Glass Cleaning Facts & Tips
Clean automotive glass is possible with the right products and techniques!
Clean glass not only looks better, it helps you drive better. We’ll tell you how to clean glass, even finicky automotive glass, with clear results. Clean, clear glass looks beautiful next to clean, waxed paint, and it improves your visibility while driving. Just a few extra minutes detailing your windows will add a sparkling touch to your vehicle’s finish and just might save your life!
The Facts About Glass Cleaners
Many glass cleaners contain ammonia, which is a great grease cutter but has some significant disadvantages when it comes to cars.
- Ammonia can release dangerous fumes that should not be inhaled, especially in enclosed areas like the inside of your vehicle.
- Chemically, ammonia acts to dry out plastic, rubber, vinyl, and leather.
- Most significantly, in sunnier climates, car owners often customize with additional non-factory tinting. Ammonia based cleaners cannot be used on tinted windows. If your current cleaner does not state “ammonia-free” or “safe for tinted windows” you should find another cleaner.
Waffle Weave towel and Invisible
Glass make a great pair for cleaning
auto & home windows.
- A Tip for Tinted Windows: Use McKee's 37 Plex-All to polish and protect the window 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. Detailer's Pro Series Plex-All 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, water is not enough of a solvent to cut the protein base of stubborn spots, like bug remains. However, a glass-cleaning microfiber towel , like the Waffle Weave Microfiber Glass Towel, will provide a gentle scrubbing action to help remove contamination. Dampen this towel lightly and clean the glass. Then, flip the towel to a dry side and buff to remove every last streak.
High quality microfiber is micro-engineered to eliminate lint and is extraordinarily absorbent to prevent streaking.
One hand tool that’s well worth a try is Stoner Invisible Glass Reach & Clean Tool. This long-armed glass scrubber can help you clean your SUV windshield and those hard-to-reach areas at top of the cab windows or your sunroof.
Clean By Numbers
- Detail your vehicle. Glass should be the last thing you do to avoid re-contaminating it during the detailing process.
- Work out of the sun on dry windows. The sun can cause glass cleaner to evaporate too quickly and leave residues.
- Spend some extra time on your windshield because you look through it more than the rest of the windows. Lightly dampen your microfiber towel with your cleaner of choice. We highly recommend McKee's 37 Krystal Vision Glass Cleaner for its non-streaking, film-zapping performance. Wipe up and down and then side to side using long strokes. Flip the towel to a dry side to remove any remaining wetness from the windshield. Do the same on the back window.
- Be sure to roll down your windows about half way so you can clean the top edges of the glass.
- Whether you clean all of your inside or outside glass first, or if you favor the window-by-window approach, that is your preference.
- You cant 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.
- When you clean the inside of the back window, 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.
This is the perfect application of the Stoner Invisible Glass Reach & Clean Tool
. It can reach any spot on your windows easily and wipe it away!
Water Spot Eliminators
Water spots are mineral deposits that have etched their way into the paint and they can be very tough to remove. When a drop of water evaporates, all the minerals contained in that water remain on the paint. Etching is a gradual process, but those little spots will accumulate 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 too ambitious, at least dry it after washing and after a rain. If it’s already too late, here are some tips for removing those cloudy spots.
Glass can take a polish just like paint. A quality glass polish like McKee's 37 High Performance Glass Restorer will remove 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 (1000-1200 RPM on a rotary or 5-6 on a dual action) and use a polishing pad. Do not apply pressure; the pad will do the work for you. When the polish starts to dry, stop polishing and buff the residue away with a microfiber towel.
Remove mineral deposits from glass
to prevent permanent etching
Pinnacle GlassCoat Window Sealant with Rain Repellent 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.
Once applied, Pinnacle GlassCoat Window Sealant with Rain Repellent repels water like no other. The surface tension created by this coating beads and repels water more effectively than you thought possible. Even in the most torrential rainstorms, the water beads up and flies off so effortlessly you may not need use the wipers!
Every time you use your windshield wipers, any dirt accumulated on the wiper blades and windshield is subsequently dragged across the windshield. This causes abrasive friction that will, over time, decrease the effectiveness of any glass coating. The simple solution to this problem is to re-apply Pinnacle GlassCoat Window Sealant with Rain Repellent on a regular basis.Those who frequently travel or live in areas where it rains regularly should apply Pinnacle GlassCoat Window Sealant with Rain Repellent monthly. Those who drive less frequently or live in drier climates should apply Pinnacle GlassCoat Window Sealant with Rain Repellent every 3-6 months.
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 inefficient 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.
You will get more life out of each set of wiper blades if you regularly clean them with a high-quality, ammonia-free glass cleaner, like Pinnacle Crystal Clear Glass Cleaner with Water Repellent. Treated wipers will not skip or chatter, and they will remove water and surface debris more effectively. 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 highly diluted and remove little more than dust. Most of these additives also leave a nasty haze on the windshield, reducing visibility. Several companies have formulated concentrated additives that give your regular washer fluid a much-needed boost. Pinnacle GlassWork Windshield Washer Booster is a great product. It doubles the cleaning power of regular windshield washer fluid while creating a much slicker washer fluid that is less prone to streaking and smearing. Its formula is highly concentrated which means one 16 ounce bottle of concentrate treats 16 gallons of washer fluid. It is perfect for removing built up road film, dirt, bugs and grime to avoid creating a safety hazard in inclement weather conditions. It can be added both to antifreeze washer fluids, as well as plain water. Overspray will have no impact on paint or trim. Best of all, it resists streaking, smearing, and will not cause an unsightly haze.
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 will be easy to clean each time you detail your vehicle. A little preventative maintenance will take the aggravation out of window cleaning.