Chemicals in Glass Cleaner

The various chemicals in glass cleaner

Average Read Time: 8 Minutes

Glass is a common material in all types of building and consumer products. Practically every part of your life has a glass influence, from the windows in your home to the screen you are reading this on. Like all products, you prefer to use glass materials when they are clean, and cleaning glass requires using some sort of chemicals.

When you hear the word “chemicals,” you may have a natural tendency to think about strong and caustic substances that might do more harm than good. However, that is far from the truth. Chemicals affect every part of your life, and that is because in pure essence, every material structure has a chemical base or signature. It is no different for glass cleaners than it is for glass surfaces themselves.

In this article you will learn:

Cropped shot of a young man cleaning windows in an office

Chemical formula for window cleaner

Chemicals in glass cleaners vary depending on the manufacturer. Windex®, by brand name, is America’s most recognized commercial glass cleaner. Windex is such a common name, it has become a verb — such as when someone says they are going to "Windex® the windows."

Windex® as a chemical window cleaner is tremendously popular as a consumer product. According to the website authority Statisa.com, the American cleaning compound industry generates more than $60 billion in annual sales. That includes soaps, detergents and general glass surface cleaners like Windex®. Even the site BusinessInsider.com recognizes Windex® Original Glass Cleaner for reigning supreme because it cuts through grime, doesn’t streak, and is cost-effective.

If you are wondering what Windex is made of, have a look at the SC Johnson website. It clearly lists the ingredients you will find in a Windex® bottle. The Windex® cleaner formula includes the prime ingredient as water. It provides the liquid base to add the remaining ingredients which make up a Windex® solution. These ingredients are:

2-Hexoxyethanol — a surfactant cleaning agentLauryl dimethyl amine oxide — a surfactant wetting agent
Ammonium hydroxide — better known as ammonia-DLiquitint® Sky Blue Dye — a coloring agent
Fragrances — odor-enhancing agents, primarily to mask ammonia gasSodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate — also a surfactant wetting agent
Isopropanolamine — a solvent cleaning agent

Different glass cleaning manufacturers use a variety of chemical compositions to compose window cleaners. It distinctly depends on the cleaning strength they are trying to achieve. Mild cleaners like Windex® Original Glass Cleaner keep caustic chemical content low for light-duty applications. Other Windex® cleaners and their competitors have stronger chemical actions designed to cut through tougher dirt, grease, and mineral buildup.

a female cleaning contractor is polishing the glass partition offices whilst In the background a male colleague steam cleans an office carpet in a empty office in between tenants.  .The female is smiling to camera.

Ingredients and raw materials in window cleaner

You will hear two main terms when talking window cleaner chemicals. One is “surfactant.” The other is “ solvent.” Both are chemical actions that lead to effective window cleaning. Here are definitions of the two cleaning chemical action terms.

  • Surfactants are chemicals that molecularly surround contaminants and break their hold or
    bond on glass surfaces. Surfactant action from chemicals like ammonia loosen
    contaminant grip, causing them to molecularly release or dislodge.
  • Solvents are chemicals that molecularly attack and destroy contaminants. Solvents create
    chemical reactions that dissolve dirt, fat, grease, or mineral compounds and make them
    disappear from dirty surfaces.

Next time you are purchasing window cleaning products, make sure to read the label and examine what ingredients they contain. Federal law mandates that all cleaning product manufacturers list their chemical contents on the label, except for fragrance ingredients, which are private proprietary information. Besides, most fragrance additives in window cleaners and similar products are plant-based materials and generally harmless. These are the most common raw materials and ingredients you’ll find in commercial glass cleaners.

Natural ingredients for glass cleaner

Not all window cleaning products need the power of isopropanol, chlorine, butoxyethanol, and ammonia to be effective, nor do they need chemical fragrances to hide strong smells. Some of the most efficient window cleaning ingredients are common substances found close to home.If you are concerned about toxic or caustic soda ingredients in commercial window cleaning products, you might want to try some home recipes. Although government regulators like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Consumer Protection Agency have approved every commercial window cleaner sold in America, some folks still prefer to go it alone and concoct their own cleaners, feeling more comfortable with the safety and availability of the included ingredients. Here are four window cleaning formulas made with simple products:

  • Two cups of water, one tablespoon of vinegar, and 10 drops of essential oil
  • One-half cup of water, one-half cup of ethanol, and one tablespoon of vinegar
  • Two cups of water, one-quarter cup of vinegar, and one tablespoon of cornstarch
  • Two cups of water, one-quarter cup of vinegar, one-quarter cup of ethanol, and one tablespoon of cornstarchAll these recipes call for white vinegar and warm water. Cold water does not have the same blending capability, and colored vinegar can stain your surfaces.

All the ingredients above are nontoxic. They are also nonflammable when mixed in the recommended ratios.You can also add your choice of fragrance to homemade window cleaners. Some people prefer the scents of essential oils like lavender. Others prefer the citrus scents of lemon, orange, and even grapefruit. There are many choices you can get crafty with in the combination of natural ingredients for glass cleaners.

Choose Brenntag as your cleaning ingredients distributor

Regardless of your homemade window cleaning contents, please realize that these natural blends will have limited cleaning power. It’s fine to use them on light-duty applications. But for serious situations, you’re going to need a window cleaner with one of the big boosting ingredients, which are still safe if used properly and by the right guidelines.

Brenntag North America is part of the worldwide Brenntag chemical supply group. We distribute more than 10,000 products to leading manufacturers like S.C. Johnson, the makers of Windex®. Globally, Brenntag employs 16,000 workers who connect ingredient manufacturers with ingredient users.

At Brenntag, we take pride in supporting our customers with custom distribution solutions for specialty industrial ingredients. We have longstanding experience in ingredient sales and supply through our networks of 5,000 experts. We offer specific application technology and give extensive technical support along with value-added services, and we always remain conscious of both safety and environmental standards with our products.

car wash

Connect with us for more information

Brenntag is also a top distributor of ingredients to the home and commercial cleaning industry. We have core standards for safety and sustainability to ensure Americans and their world neighbors have safe, efficient, and ethical cleaning standards based on proven chemical foundations. Brenntag also adheres to all laws and regulations governing the chemical industry.

For more information on Brenntag ingredients, answers to your questions, and a quote on product orders, call Brenntag today at (610) 926-6100. You can also reach us through our online contact form to the right.