Cross post: http://chemistry.stackexchange.com/q/4377/22
Last week I was discussing with a friend how we thought the stripeless cleaning of windows is achieved when using a cleaner like Windex Glass Cleaner as opposed to just using hot water, in which case you do get stripes left behind.
At first we thought that the stripeless nature was caused by surfactants in the cleaner that allow the (polar) dirt on the windows to be collected in the water through micellation. However, when we use normal cleaner not specifically designed to clean glass/windows, we also get the stripes even though we are sure that there are also surfactants in the normal cleaner.
The question is: what is the difference between the glass cleaner and the regular cleaner that makes sure that windows become stripeless clean?
One thought we considered but couldn't really work out was that the stripe formation would be something caused by a combination of the marangoni effect and evaporation, similar to the coffee-stain effect which can be overcome by specific tuning of the surfactants as shown here.
Could someone explain how the stripeless cleaning works? Can fluid dynamics explain what happens or is it really something chemical going on?
When searching I also ran into a solution that (at least the manufacturers claim) will also give stripeless clean windows. The interesting thing is that they use pure $H_2O$ so without any surfactants but also without any dissolved salts like regular tap water has.