how to clean a windshield inside
vehicle maintenance

How To Clean A Windshield Inside in 2022 (Everything You Need To Know)

We’ve all been there: trying to get your windshield clean from the inside. Maybe you’ve struggled with different cleaning methods only to end up with a streaky windshield covered in micro-lint and grease, visible even to the untrained eye.

There’s no shame in it. The simple truth is some cleaning processes work really well and some will leave your inner windshield in a worse condition. 

Thus, you may be tempted to ask: is there a special way to clean the inside of a windshield? What are you doing wrong? And how can you keep a truly spotless and streak-free windshield?

With a clean windshield both inside and out, you reduce the risk of accidents due to impaired road visibility and further increase the safety of your vehicle on the road. 

In today’s article, we show you exactly how to clean a windshield inside. Read on to get all the windshield cleaning tips, with expert cleaning processes that will ensure your windshield inside is spotless.

What Causes Dirt and Streaks on Your Windshield Inside

Vapor emission from plastic parts inside your car – called off-gassing, dirt, and dust dragged from the outdoors are a some of the main culprits. Pet slobber, fingerprints, smoke, and smog are other causes. And that’s not to mention the residue that comes from the many human activities that take place inside your car.

If you are noticing the inner surface of your windshield is collecting debris more frequently, then it means you are frequently leaving your car in situations or places where such contaminants can easily cling to your windshield.

The real problem here is that on average the outer part of your windshield is cleaned more often than the inside. So the problem can be easy to ignore, allowing these contaminants pile up and leave residue. This is a habit which can create a permanent streak on your windshield inside if you’re not careful.

Another issue is that the windshield inside is angled in such a position that naturally collects dirt from inside the car. It’s also the most difficult car window to clean despite being the most important.

So, without further ado, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to clean a windshield inside. In this article we will discuss the best tools to use, effective cleaning method to try, and other factors to consider.

how to clean a windshield inside

What Do You Need To Clean Inside A Windshield?

To clean the inner part of a windshield, there are 3 main tools you’ll need: a microfiber towel(s), rubbing alcohol, and an automotive glass cleaner.

Other materials that are nice to have on hand for a factory-like sheen are: a protective towel to cover the dashboard, vinegar, extra microfiber cloths, a reach-and-clean tool, and paper towels.

Microfiber Towel

A microfiber towel is the ideal cleaning cloth you need to clean your windshield from the inside. It is soft, lint-free, and will not add additional abrasion to the surface of the windshield when you start cleaning.

It’s also ideal to try a variety of cleaning motions with a towel, including the popular circular motion, up to down, and side by side cleaning. You will need at least four fresh microfiber cloths to do a good job.

Paper towels or newspapers can also substitute cleaning cloths. These paper-based items will clean your windshield without leaving lint or residue.

Glass Cleaner

Automotive glass cleaners are the single best type of glass cleaner you should consider using in order to obtain that factory-like sheen.

Its composition is formulated and tested to work best on car windows, including the windshield. They are also ammonia-free, leaving less of a chance of drying out leather upholstery, bleaching the dashboard, or discoloring your windshield tint.

If you have to use a home glass cleaner, ensure it is ammonia-free for best results.

Rubbing Alcohol

The purpose of this cleaning component is to remove grease and oil from your windshield. 

Oil deposited on windshields can quickly evaporate into a thin film that coats the inside of the windshield in a hot environment. 

Reach-and-Clean tool

Depending on how difficult it is to reach the extreme ends of the inner windshield, you can opt for a reach-and-clean tool which you can pick up at a local hardware store, on Amazon, or you can make one yourself using spare tools at home.

Vinegar

You can also use vinegar, alcohol, dishwashing liquid, and water to make a homemade glass cleaner if you don’t have a store bought product on hand. To DIY mix 3 parts alcohol, 4 parts water, 2 parts dishwashing liquid, and 1 part distilled white vinegar for good consistency.

How To Clean A Windshield Inside

Cleaning your windshield with the correct technique is the only way to ensure you leave your windshield inside clean, streak-free, and crystal clear.

If you have been wondering what you’ve been doing wrong, pay close attention as we take you through the recommended steps to properly clean your windshield inside:

  • First of you need to get the recommended materials: lint-free Microfiber cloths, rubbing alcohol, and automotive glass cleaner
  • Next, look for a parking space that is shaded and protected from direct sunlight. Inside your garage is fine or under a tree. This will keep the windshield from drying too fast and allow you to wipe off the rubbing alcohol.
  • Now before you start cleaning you’ll want to protect your dashboard. Use a standard towel to cover your dashboard to avoid streaks of rubbing alcohol, glass cleaner drops, or dirt from falling onto the dashboard or discoloring it (depending on the material).
  • Start with wiping the windshield with a fresh dry microfiber cloth. This removes all the physical debris and dirt on the surface of the windshield. Preparing it for the next stage of cleaning
  • Then, spray your automotive glass cleaner on a new microfiber cleaning cloth and wipe the windshield in a circular motion or top-down motion, removing all the residual dirt in the process.
  • Your windshield inside is now clean but not factory clean. Spray the rubbing alcohol on a fresh microfiber cleaning cloth and clean the windshield in a slow circular motion or top-down motion. The key here is to do it slowly, so you can get rid of the thin films and grease on the glass laminate.
  • Next, spray glass cleaner onto a fresh microfiber towel again and clean the entire cross-section of the windshield, removing any excess alcohol residue and streaks to improve visibility. Congratulations, your windshield should be sparkling at this point.
  • Finally, use a dry microfiber cloth to dry clean the windshield inside. This will remove any remaining moisture from the glass and stop any streaks from forming. And that’s how to clean a windshield inside for a factory-like sheen.

How To Clean A Windshield Inside: Tips and Recommendations

Never Clean Your Windshield In Direct Sunlight

Cleaning in cooler temperatures or under a shade will prevent the solution used in cleaning from drying too fast due to evaporation in sunlight. It can lead to more streaks and thin films on your windshield.

Do Not Use a Microfiber Cloth Twice

Reusing a microfiber cloth will lead to the opposite effect. Instead of cleaning the glass, you will be adding dirt, lint, and more streaks to the glass. Use a lint-free material in all cases.

Do Not Spray Cleaning Fluid Directly

Never spray cleaning solution, glass cleaner, rubbing alcohol, or any DIY cleaner directly onto the windshield inside. For best results, spray the cleaning fluid on the microfiber cloth instead.

Clean The Windshield Outside First

Cleaning the windshield outside first will increase visibility when cleaning the inside. This will also save you from mixing up streaks on the outside for those on the inside. If you are cleaning your entire car, then strive to clean the outside first, and clean the windshield inside last.

Use A Windshield Tool for Easier Results

A specially made windshield cleaning tool will give you factory-like results faster. You can also use it to reach the extreme ends of your windshield inside easier.

Related Questions

Can I Use Windex On The Inside Of My Windshield?

The short answer is yes if your Windex Glass cleaner does not contain ammonia. then you can use it without any worries.

We normally advise against using Windex if it contains ammonia because it can easily cause discoloration on your dashboard if it drips on it.

So, take extra care when using this product. It’s always better to opt for a specially designated automotive glass cleaner.

How Do I Clean Foggy Inside Windshield?

Use an automotive glass cleaner, rubbing alcohol, and lint-free microfiber towel to clean a foggy windshield.

The fog on your windshield is mostly caused by vapors sticking to your windshield and can be removed by using the combination of materials described above and following the steps highlighted in this article.

Conclusion

Now you know exactly how to clean a windshield inside for a clear, streak-free shine. We have also given you a list of effective steps to follow, our expert recommendations