Clean car windows look better and improve visibility while driving. However, many car owners get frustrated by the ugly streaks which form after every cleaning session. Learn the best way to clean car windows.
Many people have tried all manner of cleaning solutions in a bid to find out the best way to clean car windows. In addition, recently tinted car windows can take anywhere from 3 to 5 days before they completely dry out in summer. During winter it can take a few weeks before the window film dries up. Any water moisture trapped in between the film and glass will create a blistery and hazy appearance. However, there are several car window cleaning techniques that you can use to achieve the perfect clean and gleaming look – tinted windows or not.
Cleaning windows is only a small part of a detailing project. We highly recommend you read our Complete Professional Car Detailing Step by Step Process.
The Truth about Ammonia
There are many glass cleaning products available in the market which contain ammonia. Vehicle owners should avoid such products since ammonia does not bode well with common car surfaces such as rubber, leather, and vinyl. Ammonia fumes are dangerous and should not be inhaled in a closed environment. In addition, glass cleaners with ammonia compounds cannot be used to clean tinted windows – they pose a damage risk to the film itself.
Microfiber towels can be used to clean even the most stubborn stains and produce great results. It is advisable to choose a microfiber towel with a tight weave as it would give you a better scrubbing capability. You should be wary of cheap microfiber products since most of them shed fibers easily. When cleaning car windows, dip one side of the towel in water and clean the glass. After you have finished cleaning, use the dry side and gently remove any signs of streaking. The majority of high-quality microfiber materials will eliminate any residual streaks. Again, this method is mainly for the outside of the glass. You must be much more gentle when cleaning the inside, especially if your car has tinted film.
Taking Care of Your Windshield Wipers
Your car windshield wipers should be maintained in good working order. It is impossible to drive in rain, dust, or snow without them being in good working condition. Optimum performance is achieved if the rubber and glass are well-maintained. This means that wiper blades should be cleaned whenever you are cleaning the window glass. Never use rubber dressing on the wiper blades as this will only result in streaking. Use a dampened cloth to wipe the blades clean and remove any dirt formation. The best product which can prolong the life of your wiper blades is the 303 wiper treatment. Treating your wipers will ensure that the blade rubber hugs the glass eliminating the noise caused by dry blades. In addition, the use of good additives will enhance the dirt removing properties of your washer fluid. If you are worried by winter weather conditions, choose an additive with antifreeze protection.
Cleaning Tinted Car Windows
As mentioned earlier, extreme care should be taken when cleaning tinted car windows since the film scratches easily. Learning how to clean car windows properly takes patience and practice. It is also not wise to use ammonia-based glass cleaning products on tinted windows. Use a soft damp cloth to clean tinted glass. In place of products which contain ammonia, soapy water will work fine. You can also purchase spray foam glass cleaners to clean the tint material without streaking. Otherwise, there are plenty of ammonia-free glass cleaners on the market.
Proper Wipe Down Tips
You can have quality products and still fail in washing windows without streaks forming. It is important for car owners to use the right technique when cleaning. If you are using a spray, do not spray directly on the glass as most of it will be will be lost to the surrounding air. Instead, you should spray the cleaner on a towel and then proceed to wipe the windows using the towel. This should be done in a rhythmic and spreading motion to ensure that the entire glass surface comes into contact with the cleaner. After clearing all the dirty grime, use a microfiber towel to wipe the glass surface and remove any remaining dirt residue and streaks. Remember that while the windshield receives added attention, all other windows should also be cleaned thoroughly. If you usually smoke inside your car, regular window cleaning will clear the resultant haze. It is recommended to use a good quality soft cloth material instead of used rags which might be carrying dirt particles capable of scratching glass. A soft cloth will not leave any scratch marks on tint film material. During waxing, try to steer clear of the windows since any marks will result in a grimy appearance. However, some waxes actually work on glass – read the label for the recommendations for the product you are using.
Cleaning Water Spots
After working tirelessly to clean your car, it is common for minor water spot contamination to occur during the week. These dirty water spots can ruin the shiny look that you toiled to perfect. Most of these contaminants which you pick while driving can be quite hard to remove with normal glass cleaners. The best way to clean glass with such spots is by using quality glass polish products. All you have to do is use a foam applicator and then finish off by buffing with a microfiber towel. Removing water spots every now and then will prevent noticeable etch marks from forming.
Make sure that you always carry out a close inspection of windows if your car is more than one year old. Dirt buildup normally occurs around the trim of your rear window and windshield. This dirt can be removed by scrubbing with an old toothbrush or using a detailing brush. Apply window cleaner to the brush and scrub gently along the trim edges to break off the caked-on grime. If you encounter stubborn gunk spots, use a sharp edged instrument such as a razor blade. However, care should be taken not to scratch the glass or break the rubber seals.
UPDATE: Lately what I’ve been using for perfectly clean car windows is Invisible Glass with two fine microfiber towels. One to apply and one to dry. Click on the link below to order Invisible Glass from Amazon. The stuff’s great!
Final Tip: Cleaning car windows in the shade to avoid the glass cleaner evaporating as this will create residual streaks.