The Mr Sparkle Chronicles considerable considerations

Archive for August, 2012

The Windex Conspiracy or Vinegar and Water?

The Windex conspiracy. Every time we use windex we close our eyes to the reality that it doesn’t work that well. And on the rare occasions that it does, a day later  the tell tale streaks of our towel appear. That is the conspiracy. We are asked to believe Windex works even in the face of the evidence that it doesn’t. Then we grab the bottle of Windex to clean up the streaks..? Would you clean a wine glass with windex?  Probably not.  The good news is you can easily clean a window the way you would wash a wine glass. Water, a soft scrubber or towel, and a very little soap. No suds (so add the soap to the water after you fill a bucket). Towel dry it. It will look great. Save your money on the Windex. Enough said.

My mom used vinegar…What do you use to clean windows?”  Elbow grease; that’s my cheeky answer. The real answer is  we use a product called Dawn…dishsoap…and just a wee drab. That, and the proper technique and tools produce the professional result. A professional cleaner uses a strip washer to apply water, a 5″ razor, brushes, sea sponges and a squeegee in their craft. I can’t prove it, but I believe that vinegar and newspaper (or ammonia or TSP) hold their sacred place in window cleaning mythology because at one time they were the tools of choice. Everyone had vinegar on hand, and newspaper was plentiful and essentially free. Equally, there was once a time when the Sears catalog was the tool of choice in the bathroom. Yet today, most everyone would agree there are far superior products for the purpose.

Vinegar really is a good and versatile cleanser, which can be used  in pickeling and other cooking. And, until the recent digital age of printing, newspapers were printed on a more absorbant, less slick paper and covered news. Nowadays, a wide range of detergents out-clean vinegar and are  more common than vinegar  in our homes. Plus, towels are inexpensive and easily available. 

Given the times and circumstances, vinegar and newspaper once made sense. Today, a homeowner can use soap in moderation with a terry cloth towel and feel just as good about the job. Or even a little better.

Next week I’ll publish complete cleaning instructions right out of our beginning cleaner’s manual!