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  • Writer's pictureDave

Cleaning Automotive Glass

One of the most common heard complaints is "no matter what I do I can't get my windows clean without leaving streaks". It can be one of the most aggravating aspects of car detailing. The following tips will help you get that sparkling clean glass.

What causes that film?

Even people that do not smoke get it. That film on the inside of your windshield that is so difficult to get rid of. There is cause for that film that many do not know about. When your car is out in the sun, the sun heats up the interior to 130-145F or so. This heat creates off-gassing of the plastic dashboard and all other components. The plastic molecules get into the air and then settle on the glass surfaces causing that hazy looking film.

Glass Cleaning Tips:

1. Clean your windows in the shade. The sun heats up the glass which dries the cleaning solution before you can remove it, leaving behind streaks and marks.

2. Use a glass specific microfiber towel. Microfiber is soft to the touch but has excellent properties to scrub away any dirt while absorbing the glass cleaner. It is better than newspaper which leaves ink residue all over your hands and car interior, and better than paper towels that shred easily, meaning you use more of them. To avoid cross contamination of products (that may leave a residue on the glass) dedicate towel(s) that you only use for glass cleaning.

3. Spray onto the towel as opposed to directly onto the glass. Use an up and down vertical then horizontal cleaning action as opposed to a circular motion. This will leave fewer streaks. The best method is to use 2 towels. Use one for the actual cleaning (the wet towel) and one dry towel for buffing any residue from the glass after your cleaner dries. Barring having 2 towels available try to keep one wet side and one dry side. Griot's actually has a very high quality glass towel that is dual sided (one fluffy side for the cleaner & a smoother pile side for the buffing stage).

4. Avoid using ammonia based glass cleaners. Not only are the chemicals in these cleaners harsh you can actually damage your car interior if you inadvertently spray onto your dash or trim. When ammonia comes in contact with the vinyl around your windows or spills onto leather seats, it can cause the material to break down or crack. Definitely never use an ammonia based product on tinted windows. The ammonia can cause permanent damage to the tint.

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It looks so easy to clean the windshield glass but sometimes if cleaning has not been done cautiously can lead to make cracks on the glass. This has happened to me two times in a row and both times a local rv glass repair expert has helped fixing those cracks.

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