The Best Glass Cleaner Is Plant-Based and Leaves Your Surfaces Schmutz-Free
We tested several, so you can skip the Windex.
Published Aug 27, 2022 1:00 AM
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Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
Nothing gets visibly dirty quite like glass and mirrors. From toothpaste splattered on the medicine cabinet to a thick line of dust on your windows—they both need a regular shining. That’s why having a reliable glass cleaner on standby is key to getting those spots spiffed up in an instant. But you don’t need to rely on a mixture of ammonia or other additives for crystal-clear shine.
Before reaching for a typical glass cleaner, consider a plant-derived formula instead. And while there are plenty of options on the market, there’s only one that we think sits above the rest, especially when it comes to scent. After rounds and rounds of testing several similar products, the best glass cleaner that tops our list is made by Safely.
- Best overall: Safely Glass Cleaner
Best Overall: Safely Glass Cleaner
Size: 28 ounces | Application: Spray and wipe | Price: $6–$7
What we like:
- Nontoxic, natural formula
- Refillable, colorful bottle design
- 3 scents to choose from (though all smell as good as a fancy candle)
- While we didn’t have problems with the nozzle, other reviewers noted the plastic feels a bit flimsy and can break
This spray has seriously become our go-to for dusty mirrors, foggy shower doors with hard water spots, and windows—essentially any hard surface we want to be squeaky clean in a single wipe. And it uses a powerful combination of plant-derived ingredients—most notably mineral salts, an antimicrobial alcohol that banishes gunk and grime, and coconut oil—to help keep static at bay.
Every surface we tested it on was left streak-free without fail, even instances where a microfiber cloth wasn’t handy. And you won’t find anything too harsh on the back label; the company claims there aren’t any artificial stabilizers or dyes, sulfates, parabens, or phthalates. All you need is a squirt for, say, a smaller 20-by-30-inch vanity mirror or two or three for a larger floor-length mirror.
Afterward, your just-cleaned areas will smell as if you lit a candle. While we’re partial to the scent Rise, a citrusy and floral combo with woodsy bois de gaiac base notes, you also have the choice of its most recent offering, Calm (lavender and coconut). Plus we’d be remiss not to mention the refillable aspect: You can tap the soft matte green bottle with its matching spray nozzle again and again. So if you hate having to buy a brand-new container of cleaner every time you run out or always forget to order a refill, Safely’s large, 28-ounce bottle has lasted us longer than most others of the same size or smaller that we tested. In addition, if you subscribe, you’ll save 10 percent and the product will ship to your home every two or three months in a one-, two-, or three-pack. P.S. Safely is also the maker behind some of the best shower cleaners and all-purpose cleaners.
We Also Like
- Blueland always blows us away with the effectiveness of its products. Simply fill your bottle with water, drop in the tablet, and wait for it to dissolve before you spray the hardworking, unscented formula. While the up-front cost for the kit may sound like a lot ($18), moving forward you’ll only be paying around $2 per refill. Did we mention we love the blue bottle design (and it may have one of our all-time favorite spray nozzles)?
- Branch Basics is a female-founded brand that relies on just one bottle of concentrate ($49) to mix up with different quantities of water to generate cleaner for surfaces of all sorts, including one specifically for windows, glass, and mirrors. Fill your own bottle, or splurge on the starter kit, which can be reused for years.
- Laundress’s glass cleaner is another plant-based, unscented formula that can leave your grimy mirrors and windows shiny and streak-free. [Editor’s note: As of November 2022, The Laundress was alerted that there is potential presence of elevated levels of bacteria in some of their products. Until the investigation has resolved, we do not recommend buying or using Laundress products. Visit this website to check if your product is impacted and to request a reimbursement.]
- Method is our favorite budget pick (does that surprise you?), as it’ll only cost about $4 for a full 28-ounce bottle. It’s free of ammonia, and you can spray it on everything from windows and mirrors to glass tiles and tables. Its minty fragrance is something we can definitely get behind, we just wish it was refillable.
How We Chose These Products
Every glass cleaner we tested had similar qualities, and while we aren’t chemists, we stuck to formulas that touted either natural, plant-, or mineral-based ingredients while steering clear of additives or chemicals (mainly ammonia) that can easily irritate your skin. We sprayed windows (inside and out), a medicine cabinet, glass mirrors, and shower doors. After narrowing down the best based on performance, bottle reusability, spalike scents, and overall design, as well as price and availability, only a few bottles came out on top. After a few months, we knew there was only one bottle we reached for more than most.
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Use and Application
The Safely spray nozzle has two settings—a larger misting and a streamlined jet—in addition to a handy “off” switch, so you don’t have to worry about spills or leakage in between cleans. We found ourselves relying on the lighter, wider spray, as it was able to cover more area and use less product. For particularly stubborn areas, “stream” will certainly come in handy. We sprayed directly onto the intended surface and only ever needed to wipe a few times to completely rub in the cleaner, though Safely does note that if you’re tackling a particularly grimy surface, wait roughly a minute to let it start breaking down the dirt for a more effective clean.
Think about how you want your room to smell after it’s been cleaned. The cleaners we tend to prefer are usually aromatic thanks to essential oils and plant extracts, offering citrusy, herbal, and clean scents. Though Safely does include an unknown “fragrance,” it never gave us a headache. If you’re sensitive, we listed a few unscented alternatives, above.
Safely’s label is on the small side (eight ingredients). You’ll notice water, denatured alcohol, and perhaps variations of glucoside, signifying some form of naturally derived coconut, which we’ve found is added to help trap and remove dirt. Sodium citrate (an organic acid that can be found in all sorts of fruits and veggies) is also present, which is often used as a pH adjuster and water softener.
Q: Can I make my own glass cleaner at home?
If you have vinegar at home, you can DIY your own glass cleaner (it’s honestly the ingredient that keeps on giving, as it’s also one of our favorite ways to clean shower tile). Combine it with hot water, then add a couple drops of dish soap if it’s been a while since you last wiped the surface down, dunk in a cloth, and go.
Q: Is it possible to spray other surfaces with a glass cleaner, like countertops, in a pinch?
While some companies like Branch Basics use the same main concentrate to create a number of cleaners—glass, laundry, bathroom, and even hand soap—through different levels of dilution, we’d recommend going with either the above DIY route or using one of the best all-purpose cleaners instead.
Q: What else can I use other than a paper towel to wipe down glass cleaner?
We’d actually suggest scooping up one of the best microfiber cleaning cloths, particularly a waffle-textured one, as they’re usually more absorbent (sometimes if you don’t fully remove all the liquid cleaner, you’re more likely to spot streaking) and the ruffled design helps eliminate leftover lines. When you’re done, all you have to do is toss them in the wash and they’re good to use again.
The Last Word
For us, the best glass cleaners should check every box: effective, good design, and ease of use. And while there are glass cleaners out there designed to spray specific surfaces, we found Safely to be the best for every single spot we wanted to be streak- and fingerprint-free.