more efficiently before applying vinegar.

Cleaning SolutionIdeal Application Conditions
Vinegar and water mixtureSunny and clear days
Soapy water and vinegar solutionSunny and clear days, with a higher ratio of soapy water

Inappropriate Cleaning Days

Selecting the appropriate day to clean windows with vinegar plays a crucial role in obtaining streak-free and shiny results. An overcast or cloudy day might make it difficult for the cleaning solution to dry evenly, thus leaving streaks on the glass. 

It is advisable to clean windows on a sunny day, allowing the solution to evaporate swiftly and ensure a spotless finish.

cleaning windows with white vinegar

Alternative Cleaning Methods

Using Chemical Products

There are several chemical products available in the market specifically designed for cleaning windows. These commercial cleaners offer a quick and efficient solution, removing dirt, grime, and streaks from various surfaces. 

They often come in a spray bottle, making it easy to apply onto windows and wipe off with a paper towel or cloth. While these chemical cleaning solutions are effective, some may contain harsh chemicals that are harmful for the environment and can also irritate the skin.

Benefits of Newspapers

An old-fashioned method to clean windows is using newspapers. This may seem unconventional but newspapers have a unique texture that allows them to efficiently absorb moisture and dirt without leaving streaks or lint on the glass surface. 

Simply crumple up a page of newspaper, moisten it with a cleaning solution, and gently scrub the windows. Keep in mind that newspapers may not be suitable for all surfaces and home decor styles.

Different Types of Vinegars for Cleaning

Vinegar is a popular natural cleaning agent, but there are different types of vinegar that are suitable for various cleaning tasks. The most common type of vinegar used for cleaning windows is distilled white vinegar due to its high acidity levels and effective cleaning properties. Another option is apple cider vinegar, which also has cleaning capabilities but is generally less acidic than white vinegar.

In addition to their cleaning abilities, different types of vinegar can be combined with other natural ingredients, such as essential oils, to create custom cleaning solutions. 

For instance, adding a few drops of lemon or lavender essential oil to a vinegar-based cleaning fluid can provide pleasant aromas for the kitchen, office, or other areas where windows need cleaning. 

As each type of vinegar exhibits different levels of acidity and cleaning properties, it is important to choose the appropriate one for the task at hand. Always perform a spot test on a small, inconspicuous area to ensure that the vinegar solution does not cause any damage to the surface being cleaned. 

When tackling hard-to-reach areas, such as windows with cobwebs or dust on wooden frames, combining vinegar with a soft brush or cloth can help gently remove the dirt, while being mindful of the wood material.

To get the best results, use a professional window cleaner as they have the experience and expertise to complete the job to a high standard.

scrunched up newspaper


Using vinegar as a window cleaning solution has both pros and cons. On the positive side, it is a cost-effective, eco-friendly, and non-toxic option. Many people appreciate its effectiveness in removing dirt, grease, and hard water stains from glass surfaces. Moreover, it leaves a streak-free finish when used with the proper technique.

However, some drawbacks to using vinegar for window cleaning do exist. For instance, the strong smell of vinegar can be off-putting, and it can also harm certain types of window frames, such as wooden ones, if not used with caution.

Additionally, vinegar may not be powerful enough to tackle extremely dirty or greasy windows.There are certainly benefits to using vinegar, but it may not be the ideal choice for everyone.