The Wonder of Window Cleaner

Treat a bee sting, clean your jewelry, and more — using window cleaner.

Reduce swelling from bee stings
Spritzing some window cleaner on a bee sting is a quick way to reduce the swelling and pain. But first be sure to remove any stinger. Flick it sideways to get it out — don’t tweeze it — then spray. Use only spray-on window cleaner that contains ammonia and never use a concentrated product. It is the small amount of ammonia that does the work, and beekeepers have known for years that a very dilute solution of ammonia helps relieve stings.

Clean your jewelry
Use window cleaner to spruce up jewelry that is all metal or has crystalline gemstones, such as diamonds or rubies. Spray on the cleaner, then use an old toothbrush for cleaning. But don’t do this if the piece has opaque stones such as opal or turquoise or organic gems such as coral or pearl. The ammonia and detergents in the cleaner can discolor these porous lovelies.

Remove stubborn laundry stains
If laundering with detergent isn’t enough to get tough stains such as blood, grass, or tomato sauce out of a fabric, try a clear ammonia-based spray-on window cleaner instead. (It’s the ammonia in the window cleaner that does the trick, and you want uncolored cleaner to avoid staining the fabric.) Spray the stain with the window cleaner and let it sit for up to 15 minutes. Blot with a clean rag, rinse with cool water, and launder again. A few tips:

  • Do a test on a seam or other inconspicuous part of the garment to see if the color runs.
  • Use cool water and don’t put the garment in the dryer until the stain is completely gone.
  • Don’t use this on silk, wool, or their blends.
  • If the fabric color seems changed after using window cleaner on it, moisten the fabric with white vinegar and rinse it with water. Acidic vinegar will neutralize alkaline ammonia.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest