Cleaning the windows of your car is an important part of auto detailing. Driving with dirty or hazy windows can hamper your view of the road, so it’s important to clean them often. Despite it being one of the most fundamental parts of car care, many drivers don’t properly clean their car windows.
The most common result of a poor window cleaning job is streaking. Streaks often appear when the wrong products or methods are used. These streaks can be frustrating as it seems like the window was cleaner before attempting to clean in the first place. Hence, many car owners seek professional help in cleaning their cars.
However, car detailers can be pretty costly, so knowing how to care for your car windows properly can save you quite a bit of money. If you face the problem of streaks often, you’ve come to the right place. This guide will show you how to clean your windows without streaks.
How Often Should You Clean Your Car Windows?
Driving with a distorted view of the road is not ideal, so you should ensure that your windshield, windows, and mirrors are clear at all times. Your windows, mirrors, and windshield should be cleaned with wipers roughly once every other week or sooner if they become covered in dust or dirt.
What Solution Should You Use?
Before getting into the steps in cleaning your windows, it’s important to know what cleaning solutions you should use. Using the wrong cleaning agents is a common cause of streaks, so in this case, what you clean with is as important as how you clean.
While there are many products on the market, some are better than others. One of our recommended cleaning products is Stoner’s Invisible Glass. It cleans well and makes a big difference in preventing streaks from forming.
In addition to using the correct solution, you also need to make sure you are wiping up the cleaning solution correctly, so follow our tips below.
Save the windows for last
When cleaning your car, your windows should be the last exterior part of the vehicle to get cleaned. This is to ensure your windows don’t get contaminated by grime, soap residue, or cleaning agents from other parts of the car without being properly washed off.
Don’t clean in direct sunlight
Besides using the wrong cleaning agents, another common cause of streaks on windows is sunlight. When you clean under sunlight, the cleaning solution used evaporates quickly without being rinsed off, leaving a residue behind. To mitigate this problem, you should clean your windows in the shade.
Not every cleaning agent is compatible with your windows
You should minimize the use of soap on your windows. It may sound unusual to wash something without soap, however, rubbing alcohol and vinegar are more effective cleaning agents for car windows.As I said earlier, I recommend using Invisible Glass. You should also stay away from ammonia-based solutions as they can damage your glass over time.
Vertical Wipes on the Outside and Horizontal Wipes on the Inside
I recommend wiping the exterior of your windows in vertical wipes and the interior with horizontal wipes. By altering the direction in which you wipe, you will be able to tell on which side of the glass the streaks are on.
Don’t Use Paper Towels
Paper towels will leave lint and streaks. Instead, we recommend using a low pile microfiber or waffle wave microfiber towel to clean it up. You can finish the cleaning with a higher-piled microfiber if you want. You can also try using newspaper or coffee filters if you do not have a low pile microfiber on hand.
What You’ll Need
- Cleaning Solution in Spray Bottle
- Low Pile Microfiber Towel (or a newspaper or coffee filter)
5 Steps to Streak-Free Windows
1. Gather Your supplies
It’s important to have all your supplies in one place before you begin. Put all your cleaning supplies nearby and drive your car into the shade or keep it in the garage.
2. Spray and Wipe the Outside of the Front and Rear Windows.
You should start your window cleaning with the front and rear windscreen. Spray your cleaning solution generously on the window and wipe immediately using your microfiber towel. These cleaning solutions evaporate quickly, so if you leave the solution on the window for too long without wiping, your window might not get a proper cleaning.
Do not wipe in circular motions. Wiping in circles makes it likely to miss a spot while cleaning and could also leave streak marks on the window. Instead, wipe in vertical motions on the outside. To make this step easier, only clean one half of the window at a time.
3. Spray and Wipe the Outside of the Side Windows
Next, you need to clean the four side windows using the same technique as step 2. Spray the solution evenly and wipe it down in vertical motions. Also, remember to roll down your side windows and clean the top edge.
While cleaning your windshields and side windows, always spare a little extra time for stubborn stains. Some stains like bird droppings and mud won’t come off with just a gentle wipe, so make sure to apply some extra pressure.
4. Clean Your Wiper Blades
Many car owners and even professional detailers ignore wipers when cleaning cars. Keeping your wiper blades clean is an important part of window care. Wiping your windshield with dirty blades is also a common cause of streak marks and can damage both your windows and the wipers over time.
To clean your wipes, apply a bit of cleaning solution on a microfiber towel and gently wipe up and down the blade till it’s clean. Once it’s clean, wipe it dry to remove any residue.
5. Clean the Interior Windows
Once you’re done with the outside of your windows, it’s time to clean the interior. For this, you’ll need to deviate from your method of cleaning the outside slightly. Firstly, the driver’s seat of your vehicle might be a little tight because of the steering wheel, so you should clean the front windshield and windows from the passenger seat. Cleaning the back windows should be easier as the back is spacious.
Also, while cleaning the interior part of your mirrors, spray the solution onto the microfiber cloth and then wipe the windows instead of spraying directly onto the windows as you did on the outside. This ensures that your cleaning solution doesn’t drip onto your dashboard or cushioned parts of the vehicle.
After you spray some solution on the microfiber cloth, wipe the windows gently in a horizontal motion. Once all your windows are clean, your job is done. All that’s left is leaving the windows to air dry by opening the doors of your car for about an hour so the breeze can touch both sides of the glass as well as the interior of the windshields.
The Importance Of Windshield Wiper Replacement
Wipers are a small and often neglected part of a vehicle. They play a crucial role in keeping your windshield pristine-looking. Most drivers don’t think of their wipers until they’re in the middle of a downpour while driving, but it’s important to maintain and occasionally replace your wiper blades. Using worn-out blades can leave huge streaks on your windows.
How Often Should You Have Your Blades Replaced?
Wiper blades should be replaced at least every year, but they can often need replacing after about six months. This depends on the weather and how much they’re required to help you clean your windshield. For example, they could be exposed to flash floods, dirt, and heavy rain late in the year and will need replacing much quicker than a wiper that was installed mid-year during the summer.
If you are unsure how often your blades should be replaced, they give off certain signs when they begin to wear out and need replacing. These include:
- Leaving streaks on the window
- Squeaking sound when wiping
- Broken frame
- Skipping or sporadic stopping during use
Always replace your wipers at the earliest opportunity. Driving without wipers is a common cause of auto accidents in the US.
Window maintenance is important for all car owners. It not only gives your car a pleasing appearance but helps you stay safe while on the road. However, proper window cleaning is not as straightforward as one might imagine, and streaks can often appear if your window isn’t cleaned correctly.
You don’t need to visit an expensive retailer every time streaks appear on your windows. All you need is the right products and the proper cleaning process, and you can have a spotless window whenever you want.