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Thread: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* MSaxatilus's Avatar
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    Default How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    OK, I give up.

    One of my pet pieves is a dirty windshield in my car. Drives me totally nutz. I'm very good at getting the windshield clean (inside and out), but my problem is that no matter what products I use, I seem to develop a blueish/greyish haze on the inside of the windshield after a few days to a week. I'm not sure of the source of the haze since it happens in all cars (i.e. wife's car, my old car, brother's car, Mom's car) that I've cleaned over the years and seems quite persistent.

    I have used a variety of products that all work very well in getting the windshield clean, but yet after a few days the haze comes back. Some products worse than others. Its almost like there is some sort of residue from the cleaners, or the maybe the microfiber cloths that I'm using. I do get the same result using paper towels also... along with lint

    The haze that I refer to is very minor mind you.... most people would barely notice it, but if you get very close to the glass and wipe your finger on it, you would notice that the haze would wipe off with your finger.

    So what's the deal with the haze?!?! Am I using the wrong products, wrong technique, I live in NJ, global warming? Any clue.

    Oh, and no I don't smoke.

    So I have made it my mission to come up with the ultimate window cleaning proceedure. Any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    MSax
    I wish I could afford a BarnBurner!

    Cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Shark's in the water..... Our shark.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* PhotonBoy's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    If it's a new car, it could just be some of the volatile plasticizers used in the plastic fittings and upholstery condensing on the inside of the windshield. If so, leaving the windows open a bit on each side might help. Also, it should diminish in time.
    Last edited by PhotonBoy; 09-09-2009 at 07:01 PM. Reason: typo

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    It's the outgassing of the plastic/vinyl as PhotonBoy says to clean it easily use a 2 to 1 mix of water and Isopropyl Alcohol in a spray botttle. Ammonia based window cleaners work well also but most dont recommend for car windows anymore i still use them anyway, you have to be careful around stick-on tinted windows as the ammonia cuts the glue that the only worry. If the buildup is really heavy use straight Alcohol then go over it with window cleaner to remove the streaks so you aren't blinded in the rain or at night. I use plain paper towels only no newspaper or cloths they hold the oils and ink and just smear it around, its looks clean till you drive at night or against the sun. I don't recommend using washer solvent because of the blue dye it just smears. Its there so noone drinks it

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    use microfiber cloth, dry.apply pressure, idk what that haze is, i too have it, can't really stop it from coming, but mf cloth does good job of getting rid of it.
    i noticed, i doesn't come in dry climate, my guess it is condensate, mixed with your exhale gases, defrost\defog or even just an airflow on your windshield creates temp. difference, thus moisture, plus byproduct of human respiration are not pure co2.
    i rarely see that haze on back window.

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* 1 what's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    Wow - I thought I was the only irritable old man who got upset about the stuff on the inside of the windscreen! It drives me nuts when I drive of a night.
    I've noticed that it does not decline a lot as the vehicle gets older and older and older and so I wonder if it really is "outgassing" from automotive plastics etc or if its a deposit from the aerosol of GKW in the air coming into the car. Does anyone out there live in a pristine environment and drive a very old car - if so do you get this "Stuff"?

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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    I too demand my windows be clean perfectly clean and my wife hates it because it holds us up. Invisible Glass works really good and a clean microfiber cloth, or even two clean cloths one to clean it the first time and use the second clean one for another wipe. I have found that one microfiber cloth doesn't equall another microfiber cloth. They ones made just for glass or with a "finer weave" work best. I also have seen a "as seen on tv" gadget at walgreen for 10 bucks just for inside glass. Looks like it would work pretty good.

    All that info and I still get streaks :-/

  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    Do you ride with the windows down? That can lead to road grime getting inside, also can lead to your headliner starting to fall. Don't clean if it's hot or even warm, wait till it's cool. Some do better with Windex, others not. Have you tried just rubbing dry newspaper to buff it out? If you are using towels that have been through your washing machine then fabric softeners can still be in the towel smearing on your windshield. How about just plain water and a good chamois?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    Same problem here. Some good advice here, thanx guys. Subscribed.

    For me, microfibre works best for now, but not perfectly. I'll try some of the above mentioned tricks.

    bernie
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    Flashaholic* MSaxatilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    i rarely see that haze on back window.
    Hmmm... That's true. I either don't get it on the back window or its just that I'm constantly looking through the front so I notice it more there. I'll have to inspect that further.

