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10 best glass and window cleaners for a streak-free finish

Nobody should have to tolerate dirty fingerprints on their windows, grimy stains on their hob or stubborn watermarks on their shower screen and, luckily, you don’t have to either. Get the shiny, smear-free glass you deserve with one of our top glass cleaner picks.

By Hannah Wilson | Last updated Mar 16, 2022

Smiling woman cleaning window

There may be nothing more satisfying than cleaning a dirty mark off your window or a little handprint off a mirror, but while there are plenty of glass cleaners on the market, including budget options, eco-friendly sprays and special formulas for tackling tougher jobs such as oven hobs and cars, it’s not always easy to get a streak-free finish.

In fact, use the wrong product and you could end up with more marks than you started with. The right glass cleaner and cloth, however, will remove dirt and smears from glass surfaces, windows and mirrors to leave them looking spotless.

To help you choose the best glass and window cleaner for your needs, we thoroughly researched some of the biggest brands on the market. We spent four hours comparing bestseller rankings and searching the Mumsnet forums and online consumer reviews to find honest feedback from real people who have tried and tested the very glass and window cleaners we recommend.

Whatever surface you need to tackle, here are the 10 best glass cleaners to get that sparkling finish.

1. Best overall glass cleaner: Windex Original Glass Cleaner  

Windex Glass Cleaner

Price: £8.68 | Buy now from Amazon

“If you can find a glass cleaner with ammonia in it, try that. It works on nearly everything. Favourite brand is the American glass cleaner Windex.” (Rated by Mumsnet user aNewYorkerInLondon)

Windex has been cleaning glass since 1933 and is a trusted formula for getting a streak-free finish. The formula cuts through dirt and grease to eliminate smears and give glass a long-lasting shine. 

As it’s an American product, Brits do have to pay a bit more to buy it, but Windex fans love how versatile it is, using it on everything from mirrors and showers to printer heads and trainers (yes, really). We also like that the Windex bottle has an easy-grip design and is made from 100% recycled plastic.

Due to Windex containing ammonia, the window spray does have a strong scent, and it can irritate your skin and eyes if they come in contact with it. So we recommend ventilating the area well and using rubber gloves and protective eyewear if you can.

Pros

  • Multipurpose and cleans a variety of surfaces
  • Streak-free finish
  • Bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Strong scent

Key specs

  • Type: Liquid spray
  • Amount: 950ml
  • Scent: Unscented

2. Best budget glass cleaner: Astonish Window and Glass Cleaner

Astonish Window and Glass Cleaner

Price: From £1.71 | Buy now from Amazon

“Either Astonish or Stardrops glass cleaner or white vinegar spray.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user MikeUniformMike)

Found on the shelves of most budget home stores, Astonish is a trusty spray with a purse-friendly price tag. Instead of harsh chemicals, it uses vinegar to get surfaces smear- and dirt-free making it safer to use if you have children and pets around. But don’t be put off by vinegar as an ingredient as this window cleaner has a fresh eucalyptus and lemon scent. 

The quick-drying formula can leave your windows and mirrors shining, and it’s cruelty-free and vegan-friendly to boot. Just make sure to avoid contact with acid-sensitive surfaces such as marble and limestone, and don’t use it on varnished, polished or unsealed wood.

Some reviewers have found that this cleaner occasionally leaves streaks, so we recommend spraying the surface and wiping the product off straight away with a lint-free cloth instead of letting it soak.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Pet- and child-friendly
  • Cruelty-free and vegan

Cons

  • Not suitable for acid-sensitive surfaces or wood
  • May not be streak-free

Key specs

  • Type: Liquid spray
  • Amount: 750ml
  • Scent: Eucalyptus and lemon

3. Best eco-friendly glass cleaner: Method Glass Cleaner Spray

Method Glass Cleaner

Price: £3.50 | Buy now from Amazon

“Method Glass Cleaner (bluish liquid) is amazing.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user TigerTulip)

Not only is this glass cleaner from Method better for the environment, but it also comes with a minty aroma, with undertones of eucalyptus leaves and peppermint that’ll leave your home smelling fresh and clean - without the scent of harsh chemicals. 

