What is a Car Window Cleaner?

A window cleaner for car is used to remove dust, dirt, streaks, and stains from windshields without damaging the surface of the glass. It contains chemicals that help to get rid even of stubborn spots and protect windows because water isn’t enough to remove tough grime and dirt.
Since spots on windows can be of different origin, you may need more than one window cleaner to wash car: for exterior and interior, for water spots, removal of hard dirt residues, and so on. The ammonia-based solution can also be used to clean vinyl, rubber, plastic, and leather, but isn’t supposed to be used in the salon.
The choice of car window cleaner should also depend on the type of glass.

Usual Hardened Glass

This is usual glass that’s used in lateral and back windows. It can be cleaned by any type of car cleaner.

Triplex (3-layer glass)

This type of glass is used on the vast majority of cars for the front window. It consists of three layers: glass and the thick film in the middle. Such glass doesn’t blow into pieces after being hit but rather cracks (the shards are kept on the place). It can also be cleaned with any product.

Tinted glass

This glass is covered by a thin dark film that prevents seeing passengers and what’s inside the car. It also protects the driver and passengers against sunlight. The film can degrade at the contact with some cleaning agents, that’s why special cleaning sprays with natural contents should be used for it.

Compare the Best Car Window Cleaners

This table will help you to figure out the best car window cleaner that matches with your requirements.

Item/Characteristics

 

 

Volume

Type

Kinds of stains removed

Contents

What’s included in the kit

Can be used on tinted windows?

Does it have an odor?

Shine Society Glass and Window Cleaner

BUY NOW AMAZON 18 oz Spray All (dirt, smudge, fingerprints, streaks, etc.) All-natural (no ammonia) Cleaner + microfiber cloth Yes No

Invisible Glass Premium Glass Cleaner

BUY NOW AMAZON 19 oz Aerosol All exterior stains (dust, bird poop, streaks, etc.) All-natural (no ammonia) Aerosol only

Yes (exterior only)

Light

Meguiar’s G8224 Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner

BUY NOW AMAZON 24 oz Spray All (dust, water spots, streaks, tree sap) Unique formula with lubricant Spray only Yes Yes

Chemical Guys CLD_202_16 Signature Series Glass Cleaner

BUY NOW AMAZON 16 oz

Spray

All, but much force has to be applied

All-natural (no ammonia)

Spray only Yes Yes

SprayWay SW050-12 Glass Cleaner

BUY NOW AMAZON 19 oz Aerosol/foam All (water stains, dust, tree sap, bird poop, watermarks) Alcohol, no ammonia Aerosol (12 in the pack) No No

3M 08888 Glass Cleaner

BUY NOW AMAZON

19 oz

Aerosol All

Chemical, without alcohol and ammonia

Aerosol only Yes Strong

TriNova Premium Glass & Mirror Cleaner

   BUY NOW AMAZON 18 oz Spray All (bugs, sap, fog, watermarks, etc.)

All-natural (no ammonia)

Spray only Yes (testing is required) Light

Driven Extreme Duty Glass Cleaner

  BUY NOW AMAZON  16 oz Gel Heavy, etched stains (calcium and rust deposits, water stains)   Chemical (acids) Gel only No Strong

Windex Cleaners, Blue

  BUY NOW AMAZON  26 oz x 2 Spray All (dust, water spots, streaks, tree sap)  All-natural (no ammonia) Spray only Yes Light

Hope’s Perfect Glass Cleaner

  BUY NOW AMAZON  32oz + 64 oz Spray All (dust, water spots, streaks, tree sap) All -natural (no ammonia) Spray + refill canister Yes Light

What Should Be Considered When You Make a Purchase?

Here are a few aspects that matter for the choice of a car cleaner:

Multi-surface

Ideally, a car cleaner should be applicable to both bare glass and tinted car windows from both sides. This way, you won’t have to choose a separate product for tinted glass. Besides, some cleaners can be used to clean the car salon (control panel, doors).

