My watch list  



Windex is a trademark for a glass and light-duty hard surface cleaner manufactured since 1933 (currently by S. C. Johnson & Son) and popular in the United States and Canada since the mid-20th century.

The popularity of Windex in the US has led to the generic use of the trademark for any similar product, including those marketed under different brands, or simply labelled, e.g., Window Cleaner.

Windex-like products typically contain detergents, ammonia, fragrance to moderate the odor of ammonia, and some form of dye. The original modern Windex was colored a light, transparent shade of blue, but varieties are marketed today in a variety of colors and fragrances, touting additives such as vinegar or lemon juice.

Product history

When Windex was invented in 1933 by Harry R. Drackett, it was essentially 100% solvent, and as a flammable product, it had to be sold in metal cans. When modern surfactants were introduced after World War II, the product was reformulated.

The Sam Wise patent #3,463,735 lists several example formulae, one of which is 4.0% isopropyl alcohol (a highly volatile solvent) 1% ethylene glycol monobutyl ether (a less volatile solvent), 0.1% sodium laurel sulfate (a surfactant), 0.01% tetrasodium pyrophosphate (a water softener), 0.05% of 28% ammonia (added more for smell than for cleaning ability), 1% of a dye solution, and 0.01% perfume. This formula was not only significantly less expensive to manufacture, but allowed the product to be packaged in glass bottles and dispensed with a plastic sprayer.

SC Johnson acquired Windex in 1993 and has been manufacturing it since that time.

The product was recently reformulated [1] to more environmentally-desirable solvents. Reducing solvent levels paradoxically results in cleaner glass because the glass cleaner does not evaporate as quickly, and the consumer must polish the glass longer.[citation needed]



Isopropanol - Used as a solvent and reagent. This type of alcohol is used commonly in household cleaning products.

2-Butoxyethanol - This is what gives Windex its odor. This stuff is used to wipe away finger prints, and other oils. Used as a solvent in paint, ink and other products

Ethylene glycol n-hexyl ether - Weak acid to help kill bacteria.

Water - Keeps ph levels stable, and to act as a solvent.


  • The blue color has inspired bartenders to name similarly tinted mixed drinks after it. Blue Curaçao is a common ingredient; for instance, a "Windex shot" typically contains vodka, triple sec, and blue Curaçao for color. When the soda Pepsi Blue debuted, it was also compared to Windex.
  • In the comedy film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Windex was presented as a placebo or folk remedy for external use against most non-disabling ailments. (This parallels an actual folk belief in similar use of the WD-40 brand of penetrating oil.) This may be based in Windex's remarkable capacity for removing tight rings off fingers where more traditional remedies such as butter or soap are less effective.
  • Research done by the Institute of Cancer Research in early-mid 2007 shows that the ingredient ethylene glycol n-hexyl ether, found in small amounts in Windex, shows a strong resemblance to the recently-discovered chemical tomudex, which research has shown to be able to cure some forms of cancer.[citation needed]

Sources: "Philip W. Drackett: Earned profits, plaudits" By Barry M. Horstman, Cincinnati Post, May 21, 1999.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Windex". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE