You just got home from a late night at work and remembered that you have company coming over later on. You decide to do a quick clean-up, picking up old clothes, giving the house a vacuum, and throwing the dishes in the dishwasher. Then, you look over and see your glass door and your glass table are filthy with fingerprints, and who knows what else.
So can you use rubbing alcohol to clean glass? Rubbing alcohol is an excellent glass cleaner and it often works even better than traditional ammonia-based glass cleaners such as Windex. If you’re ever in a bind and you need a quick, efficient, and safe way to clean your windows or other surfaces, rubbing alcohol is the perfect alternative to clean your glass.
Not only is rubbing alcohol an excellent glass cleaner, but it often works even better than traditional ammonia-based glass cleaners such as Windex. Today, I’m going to break down why rubbing alcohol works so well and how you can make your very own glass cleaner using alcohol and other common household ingredients! Let’s jump in.
How Does Rubbing Alcohol Clean Glass Surfaces?
Glass is a beautiful accent that has become increasingly popular in home design. It’s clean edges and the transparent surface can give your home a large, open feel that you won’t get out of other materials such as wood or synthetic building supplies. Aside from windows, glass is used in tables, doors, and your dishes.
Since the early-1900s, most people have just used Windex and other ammonia-based glass cleaners when it came to keeping their windows and surfaces spotless and shining. The Phillip W. Drackett Company invented their signature blend in 1933, and since then, it’s spread around the world.
However, most people don’t know that rubbing alcohol is actually one of the cheapest and easiest ways to clean glass. Isopropyl rubbing alcohol was first invented in 1920 and was mainly used as an industrial propellant and cleaner, later making its way into the medical field. By the time it became a common household item, people had already been using Windex for decades.
If rubbing alcohol can remove car paint and acrylic paint from surfaces, it can certainly remove a few smudges. But why is rubbing alcohol such a great glass cleaner, and how is it any better than other glass cleaners?
The answer as to why alcohol works so well is that it contains a high concentration of non-polar particles. Think about most of the grime on your windows and tabletop. They’re mostly from oil fingerprints, old food, and people’s arms resting on them. The one thing all of these have in common is oil.
Almost all forms of oil are non-polar, meaning that the particles within don’t have a negative charge. Without getting into all of the in-depth chemistry, all of this matters because of one important concept- likes dissolve likes. This means that oil can dissolve other oils, and water can dissolve other water-based liquids.
So why not just rub some oil on your glass, then? As you can imagine, this would only make the glass even dirtier.
The reason why alcohol works better than oil for cleaning glass is that it evaporates incredibly fast. This means that as it is actively dissolving the oils and smudges, it’s also evaporating and completely removing the oily smudge particles from the surface.
Now you may be thinking, “Okay, but what makes alcohol better than other glass cleaners?”
The answer to this is that it’s more natural than commercial cleaners. Almost all glass cleaners contain high concentrations of ammonia and other chemicals. When these chemicals are inhaled or they’re allowed to absorb into your skin, they can have a very harmful effect on your body and brain.
The desire to replace harmful cleaning products with safer, more natural ones has been the driving force behind many Americans throwing out their old cleaning sprays and replacing them with their own homemade alcohol-based sprays. If you scroll down to the bottom of the article, I’ve put together an easy recipe to make your own glass cleaning spray!
Here are some other posts that might interest you:
- Can Rubbing Alcohol Kill Mold?
- Will Rubbing Alcohol Remove Acrylic Paint?
- Alternatives To Rubbing Alcohol
- Using Rubbing Alcohol To Clean Leather
- Can Rubbing Alcohol Be Used On Car Paint?
Can I Use Rubbing Alcohol To Clean My Phone Glass?
Every year, thousands of people damage their phones and electronics by spraying them down with commercial glass cleaners. I can’t even blame them because I did the same thing myself before I knew any better.
The problem with ammonia-based glass cleaners, though, is that they’re full of ingredients. While some of these ingredients evaporate quickly, others can remain stuck on the surface and damage the fragile circuit boards behind your phone screen.
Alcohol, on the other hand, evaporates almost as quickly as you put it down! This makes it the perfect solvent for cleaning electronics! If any of it accidentally gets past the screen and into your phone, it will evaporate in seconds before it has a chance to do any real damage.
For cleaning your phone glass, I recommend using pure, unadulterated rubbing alcohol as opposed to one of the homemade alcohol sprays. Again, this is because you want it to evaporate as quickly as possible.
Can I Use Rubbing Alcohol To Clean Tinted Windows?
If your home or vehicle’s windows are tinted, you should never use Windex or ammonia-based glass cleaners on them. Ammonia is a stronger corrosive than alcohol and can quickly break down your tint, causing fading and unwanted bubbles. For this reason, most tint shops and detailers recommend using an alcohol-based glass cleaner like the one listed below!
How To Make Homemade Glass Cleaner With Rubbing Alcohol
While pure rubbing alcohol is a great glass cleaner by itself, sometimes it’s overkill. For cleaning your windows, you simply don’t need something that strong. Plus, you can save money by diluting the alcohol to make your own homemade glass cleaner! All you need is a clean empty spray bottle!
Here’s the recipe:
- 1 cup of isopropyl rubbing alcohol (70% or stronger)
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
- Optional: A few drops of citrus essential oil (if you want some fragrance)
Just mix all of these ingredients together in the spray bottle, shake it vigorously for 60 seconds, and you’re good to go!