Sensitivities

If the car owner or passengers are allergic to strong chemicals, a product with all-natural contents should be used. Ammonia, fragrances, and dye agents are the main skin and lung irritants, so choose car window screen cleaners without these ingredients.

Does the Cleaner Leave Haze?

As a rule, good car window cleaner does not leave streaks and haze. If it does, either it is used incorrectly (probably, a wrong type of wiping cloth or pad is chosen), or it’s a low-quality product. Alcohol-based sprays do not leave streaks but aren’t recommended for people with sensitiveness.

No Ammonia and Alcohol

While alcohol is an optional ingredient (it can be used for cleaning cars if people aren’t allergic to it, or if the smell can be tolerated), ammonia is very bad for health and well-being. Avoid cleaners with ammonia, because the chemical evaporates into the air and can cause headaches, poisoning, and sickness.

How We Chose and Tested the Best Car Window Cleaners

In order to select the best car window cleaner variants, we read numerous reviews, checked the rating of products in different online stores and platforms, and even performed an independent test. Ten car window screen cleaners we chose were applied on dirty windshields and other surfaces to see how well they worked, whether they removed dirt, and were easy to wipe away without leaving streaks.

10 Top-Rated Car Window Cleaners

These overviews will help you to select the best window cleaner for a car of your model and make the right decision based on the quality and price of products.

Shine Society Glass RX Car Window Cleaner

Shine Society Glass and Window Cleaner

Review:

Professionally working and environmentally safe, Shine Society’s Glass RX is a cleaner that contains efficient non-toxic components and allows removing dirt, stubborn stains, fingerprints, and foggy film in a matter of a few minutes. The product is versatile: it can be used on usual and tinted car windows, as well as in your home and office. Achieving total glass transparency has never been so easy! Two microfiber towels come in the kit: one removes debris and dirt from window’s surface, another dries and polishes surface removing streaks.

Our opinion:

No additional washing is required, so this car window glass cleaner is very easy in use. Although it’s a bit more costly than analogs, it does what’s said on the label.

PROS

  • the all-natural formula that makes it suitable for all window types;
  • comes with microfiber cloths;
  • removes all types of stains.

CONS

  • more expensive than other cleaners from our list.
Invisible Glass Car Window Cleaner

Invisible Glass Premium Glass Cleaner

Review:

Need a versatile product for cleaning both windshield and mirrors? This good car window cleaner can be used on automobile detailing, too. It doesn’t contain scents, dyes, soaps and other elements that leave streaks and traces on windows, so no grime will be attracted to the surface down the road. Instead, Invisible Glass’s formula destroys and dissolves dust and stains on interior window helping to remove smoker’s film and environmental dirt. You can easily get rid of salt spray, road grime, and dust without any trace left. There’s no ammonia in the contents, so you can use the product on tinted windows.

Our opinion:

It’s a reliable and efficient product, but reviews inform that it should be used on the exterior windows only – it’s not convenient.

PROS

  • works well on both car windows and mirrors;
  • a safe formula.

CONS

  • designed for exterior use only.
Meguiar’s car window cleaner spray

Meguiar’s G8224 Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner

Review:

Meguiar’s car front window cleaner was created to make cleaning fast and convenient: it’s enough to apply it once to ensure that you remove all dirt and stains, and the glass stays totally transparent. Besides, unlike other products, this car window tint cleaner can be used under direct sun rays. Its unique lubricant formula helps the wet cloth slide well along the window surface without leaving any residue. It removes every imperfection, starting from environmental film and smoky haze, and finishing by tree sap, dust, water spots, and fingerprints.

Our opinion:

If you’re ready to pay for quality, Meguiar’s car window cleaner won’t disappoint you.

PROS

  • a special formula eases cleaning;
  • a large bottle for better cost-efficiency;
  • can be applied to tinted windows.