It’s made with plant-based ingredients and is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free, so you can clean most surfaces such as showers, windows and glass tables knowing you’re doing your bit for the planet. It's not only free from chemicals, which makes it safer for children and pets, but it also comes in a plastic bottle that’s 100% post-consumer recycled.

But because it only relies on natural ingredients, the Method Glass Cleaner might not be suitable for getting rid of particularly tough stains. Or you may find that you need to spray the product multiple times.

Pros

  • Uses plant-based, vegan-friendly ingredients
  • Smells fresh and clean

Cons

  • May leave streaks on windows or glass that’s really dirty
  • May need to re-apply spray more than one to get results

Key specs

  • Type: Liquid spray
  • Amount: 828ml
  • Scent: Mint, eucalyptus and peppermint

4. Best glass hob cleaner: HG Hob Thorough Cleaner

HG Hob Glass Cleaner

Price: £6.74 | Buy now from Amazon

“There’s an HG hob cleaner. I use that or a wet cloth depending on my mood.” (Rated by Mumsnet user RandomDent)

When it comes to cleaning oven hobs, wiping them with a standard cleaner may get rid of food stains but can leave behind unsightly smears. The Hob Thorough Cleaner by HG has been designed to clean and leave a protective shine. 

The powerful formula safely removes grease, grime and food marks from induction, gas, glass and ceramic hobs. Simply apply with a cloth, wipe clean and polish to shine, and your hobs will be gleaming again in no time.

Despite this glass cleaner’s powerful chemicals, it has a pleasant aroma that will leave your kitchen looking and smelling clean. However, some reviewers have found that HG Thorough Cleaner caused their hob markings to fade, so remember to do a patch test on your hob before using this product.

Pros

  • Safe to use on induction, gas, glass and ceramic hobs
  • Easy to apply
  • Removes grease, grime, calcium and cooked-on food 

Cons

  • May remove oven markings
  • Only suitable for cleaning oven hobs
  • Expensive for the size of the bottle

Key specs

  • Type: Liquid
  • Amount: 250ml
  • Scent: Unscented

5. Best car glass cleaner: Autoglym Fast Glass

Autoglym Glass Cleaner

Price: £6.37 | Buy now from Amazon

“Would second Autoglym. Always impressed with their products.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user PinkJam)

Many domestic glass cleaners contain wax and silicone, which can have a dangerous smearing effect on windscreens in wet weather, but not Autoglym Fast Glass. As well as being free of wax and silicone, it’s also free from abrasives.  

Your car may encounter its fair share of traffic film, grease, dust, bird droppings, oil and even insect remains, but with just a few sprays of Autoglym, you can wipe away any dirt and grime with a microfibre cloth. And to get that ultimate new-car shine, use a different microfibre cloth to buff the window. It’s recommended to clean large surfaces before using the spray to prevent smudging. 

This versatile glass cleaner is suitable for cleaning windscreens, glass substitutes, plastics, paintwork, mirrors, your in-car screen and your sat nav equipment without leaving a greasy residue, making it ideal for a shiny car both inside and out.

Pros

  • Removes grime, sap, oil, grease and residue
  • Suitable for all surfaces of the car
  • Streak-free

Cons

  • Need to clean large areas before applying
  • May need to elbow grease for stubborn stains
  • If used on treated paintwork, you need to re-seal and re-polish

Key specs

  • Type: Liquid spray
  • Amount: 560ml
  • Scent: Unscented

6. Best glass and mirror cleaner: Nilco Nilglass H3 Glass and Mirror Cleaner

nilglass cleaner

Price: £11.09 (for 5L refill) | Buy now from Amazon 

“Nilglass for glass and mirrors. Nothing compares to how excellent this product is.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user Roselilly36)

Designed with professional window cleaners in mind, Nilco Nilgass H3 promises to be a failsafe glass and mirror cleaner for smear-free results. It’s suitable for most types of glass, including shower screens and glass tables, and all water-resistant hard surfaces so you can use it both around your home and to clean your car.

