Vinegar isn’t the only super performer in your kitchen.
Windex — that $3 glass cleaner spray you keep under your sink — can be used to detail the interior of your car, to put the shine back in your jewelry and even to unstick zippers.
Your store shelves probably carry several varieties of Windex, so if you’re cleaning fabric, stick with the clear version, and if you’re using it for a car, use the Windex Ammonia-free Glass Cleaner.
Aside from those suggestions, any of the Windex variations will do the job.
Here are 10 surprisingly effective uses for that familiar blue (or sometimes clear) bottle.
- 1 1. Moving Large Pieces of Furniture
- 2 2. Cleaning Carpets and Upholstered Furniture
- 3 3. Insect Repellant
- 4 4. Clean Your Car
- 5 5. Washing Makeup Brushes
- 6 6. De-greasing Your Kitchen
- 7 7. Cleaning Your TV Screen
- 8 8. Removing Stains From Clothing
- 9 9. Cleaning Patio Furniture and Outdoor Surfaces
- 10 10. Making Jewelry Sparkle
1. Moving Large Pieces of Furniture
Los Angeles-based interior designer John Linden uses Windex to slide large items that are stuck or too heavy to move.
“All we need to do is to spritz some in front of the objects we want to move before pushing the item,” Linden says. He’s then able to easily move that piece of furniture to its place.
As long as you use the ammonia-free version of Windex, you can use it on any type of flooring, including hardwood.
2. Cleaning Carpets and Upholstered Furniture
You thought Windex only worked on glass? Linden says he’ll often spray Windex onto small stains, leaving it for 20 minutes to soak. Then he wipes right off the furniture.
Make sure to use the clear formula for this, as the blue formula may leave its own stains.
3. Insect Repellant
The smell of ammonia is strongly disliked by many insects, says Andrew Barker, founder of Homeowner Costs. As a result, Barker suggests spraying Windex by opening windows and doors to keep bugs at bay.
4. Clean Your Car
Windex is also a great cleanser for cars, says Deidre Fisher, owner of Simply Bliss Cleaning in Salt Lake City, Utah. Use it on window and mirror smudges, on dashboards, the steering wheel and any plastic and leather surface.
It’s also great for cleaning the screens and dials. “I just recommend spraying the cloth first and not the electronics directly,” Fisher says.
5. Washing Makeup Brushes
Makeup artist and lifestyle blogger Kerrin Jackson has been using Windex to clean her brushes and airbrush parts for more than a decade.
“They make light work of breaking down the alcohol-based makeups and heavy-duty body makeup products that can sometimes be stubborn and difficult to clean from the inner workings of the airbrush parts,” Jackson says.
6. De-greasing Your Kitchen
Use Windex on your exhaust fans and range hoods in your kitchen, suggests Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, president of ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba, a cleaning company in Chicago.
Rodriguez-Zaba suggests spraying Windex on the surfaces and letting it stand for 5-10 minutes, then wiping it clean and rinsing with water to remove any remaining chemical residue.
7. Cleaning Your TV Screen
Got a dusty TV? Dust is usually very prevalent on televisions because everyone is scared to clean them. But spray some Windex on a soft cloth and you’re good to go, says Abe Navas, general manager of Emily’s Maids, a house cleaning service in Dallas.
8. Removing Stains From Clothing
It works well for red wine, tomato sauce, ketchup and more, says Jen Stark, founder of Happy DIY Home, a gardening and home improvement blog.
“You can lightly spray the stain with Windex and let it sit for 15 minutes, as long as the clothing item isn’t a delicate silk,” Stark said. “Get a clean cloth and blot at the stain before rinsing it in cold water.”
Follow this by washing the clothing as recommended. Make sure you use clear Windex for this task.
9. Cleaning Patio Furniture and Outdoor Surfaces
Benjamin Nguyen, owner of Full Color Cleaners, says he uses Windex to clean his patio furniture, making it look as good as new. It will clean everything from the furniture to outdoor surfaces, including brick.
For this task, go the extra mile and snag the Windex Outdoor Concentrated Cleaner, which is a 32-ounce spray bottle that attaches onto a hose ($27.66). Spray onto your aluminum siding, your brick, your windows — and with this tool, you won’t even need a ladder to do it.
10. Making Jewelry Sparkle
To get rid of everyday grime from a diamond ring, The Knot recommends soaking it for 10 to 15 minutes in a 50-50 solution of hydrogen peroxide and Windex. After it’s soaked, brush gently with a soft toothbrush and then rinse with water.
Windex is safe for gold and silver but could be harmful to soft gemstones because of its ammonia content. That means don’t use it on turquoise, emeralds, opals, coral, pearls or amber.
The Penny Hoarder contributor Danielle Braff is a Chicago writer who specializes in consumer goods and shopping on a budget. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Real Simple and more.