Skip to Content

Can You Use Windshield Washer Fluid To Clean Windows? (Like Windex)

If you’ve ever run out of Windex you may have wandered around your house looking for an alternative and noticed that extra windshield washer in your garage. Of course it’s designed to be used on car windshields but can you use it for the windows in your house as well? 

Although cleaning your windows with a cleaner like Windex will give you a more streak free clean you can absolutely use window washer fluid in a pinch. You can also save a lot of money by using window washer fluid as it typically is far cheaper than normal window cleaning products. 

In fact, the type of alcohol found in window washer fluid is used in many household cleaners to kill germs and bacteria. It’s also a great spot cleaner for removing spots of toothpaste or makeup stains from your bathroom mirror.

Using washer fluid to clean windows does work but you should always be careful to read the ingredients on the bottle before using a product on anything but a car windshield.

Some cheap windshield washer fluids will be mostly water and those will streak on your house windows the most, however the more expensive brands of windshield washer fluid will have more detergent in them and will clean just like Windex. 

It’s also important to note that windshield washer fluid can easily cause your hands to dry out so it’s important to put on rubber gloves when cleaning with it whereas you don’t really have to do that with Windex in most cases. 

What’s The Difference Between Windex And Windshield Washer Fluid?

Windshield washer fluid is much cheaper than Windex and Walmart sells a gallon for just a couple of bucks. The active ingredient in windshield washer fluid is methanol which is then mixed with water and other additives.

Windex on the other hand is made mostly of water and ammonium hydroxide which breaks down into vinegar when combined with the water. The acidity of Windex ensures that it cleans better than windshield washer fluid by breaking down dirt and grime instantly. It is also designed to not streak as much and will not be as abrasive as windshield washer fluid is. 

Of course the biggest reason that people want to use windshield washer fluid is how cheap it for a massive amount (a couple of dollars per gallon) while normal window washer fluid is the same price for a tiny bottle. 

You have to do your own testing with different brands of windshield washer fluid to see if it is a close enough clean in your opinion to make the savings worthwhile. For most people it is better to buy a slightly more expensive windshield washer fluid that is $4-$6 a gallon as it will work far better on windows than the cheaper cleaner. 

Even at $4-$6 per gallon, windshield washer fluid is still much cheaper than Windex so you can still save a lot of money. 

What Do Professional Window Cleaners Use To Clean Windows? 

Now that we have covered that you can use windshield washer fluid if you choose to, you might be wondering what the professional window cleaners use to clean windows on houses. 

The most common answer is that they actually pay up and use Windex but there are also other cleaners out there that professional window cleaners use in the field. 

If you are a professional window cleaner (or you’re hiring them), it is worth paying a lot more money for a product that is designed to clean windows much better than Windex so that they can be cleaned even faster and with less effort. 

Typically professional window cleaners will use a concentrated window cleaning solution like those made by ZEP.

Is Newspaper Good For Cleaning Windows?

Now that we’ve covered what liquid you can use to clean your windows you might be wondering if using newspaper to clean them is a good choice or not. Afterall most of us have some newspapers lying around and many people get them for free every week as well. 

But are newspapers good for cleaning your windows? 

Many people swear that newspapers will work just fine but the truth is that it’s not a good idea to use them as they will streak quite a bit. 

It turns out that the ink that is used in newspapers isn’t really designed to be used on windows or any other surface. It can work in a pinch but it’s generally better to use something like paper towels or even better a microfiber cloth. 

You may also have some newspaper lying around your house because you use it for wrapping gifts or when packing around the house, but it turns out that newspaper is actually a bad choice for any type of window cleaning job. 

What I personally use is two microfiber cloths to clean my windows. I use one to get the majority of the liquid and dirt/grime off and the other for the final wipe down of any leftover streaks or liquid. This method works really well for cleaning the outside of windows that are dirtier but also works inside as well. 

What Is The Best Non Streak Window Cleaner? 

If you are looking to get the best window cleaner that will streak as little as possible then you will want to check out Perfect Glass. It has thousands of reviews on Amazon with the vast majority of them being extremely positive. It is more expensive than using windshield washer fluid but many people swear by it being the absolute best option currently available. 

Yes, you can use this company’s cleaning solution to clean normal windows but it is also used for cleaning virtually anything that is glass from car windows to glass shower doors. 

It works great and if you hate the streaks as much as we do then they probably won’t even notice them because of how little they stand out. That is why we recommend going with this option over Windex.

Is It Bad To Use Windex On Car Windows? 

If you have a car then you will know that the windows will get dirty on it pretty regularly but is cleaning them with Windex a good option or should you only clean them with window products that are specifically designed for cars?

It turns out that Windex will work just fine when cleaning your car windows but you should always make sure to test a small area before going for the whole thing especially if you have window tint and are cleaning it. 

For the outside of the vehicle windows you are much better off using a general car cleaner than Windex however. 

The problem with using Windex on your cars windows is that it can leave streaks behind that can be pretty difficult to get off but the bigger issue is that it simply doesn’t work very well to get off water spots or road dirt and grime which is where the more professional cleaners (like those mentioned earlier will work better. 


I hope that this article has been helpful and answered your questions about using windshield washer fluid on your windows as well as giving you additional information about what you can use on your windows to leave them streak free and get them as clean as possible. 

Basically, as long as you don’t use the cheapest windshield washer fluid it should work just fine for your normal house windows but ultimately only you can decide if the savings are worth the extra streaks that it might leave (if you get a cheaper one).