    It's the outgassing of the plastic/vinyl as PhotonBoy says to clean it easily use a 2 to 1 mix of water and Isopropyl Alcohol in a spray botttle.
    Interesting theory. Is it the off-gassing of the plastics or is it the oxidation of the chemical residue from the cleaners. No mater what cleaner you are using there will always be some residual left behind. So maybe clean it with the normal glass cleaner and then followup with IA spray wash as a finish? If the haze still comes after then it would definitely lead creadence to the plastic off-gassing theory. As scary as that seems.

    Then again, I had a Nissan Pathfinder with 403,000 miles and I still had the hazing issue with that vehicle. So I'm thinking its some sort of oxidation issue.

    Good ideas though guys.

    MSax
    I wish I could afford a BarnBurner!

    Cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Shark's in the water..... Our shark.

  10. #10
    Flashaholic* MSaxatilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    If you are using towels that have been through your washing machine then fabric softeners can still be in the towel smearing on your windshield. How about just plain water and a good chamois?
    That makes sense to me. My microfiber cloths are right out of the dryer and "springtime fresh". So maybe those chemicals are being left behind and oxidizing over time?

    MSax
    I wish I could afford a BarnBurner!

    Cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Shark's in the water..... Our shark.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    Quote Originally Posted by MSaxatilus View Post
    OK, I give up.

    One of my pet pieves is a dirty windshield in my car. Drives me totally nutz. I'm very good at getting the windshield clean (inside and out), but my problem is that no matter what products I use, I seem to develop a blueish/greyish haze on the inside of the windshield after a few days to a week. I'm not sure of the source of the haze since it happens in all cars (i.e. wife's car, my old car, brother's car, Mom's car) that I've cleaned over the years and seems quite persistent.

    I have used a variety of products that all work very well in getting the windshield clean, but yet after a few days the haze comes back. Some products worse than others. Its almost like there is some sort of residue from the cleaners, or the maybe the microfiber cloths that I'm using. I do get the same result using paper towels also... along with lint

    The haze that I refer to is very minor mind you.... most people would barely notice it, but if you get very close to the glass and wipe your finger on it, you would notice that the haze would wipe off with your finger.

    So what's the deal with the haze?!?! Am I using the wrong products, wrong technique, I live in NJ, global warming? Any clue.

    Oh, and no I don't smoke.

    So I have made it my mission to come up with the ultimate window cleaning proceedure. Any suggestions?

    Thanks,
    MSax
    Off gassing...probably not the cleaner.

  12. #12

    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    The best cleaners that I have used are Airkem Vivid (aerosol) and Rain-X Anti-fog (pump). I only use a clean cotton towel.

    The haze is dirt/particulates that collects because of the condensation that forms on all windshields. The particulates are usually hydrocarbons from fuel and oil in traffic, brake dust, tire wear residue, and cigarette smoke.

    A/C or defroster venting is aimed at the windshield and unburned fuel/oil is mixed with the moisture that is sticking to the inside windshield. The fuel/oil layer clings to the glass and the visible haze starts to form. The need for defroster venting is why the windshield gets the thickest haze. There is constant airflow into vehicles, usually through the windshield and footwell vents.

    You will always notice the haze more at night because of headlamp glare and the angle of the windshield to oncoming headlamps.

    One way to cut down on the issue is to park your car in an attached garage. every night. It has to do with rapid changes of atmospheric humidity outside of the car.
    Last edited by adnj; 09-08-2009 at 03:42 PM. Reason: wheel wel should have read footwell
    I got nothing else to say...

  13. #13
    Enlightened 762x51's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    Quote Originally Posted by oronocova View Post
    Invisible Glass works really good and a clean microfiber cloth, or even two clean cloths one to clean it the first time and use the second clean one for another wipe.
    +1. Stoner Invisible Glass and a quality microfiber glass cloth are the tools to use. And yes, there is a difference in quality with microfiber cloths. Get good ones from a shop specializing in auto detailing like Autogeek.
    <font color="green">Molon Labe</font>

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    Flashaholic* FRANKVZ's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    It could also be vinyl protector that you've sprayed on your dash heating up in the sun and leaving a film. That's also why it would be worse on the windshield as most cars have fabric beneath the rear glass.

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    *Flashaholic* LuxLuthor's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    I hate more than you can imagine to ever promote anything from an infomercial, but I guarantee this works in terms of reaching the bottom inside of windshield, and comes with microfiber cloths. This plus Invisible Glass cleaner is the best I have found.

