How To: The Best Way To Clean Car Windows (Without Streaks)
We love to gaze out them, but cleaning them is another story. Outside elements can make windows dusty with dirt and debris, sticky with bug debris or just plain yucky with what I like to call life debris.
Life debris can be anything from the trail of ice cream to the leftover remnants of dog drool
Today we are going to look at products and processes for the best way to clean car windows, that will leave your car windows as clean as the day it was driven off the lot.
I know you’re also wondering “What can I use to clean my car windows?”
We will also be looking at some products that can make the task of cleaning your car windows a little less frustrating.
Related: How To Clean Your Dashboard Properly
What Is Needed:
- Micro Fiber Towel, Sponge and/or Pad
- Non-Ammonia or Alcohol Based Cleaner
- Clay Bar
- Spray Bottle with Warm Water
There are quite a few methods to clean your car windows properly ranging from a basic window cleaner and a piece of newspaper and beyond.
The method I choose was a four step method that combined a few of the procedures that I have researched for the subject.
4 Steps: THE BEST WAY TO CLEAN CAR WINDOWS
Window cleaning for me is probably the least fun part of car detailing, so the following method will not only give you the brilliant shine and clean you are looking for, but it will also protect your glass for a good period of time.
STEP 1: CLEAN WINDOW SURFACE WITH CLEANER
Spray two or three sprays of your chosen cleaner onto the surface of the window. If you’re doing the smaller side windows then spray the entire surface.
If you’re doing the larger front and back windows then only spray half the surface of the window so that the cleaner doesn’t evaporate while you are wiping it.
Once the surface is sprayed take a clean micro-fiber cloth and spread the cleaner using small circles one way, and then more small circles the opposite way. Continue the process until all the cleaner has evaporated, leaving a dry surface.
Related: How To Choose The Best Car Wax
STEP 2: USE CLAY BAR TO REMOVE REMAINING DEBRIS
Once the surface is completely dry from the cleaner, spray a light cover of warm water on the window.
Remove a small thumb size portion of clay from the clay bar and with a moderate amount of pressure, rub the clay in the same small circles over the surface of the glass.
If you find a spot that causes some light resistance, go ahead and focus on that spot for a few seconds to remove whatever debris is causing the resistance. Continue the process over the entire surface of the glass and wipe the surface with a dry cloth.
STEP 3: REPEAT STEP 2 AND 3 UNTIL SURFACE IS COMPLETELY CLEAN
If your windows are fairly dirty, you may want to use the clay to try to remove more debris. If after the first use of the clay you are satisfied with the cleanliness of the glass then only repeat step 2 and wipe the surface down with the glass cleaner one more time to ensure that the debris broken up by the clay is properly removed.
STEP 4: APPLY SEALER TO FINISH
Once all the debris is removed and the cleaner has evaporated from the surface you can apply the sealer.
These directions are written for the JetSeal 109, however, if you choose to use the car wax, or RainX please follow the directions for that particular product
For the JetSeal 109, open the bottle and place three lines on your micro-fiber sponge. Pat the sealer across the surface of the window and then spread the sealer with long strokes across the glass until the entire surface is covered.
Wait for 20 Min until it is completely dry, then, with a dry micro-fiber towel, wipe the surface clean.
Here’s a video showing the proper use of the sealer:
Related: How To Remove Dog Hair From Your Car
- Make sure that you save the windows for last when detailing your car. There is nothing more frustrating than double work.
- When cleaning your windows it’s best to do it in the shade. This will slow the rate of evaporation so that you only have to apply your window cleaner once.
- When wiping the surface for all steps, use one side of a dry towel, then flip the towel over and wipe the surface again or you can use the two towel method as explained in the video.
- For Inside Windows: Follow the same steps as above but spray the cleaner directly on the towel instead of the window itself. This will keep the cleaner from running down the window and on to the interior which could cause cracks and other damage.
