You’ll need more than just glass cleaner to avoid dangerous night-time glare.
Streaky windows are an all-too-common affliction for a number of vehicles. This can prove to be especially dangerous at night, as murky screens can refract a frightening amount of glare from oncoming traffic, street lights and even your own car’s headlight reflections.
And no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to get your windows to be as clear as they used to be. Very often, a “film” seems to appear over the inside of your car’s windows. This film gives a foggy effect, and yet no amount of anti-fog or demister jets seem to be able to clear it from the windshield.
Is there a solution? Thankfully there is, and we've got all the tips and tricks to restore your vehicle's windshield clarity. But first, what is that film?
Greasy film: An Uninvited Guest
The greasy film that you never tire of trying to rub away is actually a combined build-up of several factors. The main culprit, you may be surprised to find out, is from your car’s interior itself—namely the dashboard.
Your car’s dashboard releases oils. These oils come to the surface of the dashboard, primarily during the summer months due to the increase in temperatures. The oils turn to gas as they evaporate from the surface of the dashboard, and are what contribute to that “new car smell”—don’t worry, they aren’t harmful to the human body.
They do, however, have nowhere to go once they’ve left the dashboard. They most commonly end up coating the inside of your windsheild, which leads to a film that can reduce your vision. This, and other products you may use on your dash (such as protectant), lead to a slow but sure buildup of oil on the inside of your car’s windows.
If your vehicle’s windows are tinted, or have any kind of UV-reflective film applied to them, consult the manufacturer of the film before using any of the methods below. Harsh chemicals have the potential to be detrimental to the film finish. In such cases, try using soap and water. If this doesn’t cut through the film then consult the film manufacturer to understand what is safe.
How to Cut Through the Mist
Now we know what we’re dealing with, let’s look at how it can be tackled.
When cleaning your windshield, be sure to cover your dashboard — either with newspaper, cloths, or some other form of protector. Whatever liquids you use when cleaning the interior of your windshield may drop on to the dashboard, causing spots that can either be hard to remove or in some cases, prove to be impossible to remove due to discoloration.
Your ordinary window cleaner is most commonly designed for exterior use. As such, it’s probably not up to the task of cutting through the oily residue that is on the inside of your car’s windshield
What can cut through it? Rubbing alcohol or other forms of mild spirit. To tackle this, dab some spirit on to a microfiber cloth. Be mindful not to mark the trim or the plastics near to the rear-view mirror.
Another great method is to use a magic eraser or other form of a glass-specific scrub pad. If used correctly, this will cut through the grease and, once agitated, will ensure that the film residue is dislodged, ready for you to wipe away with a clean microfiber towel.
When cleaning the inside of your car’s windshield, always start from the passenger side. This will make it easier for you to reach all corners, as you won’t have to contend with the steering wheel being in the way. To reach all corners turn your palm to face the outside of the windshield. This is best done when turning your body away from the windshield and reaching back.
To finish the process off, and add an extra layer of protection to the inside of your windshield, finish up with an application of glass cleaner. Apply the glass cleaner to the microfiber towel rather than spraying it directly on to the surface of the window. This will prevent overspray from getting on to other areas of the interior.
When cleaning your windshield and other windows on your car, you should always use quality microfiber towels. There are many glass-specific towels available, but you should look for one with a low-pile and a tight-knit. When polishing (in the final step) you can use one with cross hatches to maximize residue pick up and give you that extra shine.
And there you have it: windows that are as clear as day, with a far-reduced glare at night. A safer ride for both you and your loved ones.