6 Things To Avoid When Cleaning Car Windows

Cleaning Car Windows

Getting behind the wheel of a car with crystal-clear windows is not only safer but also enhances the overall aesthetic of your vehicle. Unfortunately, the path to perfect window clarity can be filled with frustrating pitfalls like streaks, smears, and even scratches. That’s why it’s important to know the best way to clean car windows—and what to avoid at all costs in the process.

6 Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning Car Windows

1. Using the Wrong Tools

  • Paper towels and newspaper: While readily available, these are terrible for car windows. Their abrasive nature leaves behind lint and even contributes to fine scratches over time.
  • Household cleaners: Harsh chemicals in products like dish soap, multi-purpose cleaners, and even some glass cleaners can damage automotive window coatings and leave a residue that causes streaks.
  • Sponges: Their textured surface can be too rough for delicate glass and may even trap dirt particles that lead to scratches.

2. Cleaning in Direct Sunlight

  • Quick-drying problems: When you work in direct sunlight, your cleaning solution dries too quickly, causing unsightly streaks.
  • Glare issues: The sun’s glare can obscure your view, making it easy to miss spots and making accidental scratches more likely.

3. Skipping the Pre-clean

  • Gritty grime: Loose debris like dirt, pollen, or bird droppings can cause significant streaking and even scratches if not removed before applying a cleaning solution.

4. Forgetting the Wiper Blades

  • Streak central: Dirty wiper blades will negate your hard work, even on clean glass. A quick wipe with a damp cloth goes a long way.

5. Using Circular Motions

  • Circular streaks: Scrubbing in circles traps dirt, leading to those frustrating streaks that appear when the light hits just right.

6. Not Buffing Dry

  • Watermarks galore: Air-drying leaves water spots. A quick buff to a perfect shine is the key to a professional result.

Choosing the Right Car Window Cleaning Products:

  • Dedicated car window cleaner: Look for formulas explicitly designed for automotive glass. They’ll be streak-free and safe for window coatings and tints.
  • Microfiber cloths: Invest in several high-quality microfiber cloths designed for glass. These trap dirt instead of smearing it and are lint-free.
  • Optional: Alcohol-based cleaner: Isopropyl alcohol (diluted) can be an excellent degreaser for particularly stubborn grime.

Step-by-Step Guide to Perfectly Clean Car Windows:

  1. Pre-clean: Remove large debris with a soft brush or microfiber cloth.
  2. Clean the interior glass: Start here, as the outside tends to be dirtier. Spray your car window cleaner on a microfiber cloth, then wipe in a side-to-side motion. Buff dry with a clean cloth.
  3. Exterior Windows: Lower windows slightly to clean the top edges. Spritz cleaner onto the glass (avoiding overspray onto the car body) and wipe with microfiber, switching cloths when dirty. Dry completely.
  4. Wiper blades: Wipe with a damp cloth. For stubborn buildup, dilute some isopropyl alcohol and wipe again.

Additional Pro Tips:

  • Work in sections: Avoid letting your cleaner dry out.
  • Inspect carefully: Check for streaks from different angles in the light.
  • Clean regularly: It’ll prevent buildup and make the task easier.


Enjoy your clearer view and enhanced car aesthetic! These guidelines will ensure sparkling car windows and prevent the frustrations of streaks and scratches.

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