As the formula is so powerful, you only need to spray a small amount and, once you've covered the glass with a light spray, you need to wipe it away with a lint-free cloth and buff it until it's dry. For more stubborn stains, you can leave the spray to soak for a few minutes before wiping it away, but be careful not to leave it on too long as it may cause streaking.

Nilglass is available to buy in 500ml or one-litre trigger spray bottles as well as a five-litre refill, which will save you money and reduce your waste. But if you don’t already have a trigger spray bottle, Nilco offers a one-litre spray bottle and five-litre refill bundle too. 

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for most types of glass
  • Five-litre refill offers great value for money
  • Variety of sizes to choose from

Cons

  • Need a spray bottle to use the refill pack
  • Can’t use in direct sunlight
  • Must be removed before it dries to avoid streaks

Key specs

  • Type: Liquid
  • Amount: Five litres
  • Scent: Unscented

7. Best shower glass cleaner: Viakal Limescale Remover Spray

Viakal Limescale Remover

Price: £4.02 | Buy now from Amazon

“Viakal Viakal Viakal! Only thing I’ve found that works on ours.” macaronip1e

While not specifically a glass cleaner, Viakal’s Limescale Remover Spray is very effective at getting rid of limescale and pesky watermarks on your shower screen. 

Cleaning guru Mrs Hinch is a fan and uses it on all the shiny areas of her bathroom, such as taps, plugs and shower heads. Simply spray it on, scrub the surface with a non-scratch scourer to remove any stains and leave to soak for 20 minutes. Then rinse and buff with a clean microfibre cloth. 

Viakal also helps to prevent limescale build-up but does have a strong chemical smell, so make sure to open your windows when cleaning. Alternatively, for a fresher, less chemically aroma, you may prefer Viakal Fresh, which is the same Viakal cleaner but scented with Febreze. 

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Removes limescale, dirt and makes bathroom surfaces sparkle
  • Works on a multitude of surfaces, including glass doors, ceramic sinks, taps, toilets, bathtubs, chrome, stainless steel and shower walls

Cons

  • Strong chemical smell
  • Only for bathroom and kitchen use
  • Not suitable for use on hot, damaged or acid-sensitive surfaces, enamelled metals, household appliances or natural stone

Key specs

  • Type: Liquid spray
  • Amount: 500ml
  • Scent: Unscented

8. Best glass cleaner for house windows: HG Glass and Mirror Spray

HG Glass and Mirror Cleaner

Price: £2.25 | Buy now from Amazon

“I just discovered a product called HG. Game-changer!” (Rated by Mumsnet user Notsurenow43)

HG has a whole range of products for cleaning your home, from mould removers to toilet cleaners. Their Glass and Mirror Spray is a great low-price option for tackling dirt and grease on all glass surfaces inside and outside of your home. 

This versatile 500ml bottle is particularly useful for getting rid of a build-up of soap residue on shower screens, and wiping smears off glass tables and dirty fingerprints off mirrors to give you that much-desired streak-free finish. It can also clean windows, doors, car interiors, glass cabinets, conservatories, sheds and bi-fold doors.

It’s easy to use as all you need to do is spray the surface and wipe it away with a dry, clean cloth or kitchen roll. You don’t need to wait around either as this fast-drying product gets to work in less than five minutes. However, you will need to wear protective gloves and eyewear when using it and to ventilate the area well.

Pros

  • Affordable 
  • Suitable for cleaning all windows and mirrors
  • Minimal wiping and fast-drying formula

Cons

  • Must wear protective gloves and eyewear 
  • Strong chemical smell

Key specs

  • Type: Liquid spray
  • Amount: 500ml
  • Scent: Unscented

9. Best foam glass cleaner: House Mate Foam Mirror and Glass Cleaner

Housemate Glass Cleaner

Price: £4 | Buy now from Amazon

With House Mate Foaming Mirror and Glass Cleaner, you don’t have to worry about wiping away drip marks or unnecessary waste. Unlike water-based products, the foam sticks to the glass to get working on any stains, smears or dirt immediately. 

