How would any of us keep our homes looking amazing and be able to see out of our windows without some Windex? It’s one of America’s most popular and iconic cleaning products and nearly everyone has some Windex (or a clone) laying around at home. But is using Windex introducing a fire hazard into our lives?
Windex is not flammable. While some of the ingredients might be flammable, Windex is mainly made up of water and that means it won’t catch fire easily.
However, that doesn’t mean there are no safety concerns at all with Windex, read on to find out what you need to know.
Your # 1 priority is keeping your family safe. As a firefighter, I recommend everyone has updated smoke detectors that don’t require battery changes, like these ones from Kidde, a fire extinguisher, like this one from Amerex, and a fire escape ladder if you have bedrooms above the first floor, I recommend this one from Hausse.
Also read: What Makes Something Flammable?
What Is Windex?
Windex is a brand of glass and hand-surface cleaner that is operated in the United States and some other territories. It was originally invented by the Drackett Company back in 1933 but the business was acquired by SC Johnson in 1993 and has been with them ever since.
It was originally marketed and sold in a glass container, but the modern containers tend to be made out of plastic, which is, obviously, not ideal for the environment though they tend to be refillable now.
The exact makeup of Windex can vary slightly, however, the current official ingredients list includes:
Water, 2-hexoxyethanol, isopropanolamine, sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate, lauramine oxide, ammonium hydroxide, fragrance, and Liquitint sky blue dye.
Is Windex Flammable?
No. If you look carefully at our list of ingredients for Windex in the section above, you’ll see that the very first thing on the list is water.
Water is, in fact, the vast majority of what you find in a bottle of Windex, more than 90% of the volume. And that means as Windex is mainly water, it’s not flammable.
In theory, you could even use Windex to extinguish a fire, though we wouldn’t recommend it unless the fire was very small and wasn’t caused by an electrical fault. (Electricity and water don’t mix). Windex would be a very expensive way to put out fires.
Also read: Is Ammonia Flammable?
Why Is Windex Blue?
It isn’t. Well, sometimes it is.
In fact, as the Windex brand has been extended in recent years, so has the number of colors it’s offered in. Now, you can find blue, green, yellow, purple, and more if you look for them.
However, back in the 1960s, Windex’s original recipe used a blue dye to attract customers. There’s no particular reason for this choice except that it made the bottle stand out on the shelf when it was placed next to other glass cleaners.
It was pretty successful, though, and many modern glass cleaners still try to emulate the use of blue dye in their products as consumers often associate this color with glass cleaning products thanks to Windex’s efforts.
Is Windex Hazardous?
You might think that a cleaning product was bound to be some sort of hazard but according to the OSHA classification and its Canadian equivalent, Windex is not considered to be hazardous.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you can bathe in Windex and expect no ill effects. Windex can be mildly irritating to both your eyes and your skin. If you do spill it on yourself, the easiest thing to do is just flush with lots of cold water.
If you find that the irritation you get lasts or becomes more severe, seek medical attention, but most of the time, it won’t be a problem.
Is Windex Bad For Dogs?
While we wouldn’t recommend putting Windex in a dog bowl or spraying it directly onto your dog, because it could cause similar skin and eye irritations as it does in humans, it’s fairly harmless as things go.
We’ve received the list of the most frequent dog and cat toxins and Windex isn’t on the list, that’s pretty much what we’d expected given that Windex is mainly water with no real hazardous ingredients.
Can I Use Windex In My Oven?
Yes. We’ve already established that Windex isn’t flammable, so you don’t need to worry about switching your oven on after cleaning it with Windex and watching it burst into flames.
It’s also a pretty good oven cleaner if your oven is only mildly dirty, it won’t be able to tackle years of caked-on grime or tons of grease, but if you’ve just cooked Sunday dinner in a clean oven, you can certainly clean it with Windex.
Just spray the Windex on and wipe it off, in the same way as you would when you use Windex for any other purpose.
Also read: Will a Fire Extinguisher Ruin an Oven?
Where Should You Not Use Windex?
There are a bunch of things that you shouldn’t use Windex to clean though and this includes your laptop, which really won’t deal well with any water-based cleaner and might even catch on fire if you didn’t take the batteries out.
You definitely should not use it to clean skin, granite countertops, TVs, wood, or auto glass either.
For more details, watch this video:
Why Is Windex Bad For Car Windows?
Yes, we know it sounds ridiculous telling you not to use a window cleaning product on windows, but your car windows aren’t ordinary windows.
There are two main issues with using Windex on them:
- Windex will break down the tint on the window, over time this can cause it to peel off completely
- Windex may leave streaks and smears, this is no biggie on your living room window, you can always fix it, but if the sun starts shining in your eyes and you can’t see the road properly? That can be a huge problem.
Is Ammonia Glass Cleaner Flammable?
Ammonia glass cleaner, which is a similar product to Windex though it doesn’t share the same formulation is also not flammable.
Again, this is because the majority of the product is made of water and thus it’s more likely to put a fire out than it is to catch fire.
Is Windex Abrasive?
Windex is not an abrasive product when it is used correctly, however, it is mildly abrasive as this helps it to remove the stains and accumulated filth that is on the windows you are cleaning if it wasn’t?
You’d find cleaning windows with Windex was a much harder job.
And that’s fine. Except when you use the product with something that doesn’t handle even a mild abrasive very well and that’s usually wood or any varnished surface. The ammonia compounds in Windex will, quite literally, dissolve their way through the surface of these products.
That will leave pitting and scarring on the surface and you’ll be very unhappy with the look of the wood afterward.
Is Ammonia In Windex Bad For You?
Not really. While Ammonia in very high concentrations is highly toxic and capable of causing severe burns and respiratory damage, that’s not what you have in Windex.
In Windex, there’s a very small amount of ammonia (this is true of most glass cleaners) but it’s not enough to do extreme harm to you (though we’ve found a couple of “clean living” sites that claim it can).
You can get skin and eye irritation from it, we really wouldn’t recommend drinking it (expect a very upset stomach) and if you decided to aerosolize and snort Windex it would probably make your nose and mouth (and possibly lungs) sore but the only way it could do severe harm is if you filled a swimming pool with it and then drowned there.
Do You Need An SDS For Windex?
If you work in an industrial location, you may be surprised to learn that an SDS (Safety Data Sheet) might be required for Windex.
While you don’t need one if you use them in the same way and frequency as a homeowner would (say infrequent cleaning of windows) if your people are exposed to higher levels of Windex than they would be at home – you need an SDS.
How Do You Dispose Of Windex?
Windex is relatively harmless. If you need to dispose of it, you can pour it down the drain and throw the plastic bottle in the recycling trash. There’s no need for special precautions.