windex sitting on counter

17 Ways to Use Windex That Will Make You Happy

While digging out, cleaning up, and reorganizing our storage room I discovered a half-full jug of Windex. I have to admit that for a few moments, it was like Christmas and not because I was itching to clean windows. It’s because I know lots of situations where Windex comes to the rescue to make life easier!

Windex and paper towel

What’s in it?

Windex now comes in at least 14 varieties of cleaners including Windex with ammonia, with vinegar, a crystal clear option, and even Windex Electronics Screen Wipes. But the original version remains the most popular and readily available.

According to SC Johnson, the original formula Windex contains cleaning agents, wetting agents, fragrance, and color. This makes it ideal for more than just cleaning glass and mirrors:

Laundry stains

Windex makes for a super effective stain remover on non-silk washable fabrics—especially on difficult red stains like red wine and tomato sauce and ketchup. Spray the stain liberally with Windex, allow to soak in and work for 20 minutes or so, then rinse it out with cold water. Launder as usual. Caution: Stick with the clear colorless version of Windex when using it to remove stains from white or light items.

Bug spray

Hit those ants and other creepy crawlies with a mist of Windex and watch them curl up and die. Many readers have reported this works really well but once cleaned up, it will not prevent the bugs from coming back. To do that, spray the cleaned up area with a light mist of white vinegar to create a more lasting barrier.

A bowl of food on a table, with Cleaning and Bathroom

How to  Make Your Own Natural Cleaning Products

From time to time I hear from readers who have sensitivities or allergies to our beloved Blue Dawn. Is there something else we can use that will not trigger these reactions but still work well? There is and it is pure castile soap.

Kitchen degreaser

Windex works as a degreaser for cooktops, range hoods, fans, light fixtures, and other areas that attract grease and grime. Spray the area with Windex and allow it to sit on that greasy area for a few minutes, then wipe clean. Rinse well if using near food-preparation areas.

Windex is great on countertops, too—quartz, granite, marble, laminate, tile. Just make sure that if you’re cleaning natural stone counters that have a sealant, such as granite, marble, and quartzite, you’re using a Windex version that is free of ammonia and vinegar (there are multiple versions of Windex these days ) for natural stone counters that have a sealant.

Microfiber upholstery

Microfiber, a synthetic fabric, has become a popular textile for upholstered furniture because it is super durable and inexpensive. Microfiber is beautiful, too, but stains easily and can be super challenging to clean. Even water can leave an ugly spot on microfiber. Windex to the rescue!

Spritz the area with a light spray of Windex. Quickly, before it can soak it, using a soft bristle brush or clean white terrycloth, lightly scrub and whisk away the stain being careful to work in just one direction. A difficult stain might require a second treatment.

Caution: Test in an inconspicuous place first, please! And (I repeat), stick with the clear colorless version of Windex when using it to remove stains from white or light items.

Stainless steel

When cleaning a window with Windex, you want to be able to see your reflection looking back at you. Well, the same goes for stainless steel surfaces.

Clean the car

Windex is ideal to clean a car’s interior surfaces, including faux wood and upholstery. Readers have reported all kinds of remarkable results using Windex to clean coffee and food stains from upholstered seats and floor mats. Use Windex to get rid of all that gunk and grime on dashboards, steering wheel, console, and door handles. Works well on that fabric headliner (how do stains land up there?), and carpet, too.

Windex is non-greasy so surfaces won’t be left with a slippery residue. While you’re at it, you might as well clean all the windows—inside and out, too!

Bathroom cleaner

Windex will clean everything in the bathroom—porcelain, plastic, chrome, tile, and grout; toilet, tub, walls, and floors, too. And of course the glass and mirrors. Caution: Make sure you rinse the tub and shower floor very well when you’re done as it could make for a slip-and-fall situation.

Playsets and toys

Make quick work of cleaning and disinfecting all those messes brought on by teething and drooling; food, goo, grime, and an occasional spit up from toys and playsets. Spray all those surfaces with Windex and a microfiber cloth. Follow a good rinse and your kids’ toys and play areas will be sparkling clean and looking good in no time.

Stuck rings

Need help getting a ring off after it has been on your finger for a long time? Try a few drops and it will pop right off.

Jewelry cleaner

Soak gold, silver, diamonds, rubies and emeralds, and other pieces of fine jewelry for a few minutes in a small container filled with Windex. Brush with a soft, old toothbrush, then rinse well in clear water. Buff dry and look at that sparkle! Caution: Never use Windex on soft stones like opals or costume jewelry.


Knobs, pulls, and handles are surely the most overlooked area in any home when it comes to cleaning. Just imagine how many germs those suckers harbor. Here’s the solution: Once a week, grab the Windex in one hand and a microfiber cloth in the other and go through the house cleaning and sanitizing every doorknob, lever, and pull that gets touched by human hands. It’s easy and so well worth the effort.

