How To Properly Clean The Inside Of Your Windshield
[…and why traditional cleaning methods and products don’t work]
That annoying haze on the inside of your windshield...
It makes driving at night a lot harder, and it doesn’t seem to go away even if you turn the ventilation up to high.
And if you’ve ever tried to clean it with traditional glass cleaning products and methods, you’ve only managed to frustrate yourself, as everything ended up as a streaky mess.
In this article, I’ll show you step-by-step how to properly clean the inside of your windshield, and what are my preferred tools and products for a streak-free result.
Let’s dive right in.
Why does the windshield seem to get dirtier than other windows in the car?
Are you familiar with the “New Car Smell”?
The one we’re all enjoying so much, and wish we still had even when the car is not new anymore?
Here’s the truth about it...
Turns out, this smell is far from good for your health.
What really happens is, because of a natural process of curing and oxidation, the plastic components inside your car release oil fumes – a process known as “out-gassing”.
These oil fumes linger inside your car, creating a toxic “chemical bath”. Which means you’re breathing in the poisoning vapours every time you’re in the car.
The vapours also deposit as a film on every surface, including the glass.
And because the windshield sits right on top of the dashboard at an angle, it gets the most of it.
And this doesn’t just happen for new cars.
This out-gassing continues for years, long after the car is not new anymore.
On top of this, the air brought inside the car through the ventilation system contains exhaust residue from other vehicles and pollutants from the environment.
All these factors combined result in an oil-based film deposited on the inside of your windshield (and, to a lesser extent, on all the other windows in your car).
This film is incredibly strong, and actually bonds to the glass to the point where traditional cleaning methods and products are completely ineffective against it.
All they do is move the film around, creating streaks and making it even more difficult to see through.
So, what tools and products do you need to properly clean the inside of your windshield?
Tools and products for cleaning the inside of the windshield
Below you’ll find a list of my preferred tools and products, which I personally use every day in my car cleaning business:
Magic Eraser sponge (doesn’t have to be the brand name, any generic melamine foam sponge will work)
All-purpose cleaning solution (in a spray bottle)
Isopropyl Alcohol (or “rubbing” alcohol, mixed 50/50 with water in a spray bottle)
Microfiber cloth (you’ll need at least a couple of them, and they work best when folded into fourths for better absorption)
Glass cleaning solution (I have found Invisible Glass to work best)
These are all the products and tools I use for cleaning the inside of a windshield.
Now, how do you go about cleaning it exactly?
Here it is…
How to clean the inside of your windshield step-by-step
Spray the all-purpose cleaning solution or the alcohol/water mixture onto the Magic Eraser sponge.
Saturate at first, and squeeze it lightly to remove the excess liquid so it wouldn’t drip on the dashboard.
Scrub one half of the windshield with side-to-side and up-down motions. Apply firm pressure onto the sponge and make sure you get into all the corners and tight spots.
Flip the sponge and do a second pass. (The film is very stubborn and you may have to do multiple passes to completely break it up.)
Spray one side of a folded microfiber cloth with the alcohol/water mixture. Use enough liquid to make the cloth damp, but not soaked or dripping wet.
Wipe the windshield with the cloth. This will pick up the oily residue broken up during the previous scrubbing step.
Flip the towel and do a second pass to make sure you collected the entire film residue.
Take a clean microfiber cloth and spray the glass cleaning product on one side.
Wipe the windshield to remove any streaks that may have been left behind by the previous step.
Flip the towel to the dry side and buff off the glass.
That’s it, you’re all done!
If you did the prepping step (step 1) thoroughly, you should now have a streak-free windshield.
At least for the next 10 minutes, until it starts getting dirty again... Because such is life.
Do you have a non-conventional method for cleaning the inside of your windshield? Share in the comments below.