Washing Car Windows the Right Way

pexels-photo-104892Whenever a person sits in the driver seat they squint in an attempt to see past the annoying streaks on the windshield. Amazement fills the driver’s eyes when the washer fluid cuts away the streaks to reveal a mostly clear world. If only the wiper fluid also cleaned the streaks from the inside of the windshield.

This frustration increases when the driver decides to hit the local car wash with the hope of gaining a more precisely cleaned windshield. But, the upgrade sale that allows for an extra coat of wax hits the glass and leaves a light residue that will once again cloud the windshield later that night.

“The windshield is the number one safety system in a car,” says John Hickey, owner of Hi-Tech Addison Auto Repair. “If you can’t see out your window, you might end up in a wreck.”

To make sure the windshield is properly cleaned and providing full visibility, John provided the follow tips:

1. Wash Car Windows Last—When cleaning a car the last thing to be washed are the windows. This eliminates soap residue and wax build up. Many car detailers will clean the windows with a power washer (set to the right strength to avoid cracking the glass) to remove any wax or dried soap.

2. Wash Windows in the Shade—The shade drops the temperature enough to slow the evaporation process and avoid the sun drying up the window cleaner too quickly. Using a microfiber towel will also help get the windows clean without depositing lint on the glass. The towels are available for under $10 each and can quickly remove streaks. Do not make the common mistake of reusing the towels on glass after using it on other parts of the car. Window towels are for windows only.

3. Use Little Solution—Based on the below secret to clean windows, its important not to use too much solution. Any over abundance of solution is more likely to leave dry marks or streaks behind. Using a misting bottle will help control the amount of solution used.

The cleaning solution also plays a role in the transparency of the windows. There are numerous window cleaner formulas in the marketplace to achieve varying results based on the types of dirt and residue that it’s required to remove.

“Some detailers mix their own cleaner,” said Hickey. “One guy mixes a homemade concoction of 50% rubbing alcohol, 50% distilled water, and then drops in a capful of vinegar into his spray bottle.”

A couple of local mechanics use a solution of 70% water, 15% window cleaner and 15% rubbing alcohol. They admit that there is no one foolproof system and recalled the use of newspapers for wiping the windshield prior to micro-fiber towels.

Warning labels should be placed on some homemade formulas, as many pros warn against people using ammonia-based solutions that can damage the vinyl and leather when cleaning the inside of the windows. Ammonia-based solutions can also damage or scratch tinted windows. The chemical reaction causes the vinyl properties to breakdown and crack. Consideration can also be given to eco-friendly solutions with natural ingredients like water and vinegar.

The Secret to clean windows is to make sure they are fully dry after cleaning to avoid the appearance of streaks. Drying the outside of the window with a horizontal motion and the inside with a vertical movement stops any left behind residue from creating a combination streak. It also helps the driver to know immediately, when a streak is present, whether it is on the inside part of the glass or the outside.

© 2017 Hi-Tech Automotive Specialists, Inc.
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About CJ Powers

CJ is an author and speaker.
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