It works on all glass surfaces, including windows, car windows, mirrors, glass shelves, glass tables shower screens and induction hobs.

To get a shining and sparkling surface, spray the foam on then wipe it off with a lint-free cloth. While using the cleaner, ensure the area is well-ventilated as it does have a strong chemical smell.

Pros

  • Easy to use with no drips
  • Smear and streak-free
  • Suitable for all glass surfaces

Cons

  • Need to wipe off immediately to prevent smears
  • Chemical odour

Key specs

  • Type: Sprayable foam
  • Amount: 400ml
  • Scent: Unscented

10. Best glass cleaner wipes: E-Cloth Glass and Polishing Cloth

E-cloths glass cleaner

Price: £12.05 (for a four-pack) | Buy now from Amazon

“Buy an E-Cloth. They are fab and then all you need is water to clean with.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user newcupcake)

If you don’t like using chemicals, an E-Cloth is a very effective alternative. Using masses of microfibres, it removes dirt and streaks from glass surfaces with only water. For tough stains, you can also use these E-Cloths with one of the above glass cleaners, simply spray the glass and wipe the residue away.

The cloth absorbs moisture and over 99% of bacteria to leave your mirrors, windows, chrome and other surfaces looking clean and smudge-free. Afterwards, you simply throw it in the washing machine and reuse once dry. 

There’s no plastic or paper waste, and it’ll be much nicer on your bank balance too. This pack also comes with four cloths and a three-year or 300-wash guarantee if you find it’s not doing its job properly. 

Unfortunately, the material is quite thin, which means you need to make sure you have a good grip of the cloth, otherwise you might end up with more smears than you started with.

Pros

  • Easy to use, and all you need is water to get your glass shiny
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Washable and reusable
  • Comes with a three-year (or 300-wash) guarantee

Cons

  • Material is quite thin
  • May not work on very dirty or grimy glass

Key specs

  • Type: Fabric
  • Amount: Four-pack
  • Scent: Unscented

What do professionals use to clean windows? 

A professional window cleaner will always get your windows shining again, but once you have the right tools it’s fairly easy to do yourself too. Choosing the right day is key though – while a sunny day will reveal any hidden smears and dirt, it’s better to clean your windows on a cloudy day as the sun could dry your windows too quickly.

 1. Clean

Prepare your cleaning solution - many window cleaners swear by dishwasher liquid, such as Fairy Washing Up Liquid. For exterior windows, you can add approximately a teaspoon to some cold water in a bucket (for interior windows, use a spray bottle). Avoid making too many soap suds and use a sponge or scrubber (professionals also use squeegees) to clean your windows, making sure to squeeze out any excess water. Work in an ‘S’ pattern around the glass until it’s clean.

 2. Dry

Once all the dirt and dust has been removed, use a rubber squeegee to wipe the glass until it’s dry, moving it horizontally across the window to push the water down. In between wipes, use a microfibre cloth or towel to clean the blade and repeat until all the water has gone.

 3. Polish

To finish, a professional window cleaner will always polish the glass. To do this, simply use a clean microfibre cloth to wipe the edges of the window and clean the glass of any smears. 

What is the best way to clean glass without streaks? 

Whether you’re cleaning a glass window, shower screen, table or cabinet, there are certain steps you need to take to avoid streaks and smears.

But what are streaks? Streaks are residue that is left behind. This is why most professional window cleaners choose to clean windows on mild, cloudy days instead of warm, sunny ones because the sun evaporates the window cleaner quicker and causes streaks to appear. Streaks also appear on the glass when you use too much liquid or don’t successfully remove all of it.

To avoid streaky glass when using window or glass cleaners, we recommend you follow our step-by-step guide:

1. Choose your glass cleaner carefully

There’s a vast selection of glass cleaners available. Some are multipurpose, while others are specific for certain types of glass (such as car windows). 

We recommend you choose a glass cleaner with either ammonia or isopropyl alcohol in it as these ingredients prevent streaks. Alternatively, you can make your own glass cleaner using white vinegar.

