Everyone loves a car with clean, sparkling windows, but nobody likes cleaning them except for the window cleaner, right? Possibly…
Obtaining clean, streak-free windows is one of the top questions we hear at our shop every detailing season.
Cleaning glass is by no means anymore exciting to me than anyone else, so I cut to the chase quickly by having a system and a nice window cleaning kit of supplies.
Three elements are needed for clean, streak-free glass.
1) Microfiber waffle weave glass cleaning towels
These should be dedicated to only glass cleaning and washed separately by themselves. This avoids oily transfer contamination that happens during the washing process. Also, include one unwaxed barbershop or soft cotton towel for the final buff.
2) A High-Quality Glass Cleaning Product
Good product makes a difference, but if your windows have a gas film or visible residue, it is recommended to pre-wipe all the glass.
At our shop, we will pre-clean with a hot steamed towel and mist some glass cleaner onto the towel, wipe, and then wipe dry.
A mixture of vinegar and ammonia is the old-school method. It will certainly do the job for clean streak-free windows, but it’s not common today. There are safer products that will get the job done while being ammonia-free. Ammonia-based products are real health hazards and are best avoided whenever possible.
There are a garden variety of products to get the job done effectively. What makes one product more favorable over another is the lubricant allowing for easy hand movement gliding with deep cleaning action. This allows for quick evaporation to eliminate streaks.
3) The Cleaning Process
Spray your product onto the towel.
For cleaning windshields and rear windows, I use my right hand for the driver’s side and my left hand for the passenger side. This allows me to turn my hand over and make direct flush contact with the glass, overlapping with each pass. I also find it easier to work from the bottom up.
Next, follow with the cotton towel with light pressure for final buffing.
Side Windows: box out the perimeter, fill in the middle with overlapping strokes—and then a final buff with a cotton towel.
The More You Know: Ceramic Glass Coating
Many paint enhancement spray sealants can also polish and protect glass, helping you keep windows clean; however, they are short-lived for extended road trips and frequent daily commuting.
Ceramic coating for exterior glass has numerous advantages:
- Keeps exterior glass cleaner for longer
- Improves visibility by reducing glare
- Creates hydrophobicity allowing dirt to flow away with water
- Allows for bug matter to be easily wiped away
The process for applying ceramic glass coating is similar to the ceramic processes for paint. Our process is as follows:
- Machine glass polishing
- Chemical Cleaning
- Apply Ceramic Coating
- Machine Polish
- Hand Buff with Cotton towel
While we would all agree that glass cleaning and maintenance is not very exciting, we would also agree that clean, maintained glass not only offers a level of beauty but also safety to our daily driving needs.