Your car windows do two things. First, they let you look outside. Second, they make your vehicle look good. If you have dirty windows, then it reflects poorly on your car, so it makes sense to keep them squeaky clean. You might not notice how dirty your car windows have become, especially if you drive daily.
But if you smoke or if there’s a lot of pollen in the air, you’ll find that the windows build up with dirtiness — and once you take the time to clean the glass, you’ll notice a substantial improvement. In this article, we’re going to go over how to clean car windows. Additionally, we’re going to go over some ways of cleaning your car windows using household items.
As an added benefit, we’re also going to go over how to clean car interiors and how to clean windshield wipers.
How to Clean Car Windows With a Cleaning Agent
If you’re cleaning your car windows in the direct sunlight, the water you use to clean is going to evaporate. Before starting, you might consider parking your car in a shaded area, like under a tree or inside a garage.
How to Clean Car Interior
Select a streak-free window cleaner like Armor-All or Windex, and get a cloth. Spray the cleaning solution directly onto the cloth, because if you spray onto the window itself, only about half of the cleaner ends up on the glass. The other half floats around the car and ends up on your seats and instruments, which doubles the amount of cleanup you have to do and might damage your interior.
You’ll also want to use a washed microfiber cloth instead of a newspaper or paper towels. Newspapers have ink on them which, when introduced into the cleaning solution, might run and stain your hands and make a mess inside the car. Paper towels tend to tear apart while you’re using them, meaning you’re going to go through a lot of them. Microfiber cloth is soft but durable, and it does a fantastic job of scrubbing away spots and stains.
As for how to clean car seats: replace the glass cleaner with laundry detergent, and use a chamois cloth instead of a microfiber cloth.
If your seats are fabric, vacuum the seats and then scrub them thoroughly, first with hot water, and then use cold water to clean off remaining dirt. Avoid letting the seats get too wet. For leather, use liquid dishwashing soap and warm water. Again, take care to keep the seats from getting too wet.
How to Clean Car Exterior
Your first step is to wash the rest of your car, either with a garden hose or car wash. Prewashing will take care of a lot of bugs and gunk, saving yourself time (and cleaning cloths).
Plus, if you wait until after you’ve cleaned the windows to clean the rest of your car, you risk getting dirt and grime on the windows you’ve just cleaned, doubling the work for yourself.
Unlike when you’re doing interiors, spraying the cleaner directly on the glass is recommended. Spraying directly on the glass makes it easier to dissolve bugs and grime, which will make the cleaning easier. This cleaner is just one example of the benefits of baking soda for cleaning just about anything.
When you’re doing either of the windshields, stick to working in sections, so your cleaning solution doesn’t evaporate prematurely. If you’re still having problems with evaporation, consider moving your car to a shadier spot, such as under a tree or in a garage. Find more recipes on our homemade window cleaner post.
Use a microfiber cloth, as you did with the interior. Microfiber cloths will do a good job of clearing away bugs and grime, and you’re less likely to cause streaking. If you’re doing the exteriors first, make sure you use a different cloth for the interiors.
>> Related: 7 Easy-to-Make DIY Car Carpet Cleaner
Finally, use a vertical-then-horizontal motion like you did with the interior, which will reduce streaking. You might find, however, that you have to wipe with greater vigor to clean up the stuck-on bugs, dirt, and road residue.
How to Clean Hard Water Spots from Car Windows
The leftover mineral deposits after the water have evaporated can cause stains on your window.
Since these stains are alkaline in nature, an acidic solution gets rid of them. Use household items to get rid of hard spots on your car window.
How to Use Vinegar Solution to Get Rid of Hard Water Spots on Car Windows
There are a couple of different measurements you’ll want to use while using vinegar, depending on how often you clean your windows and how long it’s been since you last cleaned them.
If you’re using vinegar for the first time, or if it’s been a while since the last time you cleaned your windows, you’ll want to use a stronger solution. Mix water, vinegar, and dishwashing detergent. Mix in a spray bottle, shake well and apply according to the instructions provided above.
