How to Clean the Inside of a Windshield

We all love a clean vehicle. It feels good riding around in a fresh and shiny car. Keeping it detailed to a high standard takes a bit of effort on your end. Especially if it is your job to clean and polish it. What’s the toughest part for most people? The windshield! Especially the tricky job of cleaning the inside of the windshield.

So how do you clean the inside of a windshield? Here are the basic steps:

  1. Ensure the windshield is out of direct sunlight.
  2. Get a good windshield cleaner and two clean soft microfiber towels.
  3. Spray one towel and wipe windshield from top to bottom.
  4. Buff the glass with a fresh soft towel until shiny.

From the right cleaners to the right body positions, we’ve got the best tips on how to get your windshield crystal clear! It’s a tough job. But don’t fret, by the time you are finished with this article you’ll be ready to tackle it.

how to clean the inside of a windshield - glass cleaning instructions and tips

Step 1: Get the Right Tools for Cleaning the Inside of the Windshield

Choosing the products right for the job is half the battle. Not just any old cleaner or towel will properly clean a the inside of a windshield of a vehicle. And, the same rules apply for just about any type of windshield from a two-door sports car all the way up to a semi-truck.

Not even the leading brand or the most expensive brand of household glass and window cleaner can save you from streaks on the windshield. Here is what to gather:

  • Clean microfiber towels
  • Windshield cleaner (spray or foam)
  • Diluted white vinegar (for smokers)
  • Good old-fashioned elbow grease

There are lots of decent glass cleaners that work well on the inside of windshields. Perhaps the most popular is Sprayway Glass Cleaner, which comes in a 19 oz (539 g) spray bottle. It sprays out as a heavy-duty foam which doesn’t easily fall off the inside of the windshield. It’s ammonia-free and guaranteed to leave no film.

Step 2: Move to a Shady Spot

The outside temperature and severity of the sun beating down can (and most of the time does) have a negative effect on your venture of producing a spot-free windshield. If you are currently parked in the blazing sun, move it to a shady area or wait until later in the day when the sun is not as strong. If you decide to move your vehicle, you will still want to give the glass about an hour to cool off.

how to clean the inside of a car windshield
Spraying the foam directly on the glass can be a bit of a bother. Its generally easier to spray the cleaner on the cleaning cloth instead of directly on the glass. If you do spray the glass directly, use a heavy-duty foam that won’t fall down.

Step 3: Spray Towel and Clean Top to Bottom

Windshields are actually some of the toughest glass surfaces to clean. They do tend to be hazy or streaky even after cleaning, which is obviously a safety hazard. You will know this is if you have gone about cleaning your windshield inadequately and ended up with a windshield that you can barely see out of.

Washing the inside of a windshield is not a simple spritz with Windex and wipe with a paper towel, or vinegar, and a wad of newspaper type of job. This glass is far more complex than house windows or mirrors. It’s not a one-step process.

  • Read and follow all safety precautions and guidelines for the cleaning product and your other equipment
  • Take your clean towel and spray the towel with cleaner.
  • Roll down a few windows for air circulation.
  • Wipe top to bottom and vice-versa. This ensures you are able to clean one area in one clean sweep. Cleaning by wiping side to side can be tricky….windshields are big!

Tip: Spray the towel instead of the windshield. This will help you control the chemical so that it does not get on your dashboard, in your control panel, or blow back into your face.

Step 4: Buff Until Shiny

Step three is done, so now the windshield is clean, what is next on this list? Buff and polish! No, we are not talking about waxing your motor vehicle’s glass. Similar idea, though.

After a windshield is cleaned, you will need a fresh microfiber (or other soft) towel, to give the glass a firm polishing to make sure all the cleaner residue is gone, and it is looking shiny and new. This step may take more muscle than cleaning, but it will be worth it in the end! With the same top to bottom (or bottom to top) pattern, rub the clean towel firmly on the glass to buff. This is the best way to get the inside of the windshield super clean and transparent.

More Tips on Cleaning the Inside of a Windshield

Cleaning the inside of a windshield can be a twisting, back-bending experience. With the proper body mechanics, you will reduce your risk of injury and save yourself from being sore tomorrow. The same rules apply to any type of physical movement that places your body into positions that are not natural or comfortable for you. Whether we want to believe it or not, injuries can and do happen just from trying to clean your windshield. Don’t let it happen to you.

It may sound silly, but a little pre-game muscle stretch couldn’t hurt. It will actually help loosen up your neck, shoulders, and back. Don’t forget about your wrists and hands!

Use the most comfortable positions possible for your body and keep your wrists straight. Push with your whole body and lean into the motion.

If you feel that you are physically unable to get all the way from top to bottom, side to side, and all the way to each of the far corners of the windshield, you should ask someone to help you or hire a detailing service. It is better to be safe than sorry.

An Extra Step for Smokers

Smoking in your car produces a thick film on the windows, especially the windshield. Even those that smoke vape instead of smoking cigarettes or cigars in the vehicles will, in time notice a build-up of film.

This film is not only an undesirable substance for drivers and passengers, but it can also be dangerous on the inside of your car’s windshield and windows. Though it may not affect you all the time, when the sunlight or streetlamps hit it just right, there is a chance that you may not be able to see out properly.

We may have just stressed the importance of using a cleaning product especially made for windshield and motor vehicle glass, removing smoke takes an additional prior step when cleaning the inside of a windshield. It is recommended to first use a ten-to-one water dilution with white vinegar.

If you can pour your solution into a spray bottle, that may help prevent you from possibly spilling vinegar in your car. As if spreading it all over your windshield is not bad enough, accidentally dousing your seats and carpet could stick with you for months to come out, especially if it is hot outside.

  • Use a clean microfiber or soft towel , which you may need to use both sides to make sure that you are removing the film and not just spreading it around.
  • Wet your towel with the solution and put some effort into it.
  • When the grime is gone, you can break out the windshield cleaner, and a fresh towel! You will still need to give it a two-step clean and buff with the cleaner. Vinegar will not eliminate either step of the process.
how to clean the inside of a car windshield
Using windex to clean the inside of a windshield – cleaning tips for how to clean inside a windshield (inside the vehicle).

Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane is a Mom and digital content creator from the Okanagan Valley.

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