A filthy windscreen not only makes your car look really gross, but it can also be very dangerous if left dirty for months and months. If you find yourself squinting through the windshield to see the road in front of you, then it almost certainly time to wipe it down.
Ideally, you should be cleaning the inside of your windshield every few weeks to avoid the buildup of grime that can make driving hazardous. Getting rid of those stubborn smudges, dirt and film will dramatically reduce the likelihood of a car accident.
The grime on your inside window can also prevent your car’s defogger from working effectively, as the condensation that accumulates will stick more easily to a dirty windshield.
You understand why the outside gets dirty, but why does the inside of a car windshield get so filthy too? How can you clean your window so that it sparkles? What is the best way to avoid streaking?
Don’t worry, we’ve got some handy tips and tricks for you to keep your windshield crystal clear for as long as possible.
Why Does The Inside Of Your Windshield Get So Dirty?
There are many reasons for the inside of your windshield getting dirty, amongst which are children’s roving greasy fingerprints, dog’s wet noses, smog and smoke, dirt and dust getting in from outside through the open side windows and sea salt, which is more common if you live on the coast.
However, one of the main reasons for window grime that most car owners might not be aware of is off-gassing. What is often described as that ‘new car smell’ is actually the plastic and vinyl components of your car interior breaking down and releasing gasses that become trapped as an oily residue in your windshield. Not very nice, huh?
Oily dashboard cleaners can contribute to this windshield oil, however, there are several methods you can use to remove this oily buildup and keep your windshield glimmering and hazard-free.
How To Clean The Inside Of Your Windshield
You’ll need just a few ingredients to clean your car windshield, especially if you want to avoid nasty-looking streaks of grime.
- Lint-free microfiber cloth.
- Glass cleaner.
- Rubbing alcohol.
Firstly, you’ll want to mix the glass cleaner, vinegar and rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle. There are several different ratios of liquid you can choose, here are a few combinations:
- 50% alcohol, 50% water, a small splash of white vinegar.
- 70% water, 15% glass cleaner, 15% alcohol.
You’ll want to purchase an automobiles-specific glass cleaner, avoiding ammonia-based cleaners which can damage vinyl and leather or tint your car windows permanently.
Sit in the passenger seat, as the steering wheel will obstruct your access to the inside windshield.
Then, rub down the windshield with the dry microfiber cloth. This will remove the less stubborn grime and dirt smears.
Then take a separate microfiber cloth and douse it with rubbing alcohol. Then apply this to the windshield to degrease the glass. If sea salt is an issue on your windshield, you can remove it using the vinegar.
Take another clean cloth and spray glass cleaner on it (avoid spraying it directly onto the windshield). Clean the glass thoroughly using circular hand motions.
Change the cloth once it becomes too thick with grime
Using up and down wiping motions, finish off the glass, making sure to get the grime in all four corners of your windshield. Make sure the windows are completely dry to avoid streaking later on.
Before, During And After Cleaning
Before cleaning your windshield with your solution or a store-bought glass cleaner, make sure to wipe it with a dry microfiber cloth first. This initial clean will remove a lot of the existing grime so that the cleaning fluid can easily get rid of the more stubborn stains.
During cleaning, make sure you use a cleaner especially formulated to remove greases, such as dishwashing detergent, vinegar, auto glass cleanser or magic eraser.
You can also use newspaper to dry your windshield if you don’t have any microfiber cloth available. If you leave a corrosive cleaning solution on your windshield for too long, you can damage any protective film or tints on your windshield.
How To Make Your Own DIY Windshield Cleaner
Here is an easy way to make a DIY windshield cleaner from simple ingredients that might already be lying around your house.
- Add a teaspoon of washing up detergent to a bowl of hot water.
- Add a few drops of vinegar to this mixture. An ordinary kitchen malt vinegar will work just as well as white vinegar.
- Take two microfiber cloths and soak one in your bowl of cleaning solution. Keep the other dry, as you will need it for later on in the process.
- Another handy way to apply your cleaning solution is by pouring it into a spray bottle and spraying it onto the cloth. Avoid spraying it directly onto the windshield as it will create streaks.
- Wring the excess water out of the wet cloth and wipe down the car’s interior window.
- Once it has been thoroughly cleaned of grime, dry the windshield using the dry cloth. You can also use newspaper to dry your windshield.
When cleaning the inside of your car windows, don’t forget to repeat this process for the back windshield too, as this is just as necessary for spotting cars, cyclists and other potential hazards through the rearview mirror.
Streaky Windows – How Not To Clean The Inside Of Your Windshield
As mentioned above, do not spray your cleaning solution directly onto the windshield, as this will cause further smearing and streaking that you might have to wash again to get rid of. Also, this makes the cloth less able to pick up the dirt and grime.
Make sure you complete the drying stage thoroughly. A lot of people skip this step, but residue left on your windshield can damage it, as well as causing streaks and smudges.
Avoid using a thick towel from your bathroom, as this will also cause streaking. Make sure you use materials that are lint-free, such as microfiber cloths, newspaper or paper towels.