In this article you will learn:
You're probably here because your car windows are starting to look dirtier than usual. And, like most windowpanes, cleaning your car windows, windscreen and rear windscreen can be a real... pain.
If you’re a DIYer, or simply someone who enjoys saving time, you may already have a fantastic glass cleaner that works wonders on your windows at home, and you think it would work just as well on your car windows. After all, glass is glass, right?
The glass in your car windows isn’t the same as the glass in your house, not by a long shot. Auto glass is manufactured differently; it’s treated with different tints and shatterproof capabilities, and it’s often exposed to different environmental conditions than your glass at home.
Your windscreen, for instance, takes a beating from all sorts of dirt and debris that flies into the surface at speeds of up to 70 mph. And, from the inside, the plastics of your car emit gas when they’re exposed to the heat, leaving a hazy residue behind on all your windows.
The cleaning agents found in typical household cleaners are not only ineffective when it comes to removing these soils and residues, they also create unsightly streaks and smudges. That’s why car glass needs different care than your glass at home, and why professional detailers use a much different method to get car windows and auto glass sparkling clean.
So let’s talk about the method. Cleaning your car windows at home is easy, and, with these simple tricks, you’ll have a beautiful, streak-free finish in no time!
With all the unique conditions your automotive glass goes through, the most important thing to get right is the products you use to clean it. We recommend a purpose-built car glass cleaner, like our Clear Vue Glass Cleaner or our Hybrid Solutions Streak Free Glass Mist. Both are quick, easy and highly effective cleaners for the inside and outside of your glass. They’re also safe to use on any kind of window tint!
Along with the right cleaning spray, we recommend swapping your paper towels or cotton cloth for a soft, low-pile microfiber glass towel. The millions of tiny fibres in these specially made cloths pick up more dirt and absorb more cleaning spray than any brand of paper towels, and without the pesky lint left behind by most cotton cloths. Microfiber glass towels are also built to scour away tough, heavy-duty soils, like bug stains and bird droppings, leaving the smoothest, spot-free finish.
Professional detailers typically start by cleaning the inside surface of the glass; this way, they don’t contaminate their car interior with heavier soils from the outside. After all, the last thing you want to do is smear bird droppings or bug remnants on the interior surface of your windscreen.
Start by folding a microfiber cloth into fourths and spray one side of the cloth with glass cleaner. Wipe your cleaning cloth along the edges of the window, creating a neat, rectangular outline. Then, work your way toward the centre. We call this the “box method.”
Finish each window by using a fresh, dry side of your cloth to wipe away any excess product and soils. This will ensure that you get a smooth, even finish, free of streaks or water spots. Repeat this process until you’ve cleaned all the inner surfaces of your auto glass.
If your car windows are particularly dirty, you may need to switch to a clean side of your cloth during your cleaning session. You may even need several microfiber towels to tackle the job.
Most of the toughest soils on the outside of the glass will come clean in your regular car wash. If you haven’t washed your car yet, we highly recommend doing so before you continue with your window cleaning. A good car wash shampoo, like Hybrid Solutions PRO Pure Wash, will do most of the work for you, breaking down the stickiest and most stubborn stains in seconds. Plus, if you’re going to have clean windows, you might as well have a clean car; that's just a no-brainer.
However, there's a chance that not all the soils on your exterior glass will come clean in the wash. There may be contaminants embedded further into the surface of your windscreen from traveling at high speeds. A good glass cleaner and microfiber towel may be enough to remove these soils; but, if you find that you need some extra cleaning power, here’s a few pro tricks to get those car windows sparkling:
Use a clay mitt (we recommend our MaxShine Clay Mitt!) with a lubricating car wash soap like Hybrid Solutions PRO Pure Wash to lift embedded contaminants from the surface of the glass. This method works perfectly as the final step in your regular car wash routine—you could even go the extra mile and decontaminate your clear coat with the clay mitt as well for an even shinier, showroom look.
Alternatively, you can use a polishing compound, such as Hybrid Solutions PRO 1 & Done, with a dual action polisher or a hand applicator to give your external glass a deep clean. Don’t worry about scratching your auto glass; it’s a lot stronger and more durable than your vehicle’s clear coat, so it can easily withstand this heavy-duty treatment.
After you’ve gotten rid of any embedded soils, finish the outside of your windows just like you did on the inside. Spray your cleaner directly onto the microfiber towel, using the box method to wipe them down. Switch to a fresh, dry side of the towel and wipe away any excess product for a spotless finish.
Pro Tip: To make those flawless results last, use a little bit of spray wax to seal in your streak-free windows. This will prevent dirt from sticking to the exterior as easily and repel rainwater so you can see more clearly on the road. Just be sure to only do this to the outside of the windows; never use spray wax on the inside of the glass!
Once you’ve followed these simple steps, your auto glass will be as squeaky clean as the day your car first rolled out of the factory, and you’ll be amazed at what a difference clean car windows can make. A spotless windscreen not only makes driving safer, but it can literally change your driving experience.
Take your vehicle for a spin and see for yourself!
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