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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    Quote Originally Posted by 762x51 View Post
    +1. Stoner Invisible Glass and a quality microfiber glass cloth are the tools to use.
    +2 and the Stoner reach and clean tool makes it very easy.
    Quando Omni Flunkis Moritati

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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    +3 on Stoner excellent window cleaner

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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    One word.
    Brillianize.
    Good enough for aircraft cockpit windows, almost all plastics, your windhshield and mine, and All my computer and other video screens!
    Spray, spread in circles, change cloth, keep going in circles till all haze is gone.
    Brillianize.
    In 25 years, it's all I could find that stays on the job at least a week.

  19. #19
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    After washing and towel drying, I've found ordinary newspaper to be the absolute best for getting all the windows absolutely streak-free and crystal-clear. I've never had any issues with ink transferal.

  20. #20

    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    +1 for Invisible Glass. Awesome stuff.
    Too many lights! Stop me!

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* gollum's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    Quote Originally Posted by adnj View Post
    The best cleaners that I have used are Airkem Vivid (aerosol) and Rain-X Anti-fog (pump). I only use a clean cotton towel.

    The haze is dirt/particulates that collects because of the condensation that forms on all windshields. The particulates are usually hydrocarbons from fuel and oil in traffic, brake dust, tire wear residue, and cigarette smoke.

    A/C or defroster venting is aimed at the windshield and unburned fuel/oil is mixed with the moisture that is sticking to the inside windshield. The fuel/oil layer clings to the glass and the visible haze starts to form. The need for defroster venting is why the windshield gets the thickest haze. There is constant airflow into vehicles, usually through the windshield and footwell vents.

    You will always notice the haze more at night because of headlamp glare and the angle of the windshield to oncoming headlamps.

    One way to cut down on the issue is to park your car in an attached garage. every night. It has to do with rapid changes of atmospheric humidity outside of the car.

    +1 on adnj comments

    I use rain-ex anti fog interior glass cleaner
    it takes a while to get the haze build up but it cleans off easily aswell

  22. #22
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    for the outside, clay
    for the inside: frosch, (German stuff) with a non-fluffy MF. Don't wipe with paper, you'll scratch the windshield.

    I'd also do it once per month and accept it. The aircon / fan will mess it up again. Try also maybe changing your inside airfilter.

    Bret

  23. #23
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    +1 for the newspaper. and I don't mean news print, I mean an actual newspaper with printing on it. but has got to be clean to begin with..use it dry.
    (all it's good for anyway..)

  24. #24
    Flashaholic* Northern Lights's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    Quote Originally Posted by MSaxatilus View Post
    OK, I give up.
    One of my pet pieves is a dirty windshield in my car. ...
    MSax
    YES! ME TOO!
    Were you around in the '50's? Bon Ami !! I thought it was gone but...
    http://www.bonami.com/
    As you can see they are still around, surprised me! I need to get some now! But the principle is sound.
    After Bon Ami came a cake like cleaner made by AmWay, that too is gone. A person would dampen a rag and wipe the cake then polish the glass with it, it would haze and you wiped it off.

    The principle is a mild abrasive that is softer than glass. Once wiped on glass it forms a dry haze that absorbs gunk and junk and polishes off the contaminants.

    Substitutes for the above products I use are a glass stove top cleaner:
    http://www.weiman.com/products/smooth/cleaner.php or one of
    several plastic polishes used for aircraft windshields or emergency vehicle light covers work the sameway but Meguiars plastix does it too:
    http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/produc...?T1=MEG+G12310. I have more of this and use it both on glass and plastic.

    If you need to polish a plastic like a watch crystal, cell phone or gps screen or clean heavily pocket glass a pink abrasive used in several metal polishes does wonders. I used a felt wheel on a watch crystal and caused a lumpy surface (too fast melted the plasic). I then used 200, 400 and 600 grit wet paper to smooth it down by hand laying the watch on the flat wet paper; it then looked like a fogged glass, burnished. I put a piece of flannel on a flat piece of granite counter top and put pink polish on it and rubbed the watch on it for 5-10 minutes and got a clear as crystal finish, like new.
    Semichrome polish, Flitz and Maas are all pink and work the same.
    http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&key...sl_bmkh9fxxy_b

    http://www.flitz.com/

    http://www.maasinc.com/

    My method is to polish the glass with a compound that leaves a dry haze and the dry polishing compound adheres to any oily, hydrocarbon products, silicones too. Wiping the haze away takes the gunks and the polish then will repair minor blemishes leaving a crystal finish on the window.

