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14 Things You Should Never Clean with Windex

These cleaning experts gave clear instructions on when the magic blue solution should stay in the cleaning bucket and what they prefer to use instead.

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Close up of tan leather sofa with two linen cushionsJodie Johnson/Shutterstock

Leather

“Do not use Windex on leather furniture; its alcohol content can cause permanent discoloration,” advises Bailey Wesley, crew leader at the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Housekeeping Associates. Instead, Wesley recommends using Weiman Leather Cleaner & Conditioner or a damp microfiber cloth for cleaning without any accidental staining.  Plus, check out this leather repair guide for simple, DIY fix for tears and holes.

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Plexiglass

“I often see homeowners make this big mistake: they clean their art pieces framed in plexiglass with original Windex,” says Maria Brophy, owner of Brophy Art Gallery in San Clemente, California. “Windex with ammonia will ruin the plexiglass.” Instead, she recommends cleaning the way it’s done in her gallery: apply a little soap and water on to Quickie General Purpose Microfiber Cleansing Cloths to gently wipe down (and then dry) the plexiglass frame. Or you could try Windex Ammonia-free Glass Cleaner.

Here are our best tips for using microfiber clothes.

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Master bathroom in new luxury home: Bathtub and shower with tile and glass shower doorsBreadmaker/Shutterstock

Shower Doors

“In my experience, Windex does not work well on soap scum buildup on a glass shower door,” says Maria Mendoza, branch manager, Housekeeping Associates. “Instead, use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser with Dow Scrubbing Bubbles and/or vinegar to remove buildup.” While Magic Erasers are amazing, you’ll want to avoid cleaning these 10 things with one.

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Modern luxury kitchen interior with stone countertop and stainless steel appliancesElena Elisseeva/Shutterstock

Stainless Steel

“I don’t recommend using Windex on stainless steel appliances,” says Carol Smith, owner of Toronto-based Hireamaid. “Their finishes and how they interact with Windex can vary, and it’s not something to take a chance on.” On stainless steel, try Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner & Polish, she says. “It’s excellent and my staff loves it.” See why you should head to the garage to clean your stainless steel appliances.

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Workplace without people, close-up of laptop with graphs, charts, diagrams on screen on white table, desk.Nearby is closed paper notebook, pen, newspaper, cup of coffee. Online marketing, e-commerce.Foxy burrow/Shutterstock

TV or Computer Screens

“Monitors can be damaged by the chemicals in original Windex because they can warp plastics, including the tint on your flat panel screen,” says Greg Shepard, founder of Emily’s Maids in Dallas. Instead, use a damp cloth or Windex Electronic Wipes to wipe down the screen. If a more thorough cleaning is in order, isopropyl alcohol (commonly called isopropanol) works wonders, adds Candace Kantzler of Michigan’s Housekeeping Associates. But however you clean your screens, do so lightly. “Use a gentle touch so as not to cause damage to the screen by pushing too hard.,” Kantzler says.

Here are some clever computer cleaning tips you should follow.

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Copper pot on the dark stone table top viewKarpenkov Denis/Shutterstock

Copper

“The alcohol contained in Windex will affect the patina of the copper and could cause permanent discoloration,” shares Sarah Steeb, a home cleaning expert with Housekeeping Associates. Instead, use water on those copper pots, pans, trays, etc. and buff it out with a microfiber cloth, she says. Or you can try something that sounds crazy but works by grabbing this from the fridge.

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view of the car windshield wipers in the rainSergiy Nigeruk/Shutterstock

Car Windshields

The same soapy water you use when hand washing your car is fine to use on your automobile’s windshield—no need to carry the Windex out to your car. “The trick for a streak-free finish is how you dry it,” Shepard says. “Emily’s Maids uses blue medical rags, which we buy in bulk. Also, newspapers are a ‘trade secret’ to dry windshields without streaking.” Find out the 15 car cleaning secrets only car detailers know.

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Window and shuttersMircea Maties/Shutterstock

Home Windows

“There is nothing better than a squeegee and Dawn dish soap to clean windows,” says Shepard. He recommends adding a small squirt of Dawn into a water-filled bucket and a Scrubby Pad to remove dirt without residue. Use the squeegee for a squeaky clean finish by starting at the top and work your way down, using vertical or horizontal swoops. “For extra shine, make sure to clean the blade with a cloth after each swoop,” he says. These tips will clean your windows the quickest.

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Monochrome kitchen detail of black gooseneck tap Jodie Johnson/Shutterstock

Granite or marble

This is a big NO. “Windex shouldn’t be used on granite or marble kitchen tops. Cleaners like Windex can etch or dull the surfaces of natural stone,” says Rick Glickman, president of Dream Kitchens, a design studio in Highland Park, Illinois. “Instead, use a neutral cleaner such as Trinova Daily Granite Cleaner, which is made specifically for stone, so it safely cleans, and has a sealer in the formula to help prevent staining.” We asked the pros for their best cleaning tips and you’ll be surprised at what they suggest.

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Charming newly renovated home exterior, natural wood and grey siding create a beautiful curb appeal. Detail view of a nice walk out deck with wooden handrails.alabn/Shutterstock

Wood

The ammonia in original Windex can damage wood, so if there’s a mess on your backyard deck, keep the Windex inside. “Wood is a natural surface that can dry out and crack, like your skin,” says Glickman. “John Boos Block Board Cream is an excellent conditioner that has food-grade mineral oil and natural waxes to keep wood moist and protected.” Try these tips for to restore a deck, too!

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High gloss cabinets, countertop and black composite kitchen sink Dariusz Jarzabek/Shutterstock

Laminate Countertop or Glass Top Stove

It’s important to note that original Windex offers no disinfecting or cleaning properties, notes Jennifer Gregory of Molly Maid. However, Windex Disinfectant Cleaner Multi-Surface does and is a good choice for laminate countertops and glass stoves—areas you want to be disinfected since they’re where you cook. Try out best tips on how to remove stains from laminate countertops.

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Build-in dishwasher with opened door in a white kitchen Raisa Suprun/Shutterstock

Dishwasher

Avoid spraying or pouring Windex into your dishwasher, even to clean it out, as the chemicals in Windex should be kept away from your plates, cups, and silverware. “Instead, use a cup of vinegar and ½ cup baking soda and run it empty to remove soap residue and build up that has accumulated over time,” Gregory says. Here are 17 of the most brilliant ways you can use baking soda around the home.

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White subway tile wall and dark grout for a kitchen or bathroom backsplashDuntrune Studios/Shutterstock

Grout

Want the grout in your kitchen or bathroom to be white and bright? Don’t reach for Windex—it won’t lighten up the lining between your tiles. For an effective cleaning treatment, mix one part bleach to 10 parts water and let the solution sit for five minutes before scrubbing, rinsing, and wiping clean, Gregory suggests. Tackle this deep cleaning task at least twice a year. Don’t miss our definitive guide on how often you should be cleaning everything in your house.

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Bathtub decoration in bathroom interiorFood Travel Stockforlife/Shutterstock

Bathtubs

Bathtubs, showers, and toilets are other areas you’ll want to scrub down and disinfect, so hands off the original Windex. “The best cleaning product for the bathroom are any products that are bleach or peroxide based, like Lysol with Bleach or Comet” says Monica Bowman of Two Maids & A Mop. “These products effectively remove all bacteria, mold/mildew, and soap scum without damaging the surface.” Find out the 10 times you should never use antibacterial wipes.

Originally Published on Reader's Digest