2. Spray the glass with your cleaner

Use a spray bottle and lightly cover the glass with your cleaning solution. Start at the top of the glass and work your way down, ensuring all of the glass is covered in the cleaner.

Avoid using too much glass cleaner as this may lead to streaks. If needs be, you can always apply more later.

3. Scrub the glass with a microfibre cloth

Using a microfibre cloth, start scrubbing the cleaning solution into the glass. Work your way from one corner to the other and then move the cloth down and scrub from side to side again. Keep scrubbing from side to side and moving down the glass, until you’ve wiped all sections of it.

If you prefer to, you can use a squeegee or even newspaper instead of a microfibre cloth. But don’t use paper towels as these will leave behind lint and streaks.

4. Buff the glass with a dry microfibre cloth

There are bound to be small spots that you’ve missed, so take a step back and examine any imperfections on the glass then scrub the stain in a circular motion using a clean microfibre cloth. Repeat the buffing process for each spot that you’ve missed. 

If the glass still looks streaky or dirty, re-apply the cleaning solution then scrub and buff until the stains are gone.

Top tip: If you’re shining a mirror or glass with stubborn marks on it, such as hairspray or toothpaste, and have followed the above steps, you can remove the stains with isopropyl alcohol. Simply pour some isopropyl alcohol onto a cotton pad and dab or scrub at the stain until it’s gone. 

How do I choose the best glass cleaner?

The first thing to consider when choosing the best glass cleaner is what you need it for.  Do you want a glass cleaner that works on multiple surfaces or only specific ones? For example, if you’re cleaning an oven hob then you’ll want the HG Hob Thorough Cleaner, which is designed specifically for hobs. Whereas, if you want a glass cleaner for multiple surfaces then the Astonish Window and Glass Cleaner is ideal. 

Looking at the ingredients is another way to choose the best glass cleaner for your surfaces. Some people prefer to use products with ammonia in it, such as Windex Original, as this helps to prevent streaks and makes glass shiny, but it can also smell strongly and irritate your skin and eyes.

Other people prefer to use glass cleaners that use less harsh chemicals such as hexoxyethanol, isopropanolamine or sodium laureth sulphate. You can also find glass cleaners that are chemical-free, such as the Method Glass Cleaner

You might also want to think about the scent before you choose the best glass cleaner. Natural ingredient glass cleaners often contain scents such as mint and eucalyptus, and you can also find ones that have added scents, such as Viakal Fresh.

Most chemical-based glass cleaners are unscented, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have an aroma, which may smell strongly and require good ventilation.

What is the best glass cleaner on the market?

We think Windex Original is the most effective glass cleaner, as it’s versatile and can clean mirrors, showers and even printer heads. Although it’s not the cheapest, it’s highly rated - and it’s easy to see why. This streak-eliminating formula effortlessly cuts through dirt and grease to give a lasting shine.

What is the best homemade window cleaner? 

A popular homemade solution uses white vinegar to clean glass. Add two tablespoons of vinegar to water either in a bucket or a spray bottle then use a lint-free cloth to rub the mixture onto the glass and a second clean cloth to dry it and remove any smears. 

The solution may smell for a while but shouldn’t last long. But be careful though as it can discolour some materials, such as wood. For very dirty windows, you can also add ammonia, but make sure you wear gloves. Instead of using a cloth, newspapers can also be effective at getting rid of smears.

How we chose our recommendations 

Fingertip-stained glass and dirt-smeared windows are not only unsightly but can increase allergens and encourage mould to grow in your home, which is why choosing an effective glass cleaner is vital. 

To ensure we were bringing you the very best glass cleaner recommendations, we scoured Mumsnet forums to see which products were highly-rated by families who have tried and tested them in their own homes. 

By relying on honest and unbiased recommendations from real people, we were then able to conduct in-depth research on each product, including the product’s efficiency at removing stains, ease of use and pros and cons. We also widened our search and compared consumer feedback on retailer websites, such as Amazon, to get a clearer picture of which glass cleaners were most effective.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.