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One of my least favorite cleaning chores has always been washing windows and mirrors.
Conventional glass-cleaning products are usually filled with chemicals, and they usually smell pretty nasty too.
And even natural cleaners often don’t work as well, leaving streaks on the glass – which seems to happen a lot even with those products that claim to be “streak-free.” And then there’s the problem of the little bits of lint left by the paper towels that make the glass look just as dusty as if it had never been cleaned in the first place.
An Old-Fashioned Solution
I’ve finally found an old-fashioned glass cleaning method, though, that is effective, non-toxic, recyclable, and essentially free! The solution? Clean glass with newspaper. That’s it. Just newspaper!
“To Clean Looking Glasses – Take a newspaper, fold it small, dip it in a basin of clear cold water.
When thoroughly wet, squeeze it out as you do sponge, then rub it pretty hard all over the surface of the glass, taking care that it is not so wet as to run down in streams: in fact, the paper must only be completely moistened, or dampened, all through.
Let it rest a few minutes, then go over the glass with a piece of fresh dry newspaper, till it looks clear and bright. The insides of windows may be cleaned in the same way; also spectacle glasses, lamp-glasses &c.”
I was a bit skeptical about this method at first. No cleaning solution? Just damp newspaper?! I had to try it myself to believe it, and . . . it actually worked!
To test it out, I used the dirtiest window I could find, the one my dog, Daisy, likes to use as her look-out spot to watch people and other dogs walk down the street.
Because Daisy is constantly slobbering on the window, the glass ends up looking like this:
This is the best photo I could get of the slobber. Trust me, though, this picture doesn’t even do it justice. It looks much, much worse in person. In the afternoon, when the sunlight hits the glass at just the right angle, you can actually see streaks of doggy snot running down the window. Not exactly a pretty sight.
After using the newspaper method, though, that same pane of glass looked like this:
Again, it’s really hard to get a good picture of the window glass, but the streaks and smudges and dog slobber were completely gone! And the method couldn’t be any simpler.
How to Do the Newspaper Method
1) The only two products you need for this method, of course, are water and a couple of pages from an old newspaper. I’d recommend using the normal old-fashioned black-and-white papery kind, though, not the colored shiny pages used for ads and store flyers.
2) Then, like the “Domestic Economist” says, dip the newspaper into a bowl of water, or run it under the faucet, and squeeze out any excess water so it is just damp and not dripping wet.
3) Then just scrub away at the window like you usually would. Unless it’s really, really filthy you probably won’t have to scrub too hard.
4)Then, just take a dry page of newspaper and polish the glass with it until all the water drops are gone and it looks clear and shiny. Put the newspaper into the recycling bin, and you’re done!
Bonus Benefits of the Newspaper Method:
- No extra cost – use old newspapers you’ve already finished reading
- Non-toxic – no chemicals, no anything except for water.
- No streaks – no leftover product residue
- No lint – newspaper doesn’t leave dusty lint behind like paper towels
- No waste – unlike paper towels soaked with glass-cleaner, the newspaper can be recycled
I’ve heard of frugal household cleaning methods, but this is just about as frugal as it gets. The housewives of the olden days really knew what they were talking about. Happy cleaning!
This post is linked to Sunday School at Butter Believer, Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday at Granny’s Vital Vittles, Family Table Tuesday at the Polivka Family, Natural Living Link-Up at Jill’s Home Remedies, Frugal Days Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable.