No one likes a dirty car, especially one with streaked, greasy windows. In fact, it doesn’t matter if the rest of your car is absolutely spotless—if you neglect your glass, your ride won’t shine to its full potential. Plus having dirty windows is a safety hazard as it can affect your visibility while driving. There’s an easy solution — a high-quality car glass cleaner will help you keep your windows streak-free and crystal clear.
10 Best Car Glass Cleaners
Clean car windows are an often overlooked essential. You might not even realize how dirty they are until you break out the glass cleaner and go to work. These 10 top car glass cleaners will give your windows a spotless, residue-free shine.
How To Choose A Car Glass Cleaner
Though shopping for the best car glass cleaners might seem pretty straightforward, there are a few things to consider before buying a product:
Cleaner Type: Aerosol Spray, Spray Bottles, & More
The most common types of car glass cleaners come in aerosol spray cans or spray bottles. Aerosol spray cans typically spray foam, which makes it easier to see how much product you have applied to an area. Spray bottles, on the other hand, feature a squeeze trigger that does not splatter the liquid all over the cleaning area and may be more comfortable to use.
Some users also find that streaking and hazing is an issue when using aerosol cans. This can be due to misapplication as oftentimes streaking comes as a result of missed contaminants, in which case you’ll have to repeat the cleaning process and focus more on the stubborn spots.
Liquid cleaners can often be more cost-effective since they come in gallon containers, which makes them a better cleaning solution for a professional or somebody who often needs to clean more than one car.
For a quick one-step clean of your windshield or for quick touch-ups, pre-moistened car glass cleaner wipes can come handy. Just make sure you follow the instructions correctly. For persistent debris or grime, make sure that you are using clean towels, and you can also try a clay bar treatment that will give your glass a deep clean.
Ease of use
A cleaner that goes on easy and is fast to apply can make the whole process easier. Generally, foaming cand spray-on cleaners are convenient to apply and wipe off. You may want to avoid products that drip or run, as they could create a mess, especially when used on vertical surfaces.
Safe For Tinted Windows
Cleaners that contain ammonia can damage tint, fading or even changing the color. They make the film more susceptible to breaking down. However, even if a product is free of ammonia, you will want to make sure that the rest of the ingredients are also safe to use on tinted glass and will not cause any staining.
Non-Toxic, Non-Irritating Ingredients
Ammonia in high concentrations can cause eye irritation and upper respiratory problems. People who suffer from asthma or other respiratory issues should exercise caution when inhaling products containing potentially irritating ingredients. Always check the full list of ingredients before purchasing.
Also, some of these car cleaning products contain artificial fragrances that some people may be sensitive to. If you have broken or sensitive skin, always use rubber gloves while cleaning your car to avoid chemicals coming in contact with your skin.
Easy to Store
To avoid spillage, keep spray bottles standing right side up. In the case of spray cans, they should be kept in a cool and dry place away from extreme heat conditions. Although there is low risk of leaking, they should also not be stored upside down. In this sense, glass wipers are the easiest and safest to store.
How To Clean Car Glass
To get the most out of your car glass cleaner and achieve a showroom clean for your car, you will want to know how to effectively clean your car glass.
1. Collect your tools:
2. Prep the window: Remove excess dirt, dust, and any debris that can easily be removed with a rinse from a hose or a splash of water from the bucket.
3. Clean the window with soap and water: Combine the automotive soap and water in your bucket and wash the window with the sponge. This will remove any dirt and dust missed by the hose. Rinse away the soap once the window has been cleaned.
4. Squeegee away the water: Remember, it’s never a good idea to let anything dry on your car. Use the squeegee to remove any excess moisture from the window.
5. Apply car glass cleaner: The exact application process may differ depending on the automotive glass cleaner you choose. Some may instruct you to spray the cleaner directly on the glass while others may call for you to apply it to the microfiber towel.
Regardless of the exact way the car glass cleaner is applied, it is recommended that you use an up-and-down or back-and-forth motion instead of a circular application, as this ensures full window coverage and reduces the chance of leaving streaks.
