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How Does Windex Work to Clean Glass?

Updated July 20, 2017

In addition to isopropanol, 2-Butoxyethanol, ethylene and water, the key ingredient in Windex is ammonia. Ammonia is a very harsh chemical that removes stubborn stains, like cigarette smoke, fingerprints, and residue from tape or sticky labels. While it's true that ammonia is a very effective ingredient in glass cleaners, like Windex, it should never be used in conjunction with bleach.

Additional properties of windex are isopropanol, 2-butoxyethanol, ethylene and water. Isopropanol is alcohol, which is used as a solvent in Windex. Ethylene is a weak acid which fights germs and kills bacteria. Water is added to keep pH levels stable in each bottle of Windex. The solvents used in windex today are more environmentally-friendly than the solvents used in the past.

Chemical Ingredients Remove Dirt and Stains

In addition to isopropanol, 2-Butoxyethanol, ethylene and water, the key ingredient in Windex is ammonia. Ammonia is a very harsh chemical that removes stubborn stains, like cigarette smoke, fingerprints, and residue from tape or sticky labels. While it's true that ammonia is a very effective ingredient in glass cleaners, like Windex, it should never be used in conjunction with bleach.

Additional properties of windex are isopropanol, 2-butoxyethanol, ethylene and water. Isopropanol is alcohol, which is used as a solvent in Windex. Ethylene is a weak acid which fights germs and kills bacteria. Water is added to keep pH levels stable in each bottle of Windex. The solvents used in windex today are more environmentally-friendly than the solvents used in the past.

Bottled Convenience Makes Cleaning Glass Easier

Windex can be purchased in a plastic bottle that comes equipped with a spray nozzle. To clean mirrors, windows or glass furniture, point the nozzle toward the object that requires cleaning. Twist the tip of the nozzle until it is in the "spray" position. If the nozzle is in the "off" position, the liquid can not be sprayed.

Squeeze the trigger of the plastic nozzle. Cover the surface of the glass with Windex. Wipe excess Windex away with a clean paper towel. Wipe windows and mirrors from top to bottom. If smudges or dirt remain, repeat the process until windows are clean. Use a new sheet of paper towel each time.

Get a Streak-Free Shine, Every Time

Windex's active ingredients, including ammonia, work together to remove dust, grease, smoke, dirt and grime. Nevertheless, dirt and grime may remain, if the windex is not wiped off in a timely fashion.

Use Windex to Remove Decals from Glass

Anyone that wishes to remove stickers and decals from glass tables, windows or mirrors, can do so easily with windex. To remove stickers or decals from glass, simply spray the sticker or decal with windex. Allow the windex to penetrate the surface of the sticker or decal. The sticker must be saturated. Use a razor blade to peel the top layer of the decal from the glass. A sticky layer will most likely remain on the glass. Use windex and a paper towel to remove the sticky residue from the glass. Rub the glass in a circular motion for best results.

Cautionary Advice

Although windex can be used on chrome, stainless steel and plastic, it is not recommended for use on wood or other varnished surfaces. Windex should be kept out of reach of small children and pets. If windex is sprayed in the eyes, immediately flush eyes with water. Do not ingest windex. Do not mix bleach-based products with Windex. The combination can be lethal.

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About the Author

Ris Lexington, a New York-based editor, has more than a decade of experience in newspaper, magazine and book publishing. Before becoming a professional writer online in 2007, she served as the editor of a Canadian health and wellness magazine. She holds a bachelor's degree in English.