CONS

  • doesn’t remove fog on the inner part of windows;
  • the label doesn’t say whether it contains ammonia.
Chemical Guys car window cleaner

Chemical Guys CLD_202_16 Signature Series Glass Cleaner

Review:

The best car window cleaner for tinted windows and non-glass surfaces is offered by Chemical Guys. Ammonia-free formula without smell allows using it for both interior and exterior windows of cars, boats, motorcycles, trucks, and RVs. However, the versatility of this spray isn’t restricted by vehicles only – it can also be exploited for cleaning navigation screens, plastic windshields, gauges, and mirrors. All you need to remove grime, dirt, and mist from your window is to apply the product and wipe it with a microfiber cloth. No additional car window cleaner tool is required.

Our opinion:

It’s a versatile product, but it’s rather a downside – the spray doesn’t remove all types of stains.

PROS

  • can be applied on plastic and glass surfaces;
  • no smell, no ammonia.

CONS

  • although it’s a top-rated window cleaner for car, reviews claim it’s not as efficient as other products – you have to apply much force to get rid of stains;
  • streaks and haze are left.

SprayWay SW050-12 Glass Cleaner

Review:

Where can you use this best window cleaner? Car, home, garage, motorcycle, boat – literally, everywhere! SprayWay is a versatile product that’s designed to clean and polish glass, windows, and windshields, as well as car elements from plastic and Plexiglas (organic glass). Foamy formula makes it cling to dirt even on vertical surfaces, which allows removing dirt, dust, smoker’s haze, and fingerprints. Just use a microfiber cloth to clean and remove residues without rinsing, and there will be nothing left behind on transparent car windows.

Our opinion:

If you don’t mind chemical scent and alcohol in the contents, SprayWay is a great solution with an agreeable price.

PROS

  • the heavy-duty formula for removing even stubborn stains;
  • a truly versatile product;
  • doesn’t contain ammonia.

CONS

  • contains alcohol and is aromatized, which some users may not like.
3M car window cleaner

3M 08888 Glass Cleaner

Review:

Why 3M’s product is considered to be the best car window cleaner in winter? It’s an aerosol that doesn’t freeze on cold winter, unlike liquid sprays, and doesn’t flow down on vertical surfaces. It efficiently dissolves smudges, dust, and dirt to remove even the most stubborn stains from windshields and windows. The cleaner works equally well on tinted and non-tinted windows and leaves no streaky residues. Besides, 3M is suitable for plastic, chrome, and metal.

Our opinion:

This cleaner should rather be used to remove heavy stains and clean windows on the outside.

PROS

  • heavy-duty formula allows removing stubborn stains;
  • can be used during winter;
  • may be applied on different surfaces.

CONS

  • has a very strong odor, which makes it unsuitable for interior windows;
  • leaves fog and streaks.
TriNova car window cleaner

TriNova Premium Glass & Mirror Streak Free Cleaner

Review:

Users in search of an all-in-one solution should consider TriNova’s product: it can be a sports car rear window cleaner, a replacement for household cleaners, and a great solution for boats, motorcycles, and other vehicles. The product works on all glass surfaces and windshields and allows easily removing tree sap, dirt, haze, smoker’s film, and so on. It doesn’t leave streaks and residues and removes even stubborn stains. Good news: TriNova offers environmentally-friendly solutions, and doesn’t test its products on animals.

Our opinion:

This safe and non-expensive solution can be recommended for drivers with allergy to harsh chemicals and families with small kids.

PROS

  • versatile and environmentally-friendly;
  • easy to use;
  • cost-efficient.

CONS

  • after application, you need time to let the spray work.
Driven Extreme Duty Glass Cleaner

Driven Extreme Duty Glass Cleaner

Review:

Need a solution against heavy stains? Driven Extreme Duty is an acid gel that can remove almost anything from your car windows: calcium and mineral residues, mold, rust, salt, hard water spots, and paint over-spray. The product contains abrasives and destroys dirt and dust efficiently. It should be used with a sponge and rubber glasses to prevent skin damage.

