Learning how to clean car windows without having to deal with frustrating streaks and blotches isn’t just part of keeping your car looking as good as possible. Clean windows are also an important safety consideration, as dirty glass makes it that much harder to see at night, in the rain or during temperature swings that result in condensation on your windshield.
Check out these three easy cleaning tips for streak-free windows.
A big part of learning how to clean car windows is understanding what types of cleaners you can and can’t use on glass. In theory, car wash soap will remove dirt from the inside of your windshield just as easily as it does on the outside, but, since you can’t properly rinse the interior of your car with a hose, there’s no way to remove enough of the soap to avoid leaving a bubbly, glittery film behind. The same is true of most other interior car cleaning products — they’re great for vinyl, leather and plastic, but leave streaks when used on glass. A dedicated glass cleaner — whether it be a foam or a spray — is key to finding a streak-free solution to your cleaning needs that will be as easy to remove as it is to apply. If you have tinted windows, then you’ll also want to seek out an ammonia-free glass cleaner to avoid damaging the tint materials.
2. Don’t Use Paper Towels
Paper towels are very absorbent, and they’ll certainly help remove dirt and grime from glass. If you want to learn how to clean car windows in the most effective manner, however, leave the paper towels on the shelf. Their absorbent design means that they’ll shred when wiped back and forth, leaving behind small particles of paper and streaks that you won’t be able to remove effectively. There are two old standbys when it comes to proper glass cleaning: newspapers, which are messy on your hands but strong enough to wipe down your windshield, and microfiber towels, which are the best overall solution due to their grime-grabbing properties.
3. Don’t Wipe in Circles
Cleaning glass isn’t like polishing your paint. If you wipe your window cleaner in a circular fashion, you’ll end up leaving the very streaks you are trying to avoid. Instead, it’s a better idea to wipe up and down and side to side in order to effectively remove all of the dirt and residual glass cleaner that might be left behind. Avoid the circles, and you won’t have to go back and spray more cleaner a second time.
With these tips, ensuring that the glass in your car is spick and span doesn’t have to be a time-consuming or frustrating experience.
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Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.