Stay Safe With the Best Car Glass Cleaner
The safest automotive glass in the world won’t save you if you can’t see where you are driving. With one of the best glass cleaners, you can keep your auto glass as shiny and crystal-clear as it was the day it rolled onto the dealership floor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I use a car glass cleaner?
There are a number of high-quality, all-purpose glass cleaners that will work moderately well on automotive glass, but if your goal is to achieve a showroom shine, then you are going to want to purchase a car glass cleaner for the following reasons:
Specially Formulated for Automotive Grime: Automotive stains and grime are not the same as common household stains. Auto glass cleaners are specially formulated with powerful cleaning agents and chemicals that eat through and dissolve stubborn road grime.
Will Not Haze: Automotive glass, though it appears smooth, is actually riddled with microscopic pits and fissures that inadvertently collect mineral deposits giving the glass a hazy appearance. Car glass cleaners are specially designed to remove these mineral deposits from the surface of automotive glass without leaving any deposits themselves.
Will Not Streak: Many household glass cleaners are formulated to leave a waxy, oil-like substance on the surface of the glass to make it appear shiny after cleaning. This waxy, oily substance acts as a grime magnet when applied to automotive glass. Auto glass cleaners, on the other hand, won’t leave any residue on the surface of the glass.
What is the best cleaner for tinted car windows?
Let’s start from what you shouldn’t be using on your tinted windows and that is ammonia-based cleaner. Ammonia damages the tint and makes black plastics dry and dull.
Instead, choose a product that is labeled safe for use on tinted windows. Usually, these products will be labeled as ammonia-free.
If you purchased a cleaner concentrate, in order to prevent streaks and calcified spots on the tint, we recommend using distilled water to mix your glass cleaner instead of tap water especially if your home has hard water.
Also, avoid using abrasive products such as paper towels or newspapers. Use only soft fabrics to clean and dry the glass. This should help keep your tint in good condition.
Is glass cleaner safe for car paint?
Glass cleaner may not directly damage car paint, but it can strip off the wax from the finish of your paint. To avoid window cleaner coming into contact with car paint, spray the cleaner onto an absorbent cloth to apply it.
Glass cleaner can also cause plastic trim to dry up and wear out prematurely, so try to avoid getting excessive glass cleaner on your plastic trim.
Is Windex good for car windows and car paint?
Traditional household glass cleaners can contain harsh cleansing agents such as ethylene glycol, ammonia, and butane that can remove wax or any paint protection and strip the paint of your vehicle, causing it to yellow and cloud.
As a strong cleaner, Windex can damage the finish of your car and therefore we do not recommend using it to clean your windows. All-purpose Windex can also be too strong for your car windows and may leave a haze behind.
How do I deep clean my windshield?
First, rinse your windshield with water. Apply your favorite glass cleaner and wipe off any grime using a clean microfiber towel. Spray some water across the windshield and use a clay bar to wipe back and forth across the glass, feeling for any high spots. Then, wipe up the excess water and any of the dirt sitting on the surface.
Spray some glass cleaner on the windshield and clean the glass one more time. For our final step, we choose a carnauba-based butter wet wax that will produce a streak-free deep shine, providing a protective natural-looking coating against all sorts of road debris and even UV rays.
Apply a small amount of product to a clean soft towel and apply in small circular motions on the glass to spread the wax across the entire windshield.
Wait for it to dry and use a clean cloth to buff off all the wax on the surface. Clean your windshield off using circular motions and then up and down motions.
How can I make a DIY natural glass cleaner?
For DIY and green living enthusiasts or people who want to stay away from chemical-laden products, a homemade car glass cleaner is not just a healthier option but an effective and, in some cases, cheaper solution, too.
Our DIY recipe is as simple as it can be since you will only need two easy-to-find ingredients and a spray bottle.
The main ingredient is vinegar which is well known for its anti-microbial properties. Many people use it for home cleaning since it is a budget-friendly natural cleaning ingredient.
- Mix 1 cup of white distilled vinegar with 1 cup of clean water in a spray bottle, and simply spray and clean.
- For a very grimy glass, try prewashing the surface with some soapy water and then move on to the spray.
- You can also do spot cleaning by dipping a cloth in vinegar or warming it up before use.
- Wipe the glass using a clean microfiber towel or a soft cloth that is free of lint.