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Fact or Fiction: Use Window Cleaner to Clean Auto Glass

Does all the online message board misinformation have you wishing you could find a little surefire expert advice on how to clean a windshield? Here at Glass Doctor®, we know a lot about auto glass, so we can tell you first-hand that the idea you can - or should - use common window cleaners to clean your auto glass is, in fact, FICTION.

Why shouldn’t you use common window cleaner on your auto glass?

Most over-the-counter window cleaners contain ammonia, which can create problems for your auto glass:

  • It streaks.
    Not a good thing when you rely on your windshield for a clear, unobstructed view of the roadways. And who wants to put all that effort into cleaning to drive off in a car with streaky windows?
  • It fogs.
    Having trouble with glare? It may be your chosen window cleaner.
  • It’s bad for your tint.
    Window tint should never be cleaned with ammonia-based cleaning products. Ammonia breaks down tint, and over time can cause it to peel.

Other items that can damage your auto glass

Beyond common window cleaners, your application method of choice can also damage your automotive glass.

  • Sponges
    Sponges may be great for scrubbing your pots and pans, but they’re not so gentle on your windshield, and can break down and ruin glass (and definitely your tint) over time.
  • Towels
    Your standard bath or hand towel may also be too rough for glass surfaces in your car.

What should I use to clean my auto glass?

For both internal and external car window surfaces, specially formulated auto glass cleaner is recommended, alongside microfiber cleaning cloths, which are safe for all the surfaces of your car. Less harmful for your auto glass and the environment, an array of safe, auto glass cleaning options are available.

How to clean auto glass – and avoid common mistakes…

  1. Don’t mix mediums.
    Whichever cloth you use for glass surfaces, use it for that and only that to avoid introducing hard-to-remove grease and grime from other surfaces or cleaners.
  2. Clean windows and mirrors last.
    Wash and dry your car first to prevent the dragging of dirt from other soiled surfaces on your car over windows. Keep extra microfiber cloths on hand as only clean cloths will yield superior glass care results.
  3. Take cover.
    Pull the car into shade before cleaning auto glass to prevent cleaner from drying too quickly and complicating cleaning efforts.
  4. Spray cleaner on the cloth, not the windshield.
    This prevents overspray onto painted surfaces.
  5. First things first.
    Clean the front windshield, then the rear, as these surfaces are essential to your view of the road. Start on one side, and when finished move to the other. When cleaning side windows, don’t neglect the top - open or roll down windows to ensure against overlooked surfaces.
  6. Use a pattern.
    Cleaning the outside with horizontal strokes and inside with vertical ones (or vice versa) can help you easily identify and rectify streaks.
  7. Don’t neglect your wiper blades.
    Clean them last with a separate cloth (they are often quite dirty) to prevent streaking during use.

Wish you knew how to clean a windshield before it resulted in the clear need for repair or replacement? Glass Doctor can help you mend the results of those misinformed, less-than-effective cleaning efforts. Contact us today.