Clean Automotive Glass Without Scratching It.

Clean Automotive Glass Without Scratching It.

When detailing a car, there’s one aspect that often gets overlooked: the glass. And while the glass in your home windows might look the same as the clear stuff in your car, that’s where the similarities end. Commercial glass differs from application to application, and there are even different materials in use in cars’ windshields and side windows.

Cleaning automotive glass without damaging it requires the right materials and techniques. Overlook either of these two things, and you’re likely to either damage the windows or waste your time. Make sure you clean them correctly by following these steps. 

First things first, have the right tools

Obviously, you wouldn’t use household glass cleaner on auto glass. Always use an ammonia-free and alcohol-free cleaner for auto glass. Using ammonia in a car’s interior can dehydrate the materials and cause cracks and discoloration.

To apply and buff off your cleaners, always use a microfiber towel, just like you would for detailing the rest of the vehicle. Never use paper towels, which will contribute to scratches in the surface of your glass. The softer material and electrostatic charge microfiber towels create will help remove particulates from glass, rather than just spreading them around. If you need to remove particularly gummy residues, you can use mineral spirits or grease remover.

Use the proper technique

How you apply and buff off your window cleaner is every bit as important as the cleaner you use if you want to ensure a quality finish. Consider your working environment. It is best not to clean glass in high heat because cleaning products can evaporate and leave residue.

Use separate towels to apply and remove cleaning products, and quarter your towels to help apply pressure when removing dirt. Use a straight up-and-down motion, rather than buffing in circles, when you remove cleaning products. If your towels get dirty, have extras available to swap in.

How you move around the car is important, too. Begin with the windows on the driver and passenger side doors, rolling the windows down at first to get the glass that is hidden when windows are completely rolled up. Roll the windows back up and finish cleaning the window.

Continue to move around the outside of the car, cleaning the windshield and any side glass. Don’t forget to clean those side mirrors, either. Move inside the car once you complete the exterior glass. This is where things can get tricky because interior glass tends to be more difficult to see dirt on. If you are perspiring from washing the car, or it is warm where you are working, try to cool down the window interiors to prevent residue from other cleaning products.

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