To view this article on our website, click here. Glass Cleaning
Cleaning automotive glass is tricky, but well worth doing. Clean, clear glass looks beautiful next to clean, waxed paint. Plus, clear glass will give you optimum visibility when driving. That’s a safety feature you can’t afford to overlook. Just a few extra minutes will add the finishing touch to your vehicle and give you a clear view of the road ahead. Glass Cleaners
Most glass cleaners contain ammonia, which is a good cleaner but it has some disadvantages. It releases fumes that should not be inhaled in enclosed areas, like the inside of your vehicle. Also, it can dry out plastic, rubber, vinyl, and leather. Overspray is not an option with an ammonia cleaner. Plus, you cannot use ammonia on tinted windows. Chances are, if a glass cleaner does not contain ammonia, it will say “ammonia-free” or “safe for tinted windows”. If the label doesn’t say one way or the other, assume the worst and find another cleaner. Avoid household glass cleaners, which almost all contain ammonia. Some examples of tint-safe cleaners are Stoner Invisible Glass
, Mother’s Glass Cleaner
, and Meguiar’s NXT Generation Glass Cleaner
. Here’s a tip for tinted windows:
to polish and protect the tint. Apply it only to the inside of the glass where tint is visible. It will seal the tint material (Mylar) and keep it clean. Plexus is non-static, non-streaking, and it dries crystal clear.
Some people prefer to use plain water to clean their windows. While this is a very safe method, it may not be effective on stubborn spots, like bug splatter. However, a glass-cleaning microfiber towel, like the Cobra Waffle Weave Microfiber Glass Towel
, will provide a gentle scrubbing action to help remove contamination. Dampen this towel lightly and clean the glass. Then buff the glass dry using a dry microfiber towel. High quality microfiber does not produce lint and is extremely absorbent to prevent streaks.
Professional tip: Many detailers use newspaper to dry automotive glass because it will not produce lint. This is not a bad option, but be sure to wash the ink off your hands before touching other areas of the vehicle. Clean by numbers
1. Detail your vehicle. Glass should be the last thing you do to avoid re-contaminating it during the detailing process.
2. Work out of the sun on dry windows. The sun can cause glass cleaner to evaporate too quickly and leave streaks.
3. Lightly dampen your microfiber towel with your cleaner of choice. Wipe down your windshield, and then immediately buff it with a dry microfiber towel, like the Miracle Towel
. This will prevent streaks. Do the same on the outside of the back windshield.
4. When you clean your windows, be sure to roll them down to clean the top edge.
5. Whether you clean all your inside glass first, all the outside glass, or window by window is up to you. The advantage to cleaning one window at a time is that you’ll immediately see any streaks you left on the outside when you get in to clean the inside.
6. You can’t always get it right the first time. It may take a mist of glass cleaner to remove stubborn film and then another cleaning with plain water to remove any streaks created by the film. It all depends on exactly what is on your glass. Don’t be afraid to use more than one cleaner on the same window, if that’s what it takes.
7. When you clean the inside of the back windshield, it may be helpful to use the backside of your hand to hold the towel against the lower edge of the glass. This technique will allow you to reach the bottom of the glass with greater ease. Removing Water Spots
Water spots are mineral deposits that have etched their way into the paint. When a drop of water evaporates, all the minerals contained in that water remain on the paint. Etching is a gradual process, but it sneaks up on you before you know it. The best way to avoid them is to dry your vehicle each and every time it gets wet. If that sounds ambitious, at least dry it after washing it and after a rain shower. If it’s already too late, here are some tips for removing those cloudy spots.
Glass can be polished just like your paint. A gentle glass polish like DP High Performance Glass Restorer
will remove most water spots and cloudiness to restore perfect clarity to your windows. You can apply it by hand or with a polisher, but set your machine on a low speed (not exceeding 3000 RPM) and use a polishing pad. Do not apply pressure; the pad will do the work for you. When the polisher starts to dry, stop polishing and buff the residue away with a microfiber towel.
Another option is Diamondite Spray Clay
. This is a clay foam that removes embedded contaminants from glass, as well as mineral deposits, using an included sponge. Spray Clay is part of the Diamondite Glass Cleaning System
, which also includes Diamondite Glass Cleaner
and Diamondite Shield
. Spray Clay will not polish the glass to remove etching, but it will correct spots that are still on the surface.
Diamondite Shield will keep your glass clean and provide some protection against future water spots. It seals the glass and causes water to bead. Think of it as a wax for your glass. It improves the performance of wipers and provides a huge improvement in visibility when it rains. Don’t forget the wipers!
Part of keeping your glass clean is keeping your wipers in working order. The rubber strip can dry out and crack so that it doesn’t hug the glass properly. Therefore, it’s ineffective at clearing water off the windshield. If you maintain your wipers, you won’t discover they’re dried out when you need them most, like in a rain storm. This is extremely dangerous, but preventable.
Wiper blades are inexpensive enough to replace, but you can get more life out of each set if you treat them with a rubber protectant made for wipers. 303 Wiper Treatment Wipes
are pre-soaked wipes that keep the rubber soft and supple so the wipers hug the glass properly. Treated wipers will not skip or chatter, and they will remove water and debris more effectively. 303 Wipes also keep your wiper blades from freezing so they clear snow and ice from your windshield better. Check your wipers periodically to be sure they are working well and treat them immediately if they appear to be dried out.
Another way to keep your windshield clean is washer fluid additives. Typical washer fluids available at your local auto store are not very strong and they don’t remove much more than dust. Several companies have formulated additives that provide more cleaning power and work with your regular washer fluid. P21S Windshield Wash Booster
is a great product. It supercharges your regular washer fluid to cut through particularly stubborn films and bug splatter. It can be added to antifreeze washer fluids as well as plain water. Overspray will not affect paint or rubber. Wurth Windshield Wash Additive
serves the same purpose, but it has antifreeze protection already added to the formula. It will provide frost protection down to -22°F. This product is perfect for cold, snow-prone climates.
Remember, if you use washer additives and a glass sealant, your windows may not require cleaning every time you wash your vehicle. Proper maintenance and the right products will make window cleaning much easier when the time comes.