What Is The Best Way To Clean Your Car’s Windows?

What Is The Best Way To Clean Car Windows - Featured ImageThere’s nothing more annoying than seeing your car’s windows paved over with grime. Dirty windows make it harder for the driver to see out of the car and they also make an otherwise beautiful ride look bad.

Cleaning your car’s windows isn’t always as simple as it might seem, however. If you use the wrong cleaning product or method, your car’s windows will be streaky and just as bad looking as before.

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to clean your car’s windows so that your car stays fresh looking and your windows stay crystal clear.

Car Wash

The easiest way to clean your car’s windows is to take your car to the car wash. The car wash has a system of high powered brushes, water jets, and soaps which can cut the grime in half or more. As a bonus, your car’s exterior surfaces will look polished and reflective after a run through the wash.

But car washes are expensive. They also don’t clean the inside of your car windows, so they’ll only accomplish half of the job.

Furthermore, car washes aren’t known for their careful attention to detail. After a run through the car wash, there could still be areas which need attention. If you’re unlucky, the wash may even damage your windows.

That’s why it may be better to do things the old-fashioned way.

Soap And Shammy

Grabbing a bucket of soap and a sponge or shammy is the least expensive way to clean your car’s windows. It’s also one of the most effective ways because you can pay attention to every little detail and give your car the clean that it deserves.

You’ll find that washing down your car with soap and shammy is very easy, and it’s very gentle. Warm water and a commercial car soap will go a long way.

There’s one problem with the soap and shammy approach, though. It’s much more effective at cleaning the exterior of your windows than the interior. All of the excess soapy water will flow down the interior windows and potentially discolor your upholstery.

Plan for this contingency by packing some paper towels in between the interior window and the upholstery. You may also want to use a cloth to catch the dripping if you expect to be scrubbing vigorously with a lot of soap and water.

It often makes more sense to use a commercial spray-on window cleaner for the inside surfaces of your car windows.

Commercial Window Cleaners

Commercial window cleaning chemicals are essentially Windex for cars. These products have a gentle and enjoyable scent and won’t leave streaking on your windows. To use these window cleaning chemicals, you’ll be spraying them on then wiping them off.

Window cleaners are the most effective on the inside surfaces of your car windows because the inside surfaces have special needs which the outside surfaces don’t have.

In particular, inside windows are subject to a buildup of film from materials inside the car releasing gases when they are exposed to heat or light.

These gases don’t build up in any quantity which could hurt a person because they’re released every time the door is opened, but because car windows are constantly exposed for long periods, some minor caking can occur. This caking is what causes the windows to become foggier over time.

Commercial window cleaners are specifically designed to cut through this buildup, which soap and water may not be able to do if the caking has been accumulating for a long time.

The drawbacks to commercial window cleaners are that they tend to be more expensive than DIY solutions like soap and water. On the bright side, the pleasant scent will last a lot longer.

Commercial products will also be better suited for the buildup of grime that can occur due to road treatment chemicals like salt or antifreeze. Using soap and warm water might require a lot of scrubbing to remove these chemicals.

Window cleaners will cut right through them and save your window some stress.

You’ll need to be careful if you have special treatments or tinting on your windows when you apply a commercial window cleaner, however. Most tinting is compatible with most gentle cleaning chemicals, but the more aggressive the chemical, the more concerned you should be.

DIY Solutions

If you need something that’s more intensive than soap and water but less expensive than a car wash or a commercial window cleaner, you can set up a few DIY solutions which might do the trick to clean your car windows.

A potential recipe for a DIY cleaning solution is:

  • One part vinegar
  • Eight parts water
  • A thimble of dish soap

You could also substitute apple cider vinegar for normal vinegar if you prefer the smell.

To make this solution, warm the water, then mix the vinegar and dish soap in vigorously. You should see it foam up.

Next, if you have sensitive skin, you may want to put on some gloves to protect them from the cleaning solution. Then, wet a towel with the solution, and dab it onto the trouble area. Rub in small circles on the toughest spots and apply more if necessary.

Wash the area down with pure water when you’re done. You may want to follow up with a soap and water scrub later on to clear away any excess minerals which might be in the water you used. If you let these minerals accumulate, eventually you’ll have even worse window problems.

DIY solutions are usually acidic and tend to be a bit harsh on your windows. You should reserve them for attacking difficult spots or stains which gentler methods can’t approach.

If you’re interested in experimenting with making a stronger solution, a good place to start would be to add another acidic liquid to the mix, like lemon juice.

Avoid adding anything like baking soda to the mix, and remember that the more acidic you make your solution, the higher chances you have of damaging your window tinting.

Brett Gordon

The engine behind editing at DigMyRide and the brains behind its build. During the day, Brett is a thirty-something dude from SoCal climbing the corporate ladder, but by night, he spends his time contributing to the online world of automotive tech & trends.