Our opinion:

This solution should be used to remove etched in spots only when windows should be cleaned thoroughly. Although it’s a very efficient window cleaner for car, reviews say it’s not a good option for allergic people and frequent use.

PROS

  • removes calcium, rust and hard-to-remove stains;
  • easy in use.

CONS

  • contains chemicals that irritate the skin and eyes, so it should be used carefully.
Windex Cleaners, Blue

Windex Cleaners, Blue

Review:

The best value pack of two window cleaners, Windex is a nice option for everyday cleaning. It removes dust and dirt without affecting glass. It doesn’t emit strong smell and is very easy in use. Besides, the cleaner can be used around the house. Please, note that this window cleaner for car won’t remove permanent streaks from windows.

Our opinion:

Windex set of 2 would be a great choice for owners of new cars with neat, clean windows. This solution would be enough to keep the glass clean from dust and minor stains.

PROS

  • quite cheap;
  • easy in use.

CONS

  • doesn’t remove heavy stains.
Hope's Perfect Glass Cleaner

Hope’s Perfect Glass Cleaner

Review:

According to users’ reviews, this is one of the worthiest products on the market. Hope’s Perfect Glass Cleaner removes all possible kinds of stains: dust, raindrops and water, calcium, rust, bird poop, insects, leaves, etc. It’s a perfect solution for cleaning the entire house, not just a car. The kit is economical: as soon as 32 oz bottle gets empty, it can be refilled twice.

Our opinion:

The best amplifier for car in terms of price/quality ratio and ease in use make this car window cleaner our top pick. It has the highest rating and works well on glass.

PROS

  • you get a large amount of cleaner for an average price;
  • cleans well and removes different kinds of stains.

CONS

  • can leave streaks.

Interesting Facts

Before and after car window cleaning

  1. If you have a window cleaner with ammonia, it should better be replaced: the chemical emits dangerous fumes that can be harmful for health.
  2. Some cleaners can destroy window tint, which is why more delicate solutions are typically used for interior windows.
  3. Heavy smokers can notice so-called “smoker’s film” on the interior of windows – it forms because of vicious contaminants, and is hard to remove without cleaner.
  4. Micro-fiber and waffle clothes are the best for window cleaning: they remove dirt gently without leaving streaks or scratching the surface.
  5. Specialists don’t recommend using usual household cleaners because alcohol and other elements contained in them can destroy tinted windows, rubber and sealants.

How to Care About Car Windows?

In order to perform cleaning of car windows correctly, several important steps should be followed:

  1. Resolve to wipe glass when the rest of car washing is done to avoid making it dirty again during detailing.
  2. Avoid working under direct sunlight – the cleaner evaporates too quickly and leaves spots and soapy residues.
  3. Pay utmost attention to the windshield, because you look through it more often. A high-quality microfiber towel will help you to remove the residues of cleaner accurately, without leaving streaks and traces. It should be lightly dampened: move the towel to a dry side to remove wetness from the windshield. Repeat the same with the rear window.
  4. Don’t forget to roll door windows halfway to clean their top edges – that’s where much dirt is left.
  5. It doesn’t matter where you start from – the exterior, or interior glass – do as you like.
  6. Sometimes removing stubborn film and stains requires cleaning windows more than one time. It depends on the contents of the glass. Don’t hesitate to use your window cleaner several times, if one isn’t enough.

Despite various reviews, it’s not recommended to use usual towels and old T-shirts for cleaning – special waffle towels and microfiber wipes are perfect for removing dirt without damaging the surface of the glass. Bigger fibers can leave visible traces on windows. To avoid dripping of spray cleaner over the glass, apply it on your micro fiber towel: this way, you’ll ensure optimal distribution of the product.

In order to clean hard-to-reach areas, for instance, corners of interior front and rear glass, use special triangle-shaped tools. They’ll help you to remove dust and stains from the tight zone between the windshield and the dashboard and boost your effort if you don’t have enough power to clean such areas.

