How to clean car windows without streaking remains a mystery to most people. Most people find themselves chasing their tales in search of the perfect window cleaner that will finally give them streak free windows in their car.
To clean car windows without streaks and smudges is one of the top complaints when it comes to car washing and auto detailing. Ask any professional and they will tell you how frustrating and time consuming it is just to deliver a finished product with windows that are spotless and streak free. I have spent almost as much time perfecting my car window cleaning methods as I have with paint polishing and waxing techniques.
Want to hear the good news about clean car windows:
Techniques and products do exist that will actually deliver professional streak free windows!
I have an opinion...and that is that most opinions should be thrown out the window. When it comes to cleaning the windows in your car there is an endless sea of opinions as to the perfect window cleaner, or the best window cleaning method. The good news is that when it comes to streak free and smudge free windows in your car, it is more about the technique and the cloth, than it is about finding "the best" window cleaner.
The windows of your car represent two specific sides; the in and the out. While the steps could be identical, the reality is that they represent different sets of problems and thus require specific strategies for truly streak free and smudge free clean car windows.
Outside Window Problems:
Inside Window Problems:
Just like every other area of life; not all things are created equal. And while I said that the biggest tip for successfully cleaning the windows in your car is technique, rather than finding the perfect window cleaner, this part of the equation shouldn't be overlooked. I offer a couple recommendations whether you are a car owner/driveway detailer, or if you are a professional looking for an economical solution for glass cleaners.
Car Owner- Driveway Detailer-Enthusiast
Many professionals would consider it an industry sin to actually recommend a product like Armor All in any situation. But having received as much positive feedback on the product, along with my own professional testing, it is hard not to recommend this product from a well established cosmetic car care company.
But I also add the retail version from another well established car care company for those who trust Meguiar's over Armor-All.
And once again; the actual window cleaner is not the biggest factor in truly streak free or smudge free windows.
As a professional detailer we will go through much more product than any typical car owner or driveway detailer will ever go through. So shopping smart requires us to find that winning balance:
For this reason I use Meguiar's glass cleaner to clean car windows whether they are tinted or un-tinted.
Darren's Tip: I use distilled water for purity reasons. Distilled water is free from all contaminates and minerals and makes for a more refined or pure window cleaner. When it comes to product concentrates, as a rule I always use distilled water when mixing. This would be the equivalent of having soft water in your house and the fact that you can use much less soap and detergents when compared to hard water.
Clean windows are not just about the window cleaner, but also the "tool". And having the right tools is critical to getting perfectly clean car windows with no streaks and no smudges.
The (2) different window cloths below are my top picks for window cloths. I carry and use both and simply allow the situation to dictate which cloth I am going to use. Since weather conditions can greatly affect the results and the process, I like having choices. If you are a driveway detailer, either one of these window cloths promise to perform.
Use the additional tools below based on my professional tips to take your car window cleaning to the next level.
Invisible Glass Reach and Clean Tool
Clay Magic Detailing Clay
Inside of Your Car Windows: For the inside, use the following steps to obtain truly streak free windows without that greasy look that can become so frustrating when viewing at certain angles and lighting.
Outside of Your Car Windows: For the outside, it is recommended that you use detailing clay to remove any contaminates from your windows that would diminish your end results. Use the Clay Magic detailing clay just as you would on your car paint.
After you have clayed the windows, use the same steps for the outside windows as explained for the inside of the windows.
Tinted Windows: There is this perpetual fear put into all of us regarding tinted windows. And by tinted, I mean the after-market window film that is applied to stock windows that make them darker and protect against UV rays. The good news is that cleaning tinted car windows are actually easier to clean and maintain! Due to the fact that the haze build-up normally found on the inside of car windows is not as visible with tinted windows, the extra steps necessary to remove the common hazy build-up on the inside of your windows will not be as important to most people with tinted windows.
With that said, you can still use the same additional steps of the Magic Eraser and rubbing alcohol/distilled water mixture to remove excessive haze build-up if required. Just be more gentle with the Magic Eraser as if you rub hard enough and long enough, it will eventually mar the window film. If you are overly worried, simply use a micro-fiber cloth along with the rubbing alcohol/distilled water mixture in place of the Magic Eraser to remove the excessive haze build-up as you clean car windows from the inside of your car first.
Window Rubber: Whether we are talking about the inside or outside of your car windows, there will always be some form of weather stripping or window rubber gasket material along side the windows that will hold your car windows in place. This will be a case by case problem as each car manufacturer, along with differing materials will be used year to year. What happens is that as you are cleaning your windows, you can rub your window cloth along these rubber window gaskets and then transfer this rubberized materiel onto your car windows as you clean them. Knowing how to clean car windows also means knowing what not to do.
This can both be a problem on the outside of the window as well as the inside. Car manufacturers use not only different materials between manufacturers, but also different materials that are different on the inside than that of the outside. This problem can be compounded during hot summer months as rubberized window gaskets will become softened, and transfer of this material from your window cleaning cloth onto your clean car window can become more problematic.
Window Rubber Gasket Sealants: Another common problem in getting clean car windows is due to the sealants used when assembly of car windows into your car. Both on the inside and out, the sealant underneath the rubberized gasket will begin to seep out as the car ages and is exposed to hotter temperatures. Once you tag this gooey, sticky adhesive/sealant, you will have to switch window cleaning cloths as you will end up streaking your car windows with adhesive; it becomes a nightmare very quickly!
Window/Glass: Like everywhere else in life, not all things are created equal. Just when you think I have complicated the topic of clean car windows enough, now I have to go and add yet another dimension to the equation. Not all glass will be the same. Literally! Some glass will allow your glass cleaning cloth to wipe smoothly across it, while other glass will grab your cloth and make it feel impossible to even wipe the glass at all. I cannot explain this; I just know that you will be faced with "different" kinds of car glass and windows when you try and clean the car windows and it will be a factor in your finished results.
Thank you for visiting clean car windows. I bet you know of at least one other person who is also frustrated with cleaning their car windows; friend, family, or anyone part of your circle. Help me spread the word by sharing or posting this page to your favorite social network.
Thank you in advance!