Your car’s windshield is one of those parts of your car that you don’t even really notice. That is, however, until it is filthy and needs to be cleaned. When your windshield is dirty, it can not only provide a serious annoyance, it can cause a bit of a hazard as it can make it more difficult for you to see out of.
Not only that, it can sometimes be difficult to know whether it is the interior or exterior of the windshield that is truly dirty. That is why having effective cleaning techniques can go a long way toward not only keeping your windshield cleaner, but making certain that you can see everything that you need to see out of it.
Cleaning the Outside of the Windshield
This is a relatively straightforward process, but one that not nearly enough people do beforehand. You might think that simply running the windshield fluid and letting the wipers whisk it away is enough to keep your windshield clean, but that is not the case.
Before doing anything, make sure that the area beneath the windshield wipers gets cleaned as well. You want to leave the wipers themselves in the “up” position so that you can clean the glass without any kind of interference.
To get started, spray half of the windshield with a glass cleaner. It doesn’t matter which side you start on, either. You want to make sure that when you spray, you cover the broadest possible area of the windshield where you tend to wipe first; two or three squires of the cleaner is usually enough to get the job done.
Using a microfiber rag, wipe the glass clean using straight, vertical wipes. Start at the upper centre of the windshield and work your way down, starting back at the top as you move towards the exterior of the side that you are beginning on. If you are smaller, consider using a step stool so that you don’t have to lean on the hood or the glass.
After you have done this initial wipe down, then begin the same process, only horizontally this time. Begin in the top centre of the windshield, working outward with each wipe. Continue this until you have covered the entirety of the side of the windshield. Naturally, you will want to repeat this process on the opposite side of the windshield to ensure that the entire area has been cleaned.
Lastly, you want to buff the windshield. The initial wipe down is meant to get rid of all the excess grime and glass cleaner, and this buffing is meant to get rid of any marks that you may have made with your hand. With a new, clean microfiber cloth, begin wiping the area with tight circular motions until you have covered the entire surface of the windshield. When you are done, the windshield should sparkle as if it is fresh off the shop floor.
Cleaning the Interior of the Windshield
The concept is very much the same here, though you will want to lay down some clothes on the dashboard to prevent drippage. The first step is to spray glass cleaner onto your rag and then start in the upper corner of the side that you begin on, working your way towards the middle.
When you are done with one side, move to the next. Make sure that you reapply glass cleaner to your microfiber cloth. When you have finished wiping down the glass cleaner, use a dry microfiber cloth to go over the surface of the windshield to ensure that you have not left any cleaning liquid on the glass.
The techniques are very much the same as when you cleaned the outside of the glass; use tight circular motions to ensure that you are cleaning the area entirely without missing any part of the glass. The end result should be that your windshield looks good as new.
Use Detailing Clay
The first step here is to purchase the detailing clay. Also known as glass cleaning clay, it is an elastic compound that can capture any grime or grit that is lodged onto the windshield itself. Even if there isn’t any noticeable or visible grime, there is still particle material all over the windshield, and the clay will help remove that particle material.
The first step is to spray the windshield with water (known as an automotive lubricant) because this will help the clay glide across the surface of the windshield with relative ease. How much water you need for the job will ultimately depend on the size of your vehicle.
Gripping the detailing clay as you would a bar of soap, use your middle and index fingers on top of the clay and your thumb and remaining fingers on the opposite side. You then move the clay through the water or lubricant that you previously sprayed on the windshield. The clay will move smoothly back and forth across the wet glass.
Starting at the centre bottom of the windshield, place the clay on the windshield itself. Move the clay all the way across the windshield towards the top. When you have completed one line, move back down towards the hood, and work your way back up. You should do this moving in straight vertical lines until you have completely covered the windshield from top to bottom.
It is important to note that if you notice a buildup of grit or grime on the clay, you need to clean it off as soon as you can. When there is a buildup of these things, they can act as an abrasive if you continue working it along the windshield, and eventually they can cause scratches.
When you have finished getting all the grime and dirt off the windshield, the last step is to use a microfiber towel to remove any excess clay and dirt that might still be attached. You can do this using broad, circular motions to ensure that you cover the entirety of the windshield as accurately as possible.
Last Updated On: December 13, 2019.