Homemade car window cleaner

Suppose, you have no professional product at your fingertips and decided to use a homemade window cleaner solution in your car. What ingredient can be used for that? There are three variants of homemade cleaner:

  1. Mix usual glass cleaner with distilled water in 1:1 ratio. Do not use tap water, as it may contain metals that leave residue on windows and slightly damage the surface.
  2. Mix cold distilled water and white vinegar in 4:1 ratio (for instance, 12 cups of water and 3 cups of vinegar). All other types of vinegar can leave residue on the glass. Shake the mixture well and make sure that water isn’t hot – otherwise, a foul smell can be emitted by the cleaner. This mixture can be used in cold winter, but if it still freezes, try adding a bit more vinegar or alcohol.
  3. Mix one gallon of distilled water with a tablespoon of dishwasher and 0.5 cup of ammonia. Shake everything well.

Please, note that when you use these solutions on interior windows, you need to ventilate car salon afterwards – they all emit a pretty strong smell.

Equipment You Will Need to Clean Your Windows

First and foremost, you should prepare a wet cloth to wipe windows and get rid of cleaner excess, and a dry cloth to polish the surface. Microfiber napkins are the best variant for it: they don’t leave streaks and don’t damage glass.
For hard to reach places, use a special window cleaning brush: it has a rubber cleaning element and a long handle, and is usually used in the inner side of the front window.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is Vinegar Good To Clean Car Windows?

A: Vinegar can be used to remove heavy, etched stains. It should be diluted in water in equal parts and applied on windows with a pad. Then it should be removed with a wet cloth to get rid of the vinegar smell. To prevent streaking, wipe car windows with a dry towel afterward.

Q: Can You Use Windex On A Car Window?

A: There’s a special Windex car window cleaner spray: it’s suitable for both usual and tinted glass. Other Windex products for home windows can be applied, as well, but the results might be different.

Q: How To Remove Dried Tire Cleaner From Car Window?

A: If you’ve accidentally mistaken a tire cleaner for a window cleaner, the residues of the product can be removed with such solution as Driven Extreme Duty Glass Cleaner, or other car glass cleaners with alcohol.

Q: What Is The Difference Between Window Cleaner And Car Window Cleaner?

A: Generally, both products have identical contents. However, a car window cleaner can contain more aggressive cleaning agents, ammonia and acids – such products are too toxic to be used at home.

Q: What Car Compound Cleaner Should I Use To Clean A Scratch On My Window?

A: Although it’s not likely that you will be able to remove a deep scratch totally, it can be made less visible. Select car cleaners with abrasive cleaning agents. While ‘all-natural’ products aren’t efficient enough, sprays with tougher chemicals can work well. 3M 08888 Glass Cleaner and SprayWay are good products that can make a slight difference.

Our Recommendations

What is the best car window cleaner? The one that suits your needs! Depending on the type and components of glass, you may need some specific solution. Meguiar’s G8224 Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner is a cost-effective solution that quickly dissolves all stains and dirt marks without leaving any streaks and strong smell. It’s non-expensive (costs up to $20) and can be used on interior windows, as well.

Another highly recommendable solution is SprayWay SW050-12 Glass Cleaner that works well during wintertime, and can be applied on all surfaces, be that mirrors, glass, chrome and metal elements, etc. Besides, it comes as a pack of 12 sprays, so this is a highly economical set that can serve to clean the entire house. Perfect Glass is another value-pack solution.

If you want to save, a usual window cleaner for less than $15 is a good choice – such products remove minor stains and are easy in use.

Driven Extreme Duty Glass Cleaner appeared to be the only product that removes heavy stains, calcium and rust residues. Although it’s not the cheapest option, it can be used to perform a thorough cleaning to make car windows look like new.

With a suitable glass cleaner at hand, you can facilitate the process and reach fascinating results. It doesn’t have to be expensive: manufacturers provide the whole gamut of large sets where one bottle is worth $5-10, or even less.

 

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