Window and glass cleaners

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There’s nothing like a clean window.

We used a mechanical arm with a damp sponge to assess how well each window and glass cleaner removed a greasy soil stain. Find out which were the clear winners.

From our test

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About our test

Our test assessed how well a cleaner removed a greasy soil stain.

We applied greasy soil, which consists of peanut oil, kaolin clay and black carbon, to a window. Each cleaner was then applied to the sheet and using a mechanical arm with a damp sponge, the sheet was scrubbed 10 times. We then used a spectrophotometer to measure how much light was reflected compared to before the greasy soil was applied. This assessed how well the cleaner cleaned.

Not for use on all surfaces

Window and glass cleaners often contain ammonia, which can damage surfaces that aren’t glass or properly sealed.

The Glitz, Earthwise and Simple Green cleaners claim to be free of ammonia. Our vinegar and water recipe is ammonia-free.

There are some surfaces where you shouldn’t use window or glass cleaners, unless the cleaner states it is safe to use. These are LCD and plasma screens such as TVs, computer screens and mobile phone screens. Window and glass cleaners generally shouldn’t be used on painted and unpainted wood, cooking utensils, plates, upholstery and carpet, acrylic, fibreglass, waxed, polished or lacquered surfaces, or electrical outlets. Always read the bottle first.

For tackling a variety of stains, check out our multi-purpose cleaners test.

Safety first

Always keep your cleaners away from children — ideally in a high or locked cupboard.

If anyone swallows cleaning product, immediately rinse out their mouth with water and phone your doctor or the National Poisons Centre (0800 POISON).

Home recipe

Where possible we like to include a “home recipe” cleaner in our tests. For this test we used one-part white vinegar and one-part water.

While it didn’t clean well enough to be recommended or worth considering, it did perform better than many other branded cleaners. Because white vinegar is often already in most households, it can be a handy alternative. If you’re not fond of the vinegar smell, you can try adding a fragrance, such as lemon, to the mixture.

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