Sink and faucets

Clean your stainless steel sink and faucet with soap and water then dry with a clean microfiber cloth. Next, spray the sink and faucet with Windex and wipe dry for super-shiny results.

Stubborn zippers

Now this hack will make everyone’s life a little better. Have you ever had to throw out that jacket or pair of pants because of a stuck zipper? Using Windex to free a stubborn zipper. What a slick idea.

Whiteboard eraser

Another way to use Windex is to clean your whiteboards. It will remove the stubborn dry erase marker stains and all those shadows, too. Go ahead, you can spray Windex directly on the whiteboard without doing any damage.

Patio furniture cleaner

Windex works amazing for a quick and effective wipe down of patio furniture. Use it when the furniture is first taken out for the season, then again and often as the furniture is used throughout the season. Just lightly mist the surface, let stand for a few minutes, and wipe clean.

Unclog a printhead

If there seems to be an issue with your printer’s printhead—like it refuses to print or does so poorly—try cleaning it. Turn off your printer spray a few spritzes of Windex onto a paper towel. Remove the ink cartridge and place the paper towel over the printhead. Allow to sit for 24 hours. Make sure the printhead is completely dry before you try to print again.

First published: 4-5-20; Revised & Updated 10-28-23



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  1. Marsha L Stanton says:

    Hi, Mary! I have osteoarthritis and had a ring stuck on my right hand ring finger for months. Had tried to remove it with everything that i had ever heard of for this particular dilemma. Had never thought of using Windex! Took more than a few drops, but it worked like a charm! Cleaned the ring, too, since it is sterling silver with genuine aquamarine and diamond stones! Ty so much for your column!! It has saved the day for me many times over. May God bless you and yours always.

  2. JudyinAZ says:

    Hi again! i just got my Windex bottle out to read it. It says right on the backside of the label “Works great on windows and mirrors!” I also will contact Windex and ask them about my issue of streaking. They offer a full refund on the label that is called the “Unbeatable Streak Free Shine-Guaranteed”! Then directs you to website. I have used paper towels, my favorite, and microfiber cloths. Both streak. Don’t have newspapers any more!

    • JudyinAZ says:

      Windex update!
      Called the 800# I found online for Windex which is part of the Johnson&Johnson family. Nice rep heard my story and said she would gladly send me a refund without a receipt(which I admitted I didn’t keep). I offered she could just send me a coupon to try another fresh bottle and that is what she will do. She did offer a possible reason for the streaking problem. Said that if you use generic paper towels you may have a better result. I do use Walmart’s version of Bounty but she told me the name brand towels can be treated with something that is causing the streaking. Yay! I will now try even cheaper generic paper towels and see if that could be the issue. Save even more money on window wipes. I’ll let you all know what happens when I make that switch with a fresh bottle of Windex.

  3. Teresa says:

    The issue with mirrors as I understand it, is with overspray. If the Windex gets behind the mirror, it will cause issues with the coating. The suggestion I have seen is to spray the cloth and not the mirror.

  4. Tom says:

    I’ve heard that Windex should never be used on mirrors. I’ve read that there’s a chemical in it that breaks down the reflective nature of mirrors (thus causing deterioration around the edges of mirrors). The label on Windex never says to use it on mirrors, just on glass. Any truth to that?

    • Mary Hunt says:

      I have never heard of that. The reflective coating is on the backside. I’ve never cleaned the back of a mirror … have you? Ill see what I can find, but honestly I am not at all worried about this!

  5. JudyinAZ says:

    Hey Mary! Here’s a dilemma and I’ll bet you have an answer or at least a stab at the answer! I have used Windex and do love it but lately I seem to find it leaves streaks on windows and especially bathroom mirrors. I have buffed and buffed and just cannot get streak-free results. Tried diluting my Windex once with water, once with vinegar. Did not help. Adding a second spray/wipe did not rid the streaks from my mirrors. I am starting to think they have added something to the Windex that causes this. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Mary you are my cleaning guru. Any idea what is going on?

    • Gayle Schafer says:

      I think they have added something because Windex does leave streaks now. I like to use Window cleaner from the auto detailing isle. No streaks and you might get it cheaper also.

      • Robin says:

        I’ll check the auto section. I have wondered about the “leftover fog” … and tried using “newspapers” and paper towels and old bleached cotton face cloths and microfiber cloths … a hazy film remains!!!

    • Mary Hunt says:

      I’d be suspicious of the cloth you’re using. If it’s microfiber and you hvae laundred it with soap or any other product other than hot water, it is likely harboring a lot of detergent or whatever you may have added to the laundry or the dryer.

    • Barbara says:

      I burst out laughing when I read your suggestion of watching “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. I had forgotten about the references to Windex so many times in that movie. I plan to watch that today now. Thanks ….that will be a fun and relaxing thing to do today.

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