No one likes a dirty car, especially one with streaked, greasy windows. In fact, it doesn’t matter if your car is absolutely spotless – if you neglect your automotive glass, your ride doesn’t shine at its full potential.
Why Use Car Glass Cleaner?
The main question surrounding car glass is whether or not it can be cleaned with regular household cleaners. The answer is “Yes”, however, you may not be providing the best possible clean you can get if you are not using a specially formulated 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 clean on your car glass, then you are going to want to purchase a car glass cleaner specially formulated to tackle dirty automotive glass.
Specially Formulated for Automotive Grime – Automotive stains and grime are not the same as common household stains.
The dirt, grease, grime, and dust that plague our vehicles are the result of harsh chemicals and substances that are used in road construction and maintenance, as well as all of the soot and grime created by the friction of millions of rubber tires on the road.
Your standard soap and water solution does not have the chemical cleaning power of automotive glass cleaners and tends to smear and spread automotive grime rather than remove it.
Auto glass cleaners are specially formulated with powerful cleaning agents and chemicals that eat through and dissolve stubborn road grime so that it can be easily wiped away.
Will Not Haze – When any substance is allowed to dry or adhere to the surface of car glass it is almost guaranteed to leave a foggy haze if removed with anything other than a specially formulated automotive glass cleaner.
The reason for the leftover haze is due to mineral deposits that are left on a surface after a substance has been allowed to dry on it.
Automotive glass, though it appears smooth, is actually riddled with microscopic pits and fissures that inadvertently collect the mineral deposits.
Car glass cleaners are specially designed to remove these mineral deposits from the surface of automotive glass without leaving any deposits themselves.
Pro Tip: Keep your car cleaner longer by preventing any substance from drying on your vehicle.
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 shinier after cleaning. Besides being counterintuitive, the waxy, oily substance acts as a grime magnet when applied to automotive glass.
Auto glass cleaners are designed to produce a showroom shine without leaving any residue on the surface of the glass that can cling to road grime and dirt.
Types and History of Automotive Glass
Automotive glass is nothing like a household or industrial glass because automotive glass has a history as sharp as its edge.
At the dawn of the automotive industry, a windshield was considered a luxury that would actually increase the overall price of the vehicle.
If a car included a windshield, it typically consisted of two panes of glass joined in the middle via several hinges that permitted the driver to fold the uppermost pane when dirty.
The windshield as it is today wasn’t incorporated into most vehicles until the early 20th century. However, even then the windscreen consisted of a single pane of glass that was, unsurprisingly, extremely prone to shattering.
Anyone who has experienced a fender bender, let alone a severe car crash, can attest to how violent the experience is. In the early twentieth century, before the advent of automotive safety measures, car accidents were even more violent.
It was commonplace for single pane windshields to shatter in even minor accidents and devastate the drivers and passengers inside the car, as well as pedestrians in the surrounding area with sharp broken glass. It was usually a very messy a volatile event, even at low speeds.
Shatter-resistant glass was invented in 1905 by French Chemist Edouard Benedictus but wasn’t incorporated in automotive use until the 1920’s. Since then there have been many advances in automotive safety technology, including improvements to the strength, weight and stress performance.
Tempered Glass – Tempered automotive glass is typically single-ply and manufactured using the process of repeated heating and cooling which enables the glass to be incredibly thin yet surprisingly durable.
Tempered glass is ideal for automotive purposes because, rather than shattering, it reduces into millions of blunted, pebble-like glass shards that lack any sharp edges.
Laminated Glass – Laminated glass consists of two panes of glass heat sealed together with a layer of clear polyvinyl butyral (PVP) which prevents the glass panes from flying apart when shattered in a car accident.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) Glass – OEM glass is glass that is certified to be the original glass product that was used in the manufacture of a specific vehicle.
OEM glass is important to car collectors who want to be certain that they are replacing their original automotive glass with another original pane of glass.
Dealer Glass – Dealer glass refers to car glass purchased exclusively from the car dealership or approved by the auto manufacturer for use in a specific vehicle.
Aftermarket Glass – The aftermarket automotive glass industry is enormous, and aftermarket glass exists for nearly every make and model on the road.
Aftermarket glass is typically manufactured by aftermarket companies who contract directly with car manufacturers.
Aftermarket glass is made to the same specifications as OEM glass; however, it isn’t considered to be “original equipment equivalent.”
How To Clean Car Glass
To get the most out of your car glass and achieve a showroom clean for your car, you first need to know how to clean your car glass.
Collect Your Tools – Round up everything you may need to clean your automotive glass. That includes:
- A Bucket
- Microfiber Towels
- Automotive Soap
- A Sponge
- A Squeegee
- Car Glass Cleaner
Prep the Window – The next step is to prep the window so it can be cleaned. 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.
Clean the Window With Soap – Combine the automotive soap and water in your bucket and wash the window with the sponge as you would any other window. This will remove any dirt and dust missed by the hose.
Rinse away the soap once the window has been initially cleaned.
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.
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 rag.
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 a streak.
The Top Ten Best Car Glass Cleaners
There are a lot of demands placed on your car glass. It needs to keep you safe, but to do that you need to keep it clean.
The 10 car glass cleaners presented here are considered the absolute best on the market because the only thing they leave on your windows is a spotless, residue-free shine.