Cleaning auto glass isn’t like cleaning the glass in your home. It takes a different technique and different cleaning products. And unlike the windows in your home, the cleanliness of your auto glass has a lot to do with your safety.
Learning how to clean your auto glass windows isn’t just about cosmetic appeal. It’s about boosting your driving visibility and keeping you safe on the road.
Here are our best practices for cleaning auto glass like a pro:
Save the Windows for Last
If you’re cleaning auto glass along with the rest of your car, it’s a good idea to save the windows for last. Wash and detail all other surfaces of your car, inside and out. Give your car time to dry. Then, start washing the windows using the rest of these best practices.
If you’re spraying other cleaners in your car, the residue can land on your freshly cleaned glass. Saving the windows for last ensures you won’t ruin a job well done.
Don’t Use Window Glass Cleaner!
It sounds counterintuitive, but stay away from regular glass cleaners for your auto glass! This is because most window cleaners you’d use at home contain ammonia. This is an excellent ingredient for cutting grease, but it has no place in your car.
Ammonia is highly toxic. Its fumes can linger a long time, and it’s not something you want to inhale in an enclosed space like your car.
Also worth mentioning is that ammonia can dry out plastic, leather, and rubber. Spraying ammonia-based cleaners onto your windows is certain to settle on other surfaces. This might ruin your car’s interior or cause spots of noticeable damage.
Last but not least, ammonia isn’t safe to use on tinted windows. Make sure you read the ingredients in your glass cleaner to ensure it doesn’t contain ammonia. If it does, find another cleaner.
Make Your Own Ammonia-Free Auto Glass Cleaner
Instead of spending money on a separate cleaner, you may already have everything to need to make your own at home. Combining alcohol, white vinegar, and water makes for an effective cleaner. Alcohol is great for degreasing windows and removing tough grime. If you’ve traveled near the coast, vinegar is helpful in removing salt from glass.
Mix a solution of half water and half alcohol, then add a capful of vinegar. Shake well, then spray and clean.
Use a Lint-Free Cloth
For a clean, streak-free shine, it’s best to use a lint-free cloth. A waffle-weave fabric or microfiber are both effective options. If you don’t have this type of cloth, newspapers work well in a pinch.
Avoid using paper towels and regular wash cloths. These can leave lint or paper behind.
It’s also a good idea to have a designated cloth for cleaning auto glass. This means not to use a cloth that’s been used with other cleaners or dirty jobs. Keep this cloth with the rest of your car detailing supplies.
Spray the Cleaner on the Cloth, Not the Glass
When you’re ready to clean, it’s best to spray the cleaner on the cloth instead of directly onto the glass. This prevents droplets from getting onto other parts of your car you’ve already cleaned.
Roll Down Your Windows Halfway When Cleaning Auto Glass
The tops of the windows are impossible to get to unless the windows are partially rolled down. This is often the dirtiest and most neglected spot on the window. Dirt and grime tend to build up and create a noticeable line along the top where the window fits into the upper chamber of the door.
After you clean the top edges of the glass, roll the windows all the way up to clean the larger inner and outer surfaces.
Clean Your Windows in the Shade
If you’re cleaning auto glass on a warm day, it’s better to move your car to a shady spot first. Once you’ve applied the cleaner, the heat can dry the cleaner faster than you can wipe it off. This ends up leaving streaks and residue on your glass, forcing you to clean them more than once.
Use a Wiping Pattern to Better Detect Streaks
Speaking of streaks, there’s an easy trick you can do to tackle them. Try cleaning your outer windows in an up and down motion and clean the inner windows in a back and forth motion. If streaks are left behind, you won’t have to spend time guessing whether they’re on the inside or the outside.
It’s a simple trick, but it can be a major time saver if you have to go back and clean the windows again.
Inspect and Clean Your Windshield Wipers
One of the most overlooked parts of cleaning auto windows doesn’t have anything to do with the window itself. Take time to inspect and clean your windshield wipers. This serves two benefits:
First, dirty windshield wipers will leave dirty marks on your freshly cleaned windshield as soon as you use them. This means all of your hard work won’t last nearly as long.
Also, inspecting your windshield wipers allows you to determine if it’s time to replace them. It’s recommended that you replace your wiper blades every 6-12 months. This is because the constant swiping can wear down the rubber. Once the rubber has worn away, the plastic part of the wiper can cause scratches on your windshield.
These scratches can impact your visibility and make your car less safe to drive. And over time, these scratches may become worse if left unaddressed.
The best way to avoid windshield wiper marks and scratches is to replace them when it’s time. Make it a habit to check your windshield wipers’ condition each time you clean your windshield to stay on top of routine maintenance.
Bonus Tip: Look for Signs of Damage on Clean Glass
When cleaning auto glass, it’s also best practice to look for signs of damage. Chips, cracks, and scratches are better seen once the glass is sparkling clean. If you do find damage, don’t delay in having it inspected. In some cases, small damage may be able to be repaired before it turns into a larger and more costly problem.
At Bright Auto Glass, we’re committed to helping you drive safer. Contact us today for minor windshield repair and full auto glass replacements.