DETAILING MY CAR > Perfect Window Cleaning for your Car

Perfect Window Cleaning for your Car

Car Window Cleaning Tips from a True Car Fanatic

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Ever have to pull over and clean the inside of your windows because the sheer amount of gunk made it impossible to see when the sun hit the glass? I haven’t, because I’m a car fanatic who had detail shop for 25 years. I can’t even sneeze in the car and not clean the windows.

It may be sad, but perfectly clean and spotless windows are one of my favorite things related to a good auto detail job – or in just enjoying my car. No one likes to clean glass, but when it is done right the whole world looks brighter. And, I live in dark gray Seattle, so it’s very important. Over the years I have developed a great process for getting those smudged and streaky car windows clean. I will share my step by step procedure so you can see clearly day and night.

To start the process of perfect window cleaning you need to gather some car window cleaning products:

  • Towels. Some folks love paper towels, and they work fine. I prefer terry cloth cotton towels when I am cleaning windows because they leave less streaks and dust.
  • Glass cleaner. Use your favorite brand here but avoid brands that contain ammonia – it leaves streaks and some folks claim it can harm window tinting film.
  • Clean water in a spray bottle for the final wipe down.

How It’s Done – Car Window Cleaning Tips

  1. I always clean one window at a time when I am tackling this job. The first thing to do is to evenly spray down the dirty window with a coat of your glass cleaner. Allow the glass cleaner to soak on the glass for a minute or two.
  2. Now, take a clean terry cloth towel and wet it with some of your glass cleaner. Use this towel to wipe the cleaner into the glass. You are not trying to dry the window with this step – you are working the cleaner into the film and loosening the dirt coating the window.
  3. The next step in my process of pure window perfection is to re-wet the glass using your clean water in the spray bottle. Mist down the glass very generously with the water.
  4. Now take another clean towel and start wiping the glass dry using some good hand pressure. You want to get the glass about 75% dry with this step.
  5. For the final wipe grab yet another clean towel. At this point you want to start wiping the glass in overlapping side-to-side strokes. This insures that any marks you leave on the window will be horizontal and parallel. What’s more, doing it this way doesn’t leave marks to catch the eye.
  6. Repeat this process on all of the windows inside and out.

Those Dirty Disgusting Smoker’s Windows

No discussion on window cleaning can ignore the subject of cars that have been smoked in. These window cleaning jobs are the hardest ones. To get the tough layers of nicotine off the glass you need to repeat the step where you allow the glass cleaner to soak on the window and wipe it off with glass cleaner soaked towel.

You will need to use a few more towels in these cases – you don’t want to use nicotine soaked towels on the windows a second time. Don’t be surprised if you need to re-clean the windows a second time to create crystal clear glass. Smoke residue takes elbow grease to get it all off.

Stop Complaining and Clean the Windows Already

I know that it’s a lot easier to just spray some cleaner on the glass and dry it off with a paper towel. This might satisfy some folks but it’s just not the way to craft perfectly clean windows. Done right, it’s hard to even tell there is any glass there at all. Back at my auto detailing shop my crew always belly ached about my method. Well, my name was on the sign so we were going to do it my way.

Now you know the steps to perfect window cleaning. Let your glass cleaner soak into the dirty film on the glass. Wipe it partially dry with a clean towel. Now re- wet the glass with clean water and wipe down the glass again. Next, do the final drying/wiping step with a clean dry towel using overlapping side to side hand strokes. I know this is a lot of work but for the car fanatic – or total neat nut, this is the only way to go. So grab your stuff and head out to the garage. Your dirty windows are calling.

For you “paper towel and windex” people who actually try my method, please let me know in the comments if I am a nut or if you found it worth the time.



One comment on “Perfect Window Cleaning for your Car

  1. I prefer to use squeegees instead of towels to get the windows clean. I feel like they leave fewer streaks, although they can be hard to use inside the car because of how many windows curve. However, I do agree that it is not necessary to use ammonia cleaners for windows. It is bad for tinting, and soapy water works just as well as long as you dry or squeegee it all off.

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