    Why do all suicidal beatles, bees, bugs and assorted sundry insects always pile head first only into the driver's side of the wind screen?

    Thanks for the opprotunity. I remember when Bon Ami and me were both current events, (notice the retro look in the web page?), you have sent me off on a quest for the antiques of my life, Bon Ami and the old memories.
    <; )}}}}>< I fish therfore I am... pic links: '03,'07,'08

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* MSaxatilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    Were you around in the '50's? Bon Ami !! I thought it was gone but...
    http://www.bonami.com/
    As you can see they are still around, surprised me!
    Oh sure!! I love that stuff and use it all the time. I do use it as a good outside the window cleaner, but never inside.

    If you have trouble finding the stuff in your area, shoot me a PM. I'll send you a case if you want it. I can get Bon Ami in my local supermarket. Cheap and it works.

    MSax
    I wish I could afford a BarnBurner!

    Cage goes in the water, you go in the water. Shark's in the water..... Our shark.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* Vesper's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    After you get it cleaned good, breath through a breathing hose out the slightly cracked window and slip into a large hefty bag when you drive. It works for me!

  27. #27
    Flashaholic JeffInChi's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    Quote Originally Posted by fredb View Post
    After washing and towel drying, I've found ordinary newspaper to be the absolute best for getting all the windows absolutely streak-free and crystal-clear. I've never had any issues with ink transferal.
    It sounded crazy to me at first too, but yes, newspaper works

    Who would've thought all of those hobos and bums who were cleaning your windows with yesterdays newspaper really were doing a good job? (Got a dollar?)

    If you are taking your time, I like rain-x with a micro-fiber towel too.

    Do you or anyone else that is ever in the vehicle smoke? Before I quit smoking, I remember the smoke would form a haze on the inside of the window glass, and cleaning it off completely took a LONG time. It could also be dust from a dirt/gravel road if you live in a rural area, or perhaps exhaust/smog if you travel in the city.

    I'll have to find and try out the invisible glass, is it in the USA?


  28. #28
    Flashaholic* Beamhead's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffInChi View Post
    Do you or anyone else that is ever in the vehicle smoke? Before I quit smoking, I remember the smoke would form a haze on the inside of the window glass, and cleaning it off completely took a LONG time.
    I'll have to find and try out the invisible glass, is it in the USA?
    Yes, check Target, Wallyworld, OSH..
    I used to use newspaper but when they changed to smudgless/color print it became less than useful for me.
    I smoke in my vehicle and the invisible glass on the clean and reach tool with a microfiber cloth clean the inside of all my windows (large SUV) in 3-5 minutes.
    Quando Omni Flunkis Moritati

  29. #29
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    Paper does work good. I haven't tired newspaper but at work sometimes I use a sheet of paper to clean copier glass. Kinda the same idea, it doesn't really leave any streaks.

    The other day I was watching guys cleaning glass outside of a car detailer. They didn't' appear to be using a microfiber cloth. Looked like a blue cotton. However they were making swipes only from top down. Not up/down. He would start at the top wipe the glass down, lift the cloth and wipe the next "column" down, lift, .... I'll have to try this next time.

    As others mentioned I do wash my microfiber. I usually try to wash them with only a little bit of detergent, I use the extra rinse cycle, and sometimes I do this twice. Then I dry them without a dryer sheet.

    Brillianize ... I have used it at work. It was just OK for me, their smaller bottles have a really fine atomizer nozzle which I really liked. I didn't think it had as much cleaning power as some other cleaners I have used. But it is supposed to be really good. I stopped using it and filled it's bottle with windex and added a little rain-x. Works great so far on copier glass.
    Last edited by oronocova; 09-09-2009 at 05:19 PM.

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* Rexlion's Avatar
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    Default Re: How to Clean an Automobile Windshield?!?!

    Some of you are working way too hard with the chemicals and wipes. I get way better results with my secret weapon: a squeegee. First I use a wet cotton rag with some cleaner (vinegar, windex, whatever, doesn't matter) on the windshield interior, then squeegee it dry. The house windows get the same treatment. I can go waaaay longer between cleanings. Yup, I hate that haze too, but the squeegee lets me go months instead of weeks between cleanings.
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