ATD Blog

4 Tips for Streak-Free Automotive Glass

When the sun beams through your windshield on your morning commute, don’t be a victim of streaky glass!

Streaks and smudges aren’t just unsightly — they can obscure your vision and present a serious safety issue. Just like good washing techniques are important for the body of your automobile, properly cleaning your car’s windows will ensure a crystal-clear end result.

Here are a few tips from the pros on how to achieve sparkling automotive glass.

1. Choose the right cleaning products for cars.

While it may be tempting to repurpose household products for your car’s windows, differences in their formulation will cause streaking.

Unlike Windex and similar products, automotive glass cleaners don’t contain ammonia or other harsh chemicals that can damage paint and film. Instead, they are typically made with isopropyl alcohol and special surfactants that are designed to dry without leaving streaks behind.

Ditch the paper towels and shop rags — pair a quality cleaner with a lint-free microfiber cloth for best results.

2. Use good window cleaning techniques.Man cleaning car windows to make sure there are no streaks

Taking time to be a bit methodical can make all the difference in the clarity of your automotive glass.

We recommend working in three steps:

  1. Start by wiping the surface of the glass with a dry microfiber cloth to remove any pollen or dust. This ensures that you avoid scrubbing small particles of grime into your windows or making a streaky mess once you add the glass cleaner.
  2. Spray on a good quality automotive glass cleaner, and wipe the surface with a clean microfiber cloth. If you’re dealing with stubborn debris like bird droppings or bug splatter, concentrate the cleaner on that area and allow it to dissolve for a moment before applying some additional pressure where it’s needed.
  3. Finally, use a third clean, lint-free microfiber cloth to buff the surface dry. Be sure to remove any excess cleaning solution

Repeat these steps for the interior side of your windows and windshield.

3. Keep your work area small.

Tackle your cleaning project one window at a time. Applying cleaner only to the area you’re working on will keep it from running down onto your paint or interior surfaces, or from drying before it can be wiped.

Use an up-and-down motion rather than rubbing in circles, and clean glass from top to bottom for best results.

Don’t forget the very top of your side windows — roll them down a few inches to clean them so you aren’t startled by streaks while out on the road.

car window with cleaning products to help prevent streaks and protect window tint4. Protect your window tint.

Window tint has many benefits, from keeping your car’s interior nice and cool to protecting your upholstery. Drivers who invest in window tint should be especially meticulous about how they clean their automotive glass to prevent damaging the film.

Ammonia-based cleaners can erode window tint, and abrasive tools or dirty wash rags can scratch the film or lift its edges. It’s also important to be aware of your warranty terms when choosing glass cleaners. Your manufacturer may recommend particular products that are specifically formulated to extend the life of your window tint, while certain unauthorized products may void your warranty.

Get help from the pros.

Want spotless results without all the elbow grease?

The automotive detailing specialists at ATD are here to take the guesswork out of maintenance care. With detailing package options to suit any need and budget, we offer meticulous hand washing and drying for a streak-free shine that turns heads.

Share this article: