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cleaning car window

March 23, 2022

Cleaning the outside of the car window

A bucket of water with car shampoo, a sponge and a chamois is no longer sufficient for the windows. The next step is to wipe the window again with a car window cleaner and a microfibre cloth, to thoroughly degrease your window. Don’t forget to raise your windshield wipers, because the most dirt collects at the bottom of the windshield. Always use a clean part of your cloth, or always a clean cloth, to wipe your windows.

Professionals remove the most stubborn dirt with special ‘detailing’ clay in combination with a spray. Keep rubbing the clay until the pane is smooth – if the clay squeaks or is difficult to rub on the pane, your pane is just not clean yet. After this treatment, polish the window again with glass cleaner and a clean microfibre cloth.

Ultimately, you can provide your window with a coating for a water-repellent effect. Apply the coating in an even layer and allow it to dry for a few minutes. Then polish the glass with a clean microfibre cloth. For optimal results, keep the window dry for the first twelve hours.

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Cleaning the inside of the car window

It is just as important to keep the inside as the outside of the window clean. The inside gets really dirty too. Smoking in the car (who still does that?) gives you an attack. And if it’s damp and your windows are fogging up, your passengers tend to wipe away condensation by hand or a (used) handkerchief. And your children will not be left unattended with their sticky fingers along the way.

There are special glass cleaners for cleaning the inside of the windows, which you can also polish with a microfibre cloth. Be smart and clean your dashboard and door trim first, because if you go over the dashboard or trim with the microfiber cloth, you transfer dirt from it to the window.

Oh yes, first open your side windows a bit and work from top to bottom, so that you can also clean the top edge. Only close them when they are completely dry.

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Cleaning oily car windows

Streaks on your windows are annoying, but grease is even worse. There are so-called grease-free wipes on the market that you can use to clean your windows. But soapy water with cleaning agent – better still spirits – is cheaper. But be careful: do not use (products with) ammonia in your car. Ammonia is bad for tinted windows and the vapor is dangerous. Ammonia can also react with plastics and other interior trim.

Brave car owners degrease their windows with a peeled onion – it not only degreases, it also seems to disinfect.

Cleaning car windows with vinegar

You can also clean your car windows with a dash of (cleaning) vinegar in a bucket of lukewarm water. Vinegar also keeps your windows from fogging up. White natural vinegar has a degreasing and descaling effect, but vinegar is not good for the window rubbers – it is acidic after all. Anyway, vinegar is a very cheap cleaning agent. Cleaning vinegar is also available in spray bottles, which makes the job child’s play.

You can even de-ice your windows with vinegar, using a mixture of 2/3 part vinegar and 1/3 part water in a plant sprayer.

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Cleaning car windows with shaving cream

Excuse me? Shaving cream is only meant for stubble?! Yes, but if you rub your windows with shaving cream and let it ‘reinforce’ for a while before you wipe them clean with a cloth, you will be less bothered by fogged windows.

Cleaning the car window with spirits

Spirit is traditionally known as a powerful cleaning agent. But just like ammonia, methylated spirits are also bad for the window rubbers.

Car window cleaning tips

A few more practical tips. The windows are the last to be cleaned when you clean your car. And preferably do this in the shade, because the heat from the sun makes your soapy water or glass cleaner on the window evaporate too quickly, so that you get streaks and spots. Speaking of stripes: wipe with long strokes, because with intense scrubbing you mainly move the dirt.

Use warm water for washing, as this makes it easier to remove the dirt. If you feel the need to wash your windows at temperatures below zero, use lukewarm water. Hot water can cause the glass to crack or jump due to the temperature difference. Don’t forget to also clean your windshield wipers and put them back on the windshield.

Finally, don’t let your cleaned windows ‘air dry’. Pad them and polish them with a microfibre cloth. If you let your windows dry, you can count on stains, deposits and an annoying haze on your glass.

On the internet you will find countless tips and resources for cleaning your car. You can use the subheadings of this article as search terms.

Also read: Fogged windows in the car: the 5 best tips against condensation on your car window