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Best Way to Clean & Maintain Windshields

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Maintaining Your Windshield – Good Habits for a Happy Windshield

1. Clean the Glass Regularly

Whenever your car is detailed, whether you do it yourself or have it done professionally, be sure all the glass is cleaned once the rest of the work is done.

Road dirt, bug guts and weather can take a toll on your windshield’s visibility. Though it may look clean, you may notice spots or a film build up that makes it more difficult to see when driving, particularly in direct sunlight. Also, clean the inside of the glass as well. Putting down a towel to protect your dashboard will catch any excess spray.

How to Clean Your Windshield Operations Manager, Daniel Snow demonstrates how to properly clean your car’s windshield

What (Not) to Use to Clean Your Windshield

Those weird tricks like soda and shaving cream probably don’t work to clean your windshield. And one thing you should definitely stay away from are ammonia-based products. This means most household glass cleaners. Ammonia, including its fumes, can cause damage to plastic, rubber, vinyl and leather. It can also damage the tint on your auto glass. So what is the best way to clean a windshield?

Quality Cleaners

Your best bet for a clean windshield is to stick with auto glass cleaners and a good microfiber towel. When you’re cleaning the glass, interior or exterior, be sure to use one side of the towel for the actual cleaning and the other side to buff out the glass to clear it of any residue.

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Leave the Glass for Last

If you’re washing, waxing or detailing your entire car, save the glass for last. This will prevent the glass from catching any residue caused by cleaning the car. Also, do the work out of direct sunlight, if possible. Direct sunlight causes cleaners to evaporate quickly, and this can leave streaks or marks. Pay close attention to the edges of the glass, especially the top edge, and those hard-to-reach places. If you can’t get your hand and cleaning cloth into those areas, check out your local auto parts store for a hand tool specifically designed for glass cleaning.

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Not Just the Windshield

Also, don’t forget about the wipers. Part of keeping a clean windshield is doing the proper maintenance of them, so as to keep the rubber from drying out or cracking. You can use glass cleaner for this purpose as well to clean the blade. And be sure to check them often to make sure they work properly and hug the glass. If they seem dried out or otherwise worn, replace them as soon as you are able.


Maintaining your windshield takes only a little time and the payoff is big. It helps you to see better through your glass and reduces the chance of your windshield wipers causing a ding or a scrape, or even a rock from striking your glass on the highway.

2. Replace Your Windshield Wipers

If the windshield wipers are beyond the point of just needing a good cleaning, it might be time to replace them. Windshield wipers get a surprisingly good workout through the seasons. They help clear your windshield of rain, snow and the inevitable bug splat. In turn, you need a keep an eye on them and make sure they are replaced when their effectiveness wears out.

Maintaining your windshield should include replacing wipers every six months to a year, depending on use and the weather. Worn out windshield wipers don’t just leave streaks when cleaning off the weather, but they also have the potential to scratch the glass.

If the rubber wears down enough, the metal arms that holds the rubber could come in contact with the glass. If you ever start to hear a scraping or scratching noise, it’s time to take your vehicle to the closest auto shop for a wiper replacement.

Auto glass repair and replacement companies often have popular wipers on hand. They may offer to replace them when they replace or repair the glass.

You can also go to a do-it-yourself vehicle shop or even big box retailers and purchase your windshield wipers. Employees at most glass shops and places like Advanced Auto Parts are happy to help you pull off your older wipers and put on the new ones.

A quick, 15-minute purchase could help prolong the life of your glass and prevent any scratches from old worn-out wipers.

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3. Keep Your Distance

A windshield chip is bound to happen if you regularly drive on highways. However, there are things you can do to help lessen the chance.

When traveling at high speeds on the highway, be sure to keep your distance from the vehicle in front of you. This is especially true when that vehicle is a large truck.

The car in front of you will likely kick up kick up stones or lose particles on the road. These are infamous for flying back and dinging your windshield. However, if you keep your distance, the chances this flying stone will land on your windshield lessens.

4. If a Chip Happens

Your windshield will likely get a chip at some point. Though you make take preventative measures, and regularly clean your windshield and replace your wipers, it is bound to occur at some point. When this happens, your best bet is to get the windshield repaired as soon as possible. By repairing it sooner than later, you can prevent that chip from spreading and requiring you to replace your glass.

Please note, this article may contain links to Amazon products. As an Amazon Associate, earns from qualifying purchases.



Phillip Thompson

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7 Responses

  1. nice blog. Very interesting. Best tips for the different kinds of people owing a good cleaner for themselves. short and sweet instructions to follow and get a brand new look.

  2. Thank you for sharing such a useful article. I agree that windshield wipers plays crucial role and needs regular maintenance like other components of the vehicle. Faulty wipers unable to provide better visibility through the windshield. So, inspection should be conducted to evaluate the condition of the wipers and replacement of damaged or older wipers is really essential to get better visibility. Apart from this, windshield needs to be inspected at a regular interval and replacement of damaged windshield is also essential.

  3. It never would’ve occurred to me that cleaning the glass last when you detail your car would prevent any residue to obscure your vision. I recently got my daughter a new car for her birthday, and I have been trying to come up with ways to keep her car new for as long as possible. I will be sure to train her to wash her windows last whenever she cleans her car!

  4. How do you clean a glass after it is sitting under a tree in 115 degree weather for 10 days while we are on vacation? It has a strange fog on it ?

  5. I really appreciate your tip to make sure that your windshield wipers are hugging the glass on your windshield. My wife and I have been thinking of getting a new car for our son who is going to college, and he is going to a university that gets a lot of rain. I will be sure to check that the wipers hug the glass before we buy it for him!

  6. I love your tip about being proactive on repairs in order to save money and drive safely. My windshield has a small chip in it from a rock and needs to be repaired. I will keep these tips in mind when looking for a professional to fix it.

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