On the other hand, if you clean your windows regularly, you can back off on the ingredients a bit. Just mix a cup of vinegar with a cup of water. Additionally, this is a handy solution to have on-hand for general cleaning purposes.
Lemon Juice Based Car Window Cleaner
If you want to add an extra kick to your vinegar solution, use lemons.
Start by collecting the things you’ll need. You have a choice regarding the lemons. You can use bottled lemon juice from the supermarket, or you can use real lemons. There’s an additional benefit to the latter option — if you use real lemons, you can keep the peels and stick them in your garbage disposal for extra freshness.
New spray bottles are available for purchase at most major retailers, or you can repurpose an old spray bottle. If you choose the latter option, try to use a bottle that held glass cleaner previously. The mixture won’t necessarily increase the potency of your vinegar-and-lemon solution, but if you put it in a container that held a different chemical previously (such as furniture polish), you risk diminishing the power of your solution.
Now, mix the solution and add hot (not boiling) water and shake well. Once the mixture is blended, apply to your windows according to the instructions above.
Baking Soda Cleaner for Car Windows
If your windows are especially dirty, the best natural glass cleaner is baking soda. Baking soda works as a sort of sandpaper on your windows, brushing away dirt and grime without scratching the glass. Follow it up with a vinegar-and-water solution, and you have a robust two-step cleaning method.
Start by wetting a microfiber cloth and sprinkling baking soda on it. Wipe down the window with the baking soda to cut through the grit and grime. Follow this up by wiping down the windshield with a clean cloth. Consider keeping a bucket of warm water nearby to make your life easier.
Follow this up by cleaning with a vinegar-water (or vinegar-water-lemon) solution and apply according to the above directions. Wipe down with a clean, dry cloth.
>> Make your own car windows cleaner: 5 homemade glass cleaner recipes for you.
Non-gel toothpaste works similarly to baking soda. Non-gel toothpaste has ingredients that make it gritty and abrasive, which is intended to help clean plaque and buildup from your teeth. The grittiness in toothpaste is useful on windows, too.
To use toothpaste, squirt a small amount onto a clean microfiber cloth and wipe down the windows.
Aftercare of Your Car Windows
After using any of these techniques, buff your window using a chamois cloth or (clean) chalkboard eraser, which helps your windows shine, and will reduce streaking.
How to Clean Windshield Wipers
A dirty windshield obstructs your vision driving and looks unpleasant. Keep your car windshield clean and neat by following a simple procedure. You’ll need glass cleaner and a microfiber towel.
Pick an ammonia-free glass cleaner for your windshield. Plain water with a microfiber towel is another good combination.
The windshield should be the last part to clean, to avoid re-staining it with dirt.
Lift your wipers up before you begin cleaning. Spray little quantity of the glass cleaner on one side of the windshield. Using the microfiber cloth, wipe the glass vertically then horizontally. Once finished, repeat the process on the other side. Finish the cleaning process by buffing the windshield with the microfiber cloth.
How to Clean a Car Windshield Wiper
Windshield wipers are just as important as any other part of the car. Clean them often by mixing dish soap and warm water, dipping a clean rag into the solution, and using it to wipe the blades. Clean the joints of the wipers gently without applying too much pressure. Wipe down the blades and leave the wipers to air dry after cleaning.
Mix one tablespoon of dish soap and half a gallon of warm water. Dip in a clean rag into the solution and use it to wipe the blades. Clean the joints of the wipers gently without applying too much pressure. Wipe down the blades and leave the wipers to air dry after cleaning.
How to Clean Tinted Car Windows
Due to the kind of material used in making tinted windows, use a gentler glass cleaner for cleaning.
As with all car windows, this should be the last thing you clean. Spray some few drops of cleaner on your window and use a microfiber cloth to wipe. Clean both sides of the windows. Use another piece of microfiber cloth to dry the window.
Your car is essential. It helps you get to work and pick up the kids from school. You want to take care of your vehicle so that it will take care of you, and that means you want to pay attention to the windows.
In this article, you learned how to clean car windows. You also learned how to clean windshield wipers and the best way to clean car interiors and exteriors.
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