Products You Can Use to Clean Car Windows
Below are a list of products that I think are best for the job. In most sections I have included an alternate product that can be bought online or at your local department store just in case you don’t want to wait for the product to be shipped. I will also include links so that you can decide for yourself.
The first cleaner is called Invisible Glass. Invisible Glass has no ammonia, alcohol, or residue and is safe for tinted windows. A lot of high end detailers recommend this line as well.
The second cleaner is called Chemical Guys Signature Series Glass Cleaner. This product boasts the same properties as Invisible Glass. I personally chose this product because of the Chemical Guys commitment to Eco Safe products, and of course it is almost half the regular price of Invisible Glass.
The biggest difference between these two products will be it’s availability. Invisible Glass can be purchased from department stores such as Wal-Mart, Dollar General and Sears where as the Chemical Guys Signature Series can only be purchased online. Whichever product you choose you are going to be satisfied with the result.
When choosing your clay bar, you want to be wary of cheaper products. You don’t want a clay that will leave a residue, or worse contains tiny debris that could leave scratches in the glass.
The first product again is the Chemical Brothers Light Clay Bar in Yellow. Not only is it created to be Eco-friendly it is also created by car detailers so you know that it won’t contain anything that will harm your car.
The second is Mother’s California Gold Clay Bar. It’s basically the same as the Chemical Brother’s product.
During my research I have seen some detailers use standard car wax, and some use Rain X which are both good if you want to buy from a local store.
However, the product that I chose was once again the Chemical Guys Jetseal 109. The reason I chose this is because it is the same sealant used for aircrafts and can protect the glass from water and uv rays for up to six months.
If your like me, doing less means so much more and this product leaves my glass shiny and new for the longest period of time.
For this I will admit I have only two criteria, price and softness. Before you pick the cheapest, tug at the fibers a little to make sure the towel will not to leave lint fibers behind on your glass. Here’s a link to the Zwipes line of towels.
Now the we’ve gone over the best way to clean car windows, it we wanted to show some ways that has worked for other but just isn’t THE BEST car window cleaning process. But, hey, different strokes for different folks
3 Techniques YOU May Want to Avoid
Razor Blade Tactic
Can leave scratches if not done right
Some detailers prefer to use a razor blade to remove bug and life debris.
I personally don’t like using things that could cause damage to my window glass and if handled improperly, a razor blade could cause minor cuts and scrapes on the glass.
A razor blade is also not a good idea if you are cleaning any sort of tinted windows since most tints are sensitive and can be easily damaged. Here’s a video showing the process if you chose to try it:
Magic Eraser Tactic
Great for inside WINDSHIELD: May leave more work for you
Here is another alternative over the clay bar and razor blade to help remove debris from your windshield. I find that the magic eraser tends to leave it’s own debris as the sponge breaks down during use. It is an alternative that will work, but could require extra cleaning.
Here’s a good video to check out if you decide that this might work for you:
Not a Favorite
If you watched the “Chris Fix” tutorial (most is videos are awesome!) for the Magic Eraser you’ll notice that he suggested using alcohol to remove debris from the inside glass windows.
I strongly disagree with this suggestion as the alcohol and it’s fumes could cause damage to your vinyl, plastic or leather dashboard.
Even if you are careful and apply the alcohol directly to the cloth you still have fumes that could cause damage, or you could unknowingly wipe alcohol on the interior materials. So I’m suggesting No Alcohol based products at all.
Well there you have it, all you need to know about what I consider to be the best way to clean your car windows without streaks or water marks. Above I have sighted videos and articles to help you make your own decision on what is the best way to clean car windows in your opinion.
Let me know in the comments what you think. And also let me know what you think of my assessment of the razor blade technique and the magic eraser
I really like and appreciate the Eco-friendly products and find that their prices are very comparable to all other products on the market. Thanks for reading and make sure to tell me how this method worked for you in the comments.
Until next time…