Keeping your car’s windshield clean is extremely important your safety on the road. When a windshield is covered in dust, smears, or other residue, it impacts your ability to see clearly. This can lead to dangerous mistakes during driving, putting you and other motorists at risk.
Windshields can become covered in a film of dirt very gradually, so that you may be driving around with a very dirty windshield without even knowing it. In order to prevent dangerous obstructions to your vision, clean your windshield regularly whether you think it needs it or not.
Should I wash my car when it’s hot?
Washing your car when it’s very hot is not a good idea. If you’ve been driving the vehicle and it has yet to cool down, or if it has been parked in a sunny spot, allow it to cool before cleaning it. Washing a hot car can actually cause soapy deposits to form on the exterior, and you won’t get the crystal clear result you want for your windshield.
What should I use to clean my windshield?
To clean your windshield, mix ¼ cup of ammonia with one quart of water. Using a sponge, thoroughly wash the glass with this solution and then dry it completely with a soft cloth. It’s also a good idea to keep a bottle of this solution in the car, just in case you end up on the road one day and realize your windshield has become dirty. If the windshield seems oily, perhaps from driving on roads that are coated in oil to control blowing sand, sprinkle cream of tartar on the windshield and then wash with soapy water.
What about wipes?
Taking care of your windshield wipers is another important component of car maintenance. If they begin to squeak or rub the windshield, they can scratch the glass. They are also not effectively cleaning the windshield when this happens, so be sure to replace them regularly. Ideally, you will replace your wipers before they get to this point. Also, cleaning them regularly will keep them in good working condition, and prevent them from simply smearing around dirt on the glass. The ammonia solution can be used to clean the wiper blades as well. Just soak a soft cloth with the solution and gently wipe the blades, and be sure to dry them afterward.
Sometimes you may find yourself driving down a dusty road, and suddenly you can’t see very well through your cloudy, grimy windshield. There are a few common household items you can keep in your car for quick fixes. A box of baby wipes or sanitary napkins stashed in your glove compartment can save the day. These can be used to quickly wipe down the windshield in a pinch.
Finally, be sure to maintain your vehicle by regularly checking all fluid levels, and this includes the windshield washer fluid. This fluid is very important in the event you need to quickly wash away dirt when driving, so be sure to check the reservoir regularly and refill it as needed.
Get Rid of Streaks
When washing your car, the windows should not be overlooked. It is important to clean them inside and outside. Your windshield wipers can only do so much, if the windows are dirty, then the wipers will just push the dirt around and may cause it to become worse.
Sometimes, after washing car windows, you notice the annoying streaks that have been left behind. There are several ways these streaks can be avoided. Cleaning products that contain ammonia do not play well with rubber, leather, and vinyl and the fumes should never be inhaled. It is best to avoid ammonia when cleaning your car windows especially if you have clear, tinted windows. The ammonia can damage the film.
1. Microfiber Towels
Choose a microfiber towel that has a tight weave that can provide you with better scrubbing capability. Microfiber towels can also help eliminate any streaks. Choose a higher-quality material; the cheaper ones may leave fibers behind. These towels can be used on the outside of the windows. If you have tint, then you need to be more careful about scrubbing the inside of your windows because the cloth may end up damaging the film.
Advantages of Using Microfiber Cloths:
- Relatively inexpensive and affordable
- Can be washed and reused several times
- Provides a streak-free shine
- Lint free
- Removes 99% of dust, grime, and dirt
- Dampen the cloth with water. Be careful not to use too much water, or it may cause streaks
- Fold the cloth to make it easier to handle
- Wipe down the windows in a single motion
- Go from top to bottom or left to right to cover the entire surface
- If you ended up using too much water, go back and dry with a new cloth
- You do not have to use any cleaners. Water in combination with the towel will remove the dirt and give you the shine you desperately want
2. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers
This little-known method can be used on the inside of windows and helps to remove any heavy build up and haze. Just be sure not to scrub with a lot of pressure. It should be used lightly, especially on tinted windows, because the eraser can abrade the windows tint.
Advantages of Using Mr. Clean Erasers:
- They are not abrasive as long as you control the pressure you use
- Will remove stuck on residue and heavily built up grime
- Will not scratch the windows
- Can help reduce fogging
- Lightly mist the eraser with water or the cleaning solution of your choice
- Lightly wipe the inside of the car windows to remove any built-up dirt and grime
- When finished, wipe down the windows with a damp cloth to remove any residue that may have been left behind from the eraser
- Not recommended for use on the outside of windows that are tinted because it may damage them
- Do not apply a lot of pressure
3. Newspaper and Cleaning Solution
Using newspaper to clean windows has always been a go to and was even instilled in me as I was growing up. I was always told that if I used newspaper, then I wouldn’t have any ugly streaks left behind. It is a tried and true method that can still work today if you are looking for an inexpensive way to clean your windows. Try to use only the black and white sections, the newspaper with colored ink could stain your hands and leave spots on your windows.
Advantages of Using Newspaper:
- The paper and ink act as a light abrasive to remove dirt and grime
- Newspaper is inexpensive
- Gives you a streak-free shine
- Get your cleaning solution and newspaper materials together. You can use the cleaning solution of your choice, or if you want to avoid using chemicals, you can mix two cups of water with one-quarter cup of vinegar and half a teaspoon of liquid soap.
- Use a squirt bottle to apply the cleaner to the inside and outside of the windows
- Use a circular pattern to clean the windows with the newspaper. Go to vertical and horizontal strokes to cover entire area completely.
- Wipe until you no longer see any residual liquid on windows
4. Detailing Clay/Mitt
Detailing clay is a great way to remove any stuck-on grime or other tough to clean spots on the windshield. Detailing clay, also known as glass cleaning clay, is made of an elastic compound that can get into even small and invisible crevices and indentations that could be present on your windshield. Detailing clay always differs, so it is always a good idea to read the instructions on the package before using. You should even consider testing a small area of your windshield to be sure that it will not damage your glass. A detailing clay bar should never be used on tinted windows. Also available are Clay Mitts. The mitts cut down on the likelihood of any clay getting trapped into crevices or indentations, and they are easier to use than the actual clay bars. The application, overall, is the same with both.
Advantages of Using Detailing Clay/Clay Mitts:
- Removes any bonded crud and grime that is on the windshield
- Removes dirt from crevices and spots you may not even see
- Straightforward and easy to use
- Great for quick touch-ups and maintenance between washes
- Will not damage automotive paint and works well on plastic, trim, and glass
- Picks up embedded particles
- Start in one corner of the windshield and work in smaller sections
- Spray a small amount of clay lubricant so that the clay/mitt slides over the glass. Do not use the detailing clay/mitt while it is dry
- Clean in a back and forth motion without extending too much unnecessary pressure
- When finished, wipe down the glass with a polishing towel
- Inspect the windshield for any areas you may have missed and then finish with a glass cleaner for an extra level of cleanliness. The clay/mitt has already done the hard job of removing all the stuck-on substances
No matter what way you choose to clean your windshield just remember that it is important to keep it clean. The windshield is one of the biggest safety components of your vehicle and the most overlooked aspect when cleaning and detailing.