Ask an Expert: The Correct Way to Clean a Windscreen

3 Apr 2018

| 11:43 am

At Autoglass we serve over 50,000 customers a year, but by far the most common question our customers ask is: “what’s the correct way to clean a windscreen?” With this in mind, we decided to ask our Senior Technician Trainer Michael Dunne for some tips and advice. Michael is Autoglass Ireland’s longest serving employee, with over 35 years experience in the field of vehicle glass repair and replacement. This undoubtedly makes him one of the most qualified men in the country on the subject of caring for your windscreen.

Michael was kind enough to sit down with us and walk us through the correct way to clean a windscreen, step by step:

Exterior

What you’ll need:

  • An alcohol based Glass cleaner (ammonia based glass cleaners can cause discolouration if your windscreen has a tint).
  • 2 good quality, clean, lint free, micro fibre cloths/towels.

*You should also consider wearing rubber gloves and eye protection.

Steps:

  1. Carefully lift up both windscreen wipers and point them away from the glass.
  2. Spray one half of the windscreen with glass cleaner, making sure the entire surface is coated.
  3. Take one of your cloths and wipe the windscreen with smooth, straight vertical wipes.
  4. Next, wipe the same area of glass with smooth and straight horizontal wipes – this method ensures that no areas on the windscreen, are missed.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 on the other half of your windscreen, using the clean side of the cloth.
  6. With the windscreen wipers still pointing outwards, spray the glass cleaner onto the blades. Take the cloth, pinch both sides of the blade and wipe downwards. This technique will help to ensure any dirt and grime that has accumulated in the grooves of the rubber, is captured.
  7. Using the second cloth buff the entire windscreen dry using small circular motions (avoid allowing your hands to come in contact with the glass, as this can cause smearing).

Top Tip: Don’t forget to wipe the edges of the windscreen and trim, as any overspray in these areas will show up when dry.

Interior

Cleaning the inside of the windscreen requires a slightly different approach. Off gases from vinyl or plastic dashboards can cause a film of grease and other contaminants to coat the glass.

What you’ll need:

  • Rubbing Alcohol (this helps to remove grease and contaminants).
  • An alcohol based glass cleaner (ammonia based glass cleaners can cause damage to upholstery and leather).
  • 3 good quality, clean, lint free, micro fibre cloths/towels.

*You should also consider wearing rubber gloves and eye protection.

Steps:

  1. Take one of your cloths and beginning at the bottom where the dash and glass meet, wipe in a circular motion to attack the dirt from every angle.
  2. Next, flip the cloth over to a clean side and wipe using up and down motions – try to avoid letting the cloth come in contact with the dash, as this can transfer any grease and contaminants from the dash onto the windscreen.
  3. Apply the rubbing alcohol to a fresh cloth and clean in a circular motion – avoid letting the rubbing alcohol drip on the dash as this can cause staining. If this does happen, clean the area immediately using paper towel.
  4. Next, take another fresh cloth and spray the glass cleaner directly onto the cloth – if you spray it onto the windscreen you risk overspray on the dash which will cause staining.
  5. Start on one half of the windscreen using the same vertical and horizontal wiping method you used on the exterior. Repeat this process on the other half of the windscreen.

Going the extra mile

Michael also shared some tips for achieving that professional, showroom shine on the exterior. Follow these steps only after you’ve completed the above exterior steps.

What you’ll need:

  • Clay bar (removes and remaining residue and contaminants).
  • A spray bottle with lukewarm water.
  • Glass cleaner (alcohol based).
  • Rainx (coats the windscreen with a film that helps to repel rain water, prevent the formation of ice and stop other contaminants adhering to the glass).
  • 1 foam applicator.
  • 3 good quality, clean, lint free, micro fibre cloths/towels.

*You should also consider wearing rubber gloves and eye protection.

Steps:

  1. Spray the windscreen with the lukewarm water.
  2. Using the clay bar wipe the glass, first in a circular motion and then in an up and down motion.
  3. Apply a coating of glass cleaner to one half of the windscreen. Take one of the cloths and use the same vertical and horizontal wiping method outlined earlier. Repeat this process on the other half of the windscreen.
  4. Allowing the windscreen sufficient time to dry, apply rainx with the foam applicator using rapid, small circular, overlapping motions. Continue this process until a haze appears on the screen. Take another clean cloth and buff the haze until it vanishes.
  5. Using the last remaining cloth, repeat step 3

Homemade glass cleaner

Michael’s boundless knowledge also includes a recipe for a DIY glass cleaner – the great thing is it’s also kind to the environment!

Steps:

  1. Take one clean spray bottle.
  2. Fill the bottle with 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water.
  3. Shake the bottle until the solution is thoroughly mixed

The Correct Way to Clean a Windscreen Article Image

There you have it, folks! The expert’s guide to keeping your windscreen spic and span. A big thanks to the esteemed Mr. Michael Dunne for taking the time to share his years of experience. Check back again with the Autoglass Blog for more hints, tips, explainers and guides like this one.

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