12 Surprising Uses for Windex

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12 Surprising Uses for Windex

Known for its bright blue hue and streak-free results, Windex has been the glass cleaner of choice for generations. Not only does it leave windows, mirrors, and shower doors sparkling, Windex is just as effective at cleaning nonporous surface materials like marble and granite countertops, chrome fixtures, tile walls and floors, and stainless steel appliances. But that's not all — Windex shines in many other surprising ways. Here are a few of our favorite, unexpected uses ...

1. Make jewelry gleam. Restore shine to gemstones and precious metals by soaking jewelry in a little Windex for a few minutes, and then use an old toothbrush to scrub away debris. Rinse with water and then air or towel dry.

2. Fix a clogged printer. If your ink jet printer is spitting out streaky, inconsistent, stripe-y copies, the printer head nozzles — which spray the ink onto the paper — are probably clogged. Here's a neat trick: After unplugging and removing the ink cartridge, dampen a paper towel with some Windex and leave it on top of the printer head for about 24 hours. Replace the ink cartridge and give printing another whirl. If a clog was causing the problem, it should be solved!

3. Degrease kitchen surfaces. Windex contains ammonia and rubbing alcohol, which are great at breaking down layers of stuck on grease. Spray it on stove burners, the range hood, inside the oven and microwave, and everywhere else grease tends to build — then let it sit for 10 minutes before scrubbing clean. You can also use Windex to clean pots and pans — just make sure to rinse thoroughly with warm water!

4. Remove fabric stains. Use clear/uncolored Windex to treat stains on clothing before washing (the blue stuff can leave a stain of its own behind). Soak the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes before laundering as usual. Just avoid delicate fabrics like silk!

5. Clear up crystal. Most of us only break out the fancy crystal on special occasions, like holidays and televised royal weddings; the rest of the time, those crystal goblets and serving bowls make a lovely decorative dust magnet. Use a little Windex and a soft cloth to restore their sparkling display!

6. Clean microfiber upholstery. While soft, durable, and affordable, microfiber furniture is difficult to clean — even water can leave a stain of its own behind. So it may come as a surprise to learn that Windex actually works! The trick is to spray the offending spot with a very small amount of Windex — don't soak the fabric! — and then let it sit for 10 minutes before gently scrubbing in one direction with a soft-bristled brush.

7. Shine patent leather. Use a soft cloth and some Windex to revive its trademark glossy sheen.

8. Clean your screens. Windex is safe to use on most touchscreen devices — spritz a soft cloth or paper towel (so it's moist but not soaked) and wipe away greasy fingerprints and other grime.

9. Fix a zipper that won't budge. Spray a little Windex on a stuck zipper to lubricate the teeth and pull it free.

10. Move heavy appliances. The next time you need to move a large, weighty piece of furniture or appliance across an uncarpeted room, don't lift it — slide it! Liberally spray a path across the floor with Windex and it'll be slick enough to drag it.

11. Remove rings from swollen fingers. A spritz of Windex will lubricate your finger and cause the capillaries to tighten, reducing swelling just enough to slide that ring right off.

12. Restore a dingy whiteboard. With regular use, even erasable whiteboards become dull. A spritz of Windex will make it look almost-new.

I'm a freelance writer and reporter for outlets like Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, BUST, Nylon, Woolly, and the Appeal, a podcast host for Undisclosed, and once upon a time, I was the founding editor of The Frisky.

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