In our ongoing quest to consider “greener” solutions to cleaning products that don’t leave a toxic residue or acidic odor, the New York Times has conducted a field test of numerous window cleaners. It turns out the water, vinegar, rubbing alcohol based cleaners was very effective and they also highly recommend using newspaper as your cleaning agent.
I tried several variations of a homemade white-vinegar-and-water mix, which did a good job at practically no cost. The one that proved most effective was one part vinegar to two parts of water. It was very runny, though, which meant I had to wipe quickly and vigorously with newspaper. A couple of tablespoons of rubbing alcohol added to the mix boosted its cleaning power and made it evaporate faster. If D.I.Y. isn’t your thing, Greenology makes an organic liquid that was the best of the vinegar-based commercial products.
I also put wiping materials to the test and found that I liked newspaper best by far. There was a slight learning curve — just how much should it be crumpled at the outset (a lot), just how wet should it get before it’s time for another sheet (not very) — but it did a first-rate job. Remember to wear rubber gloves or your hands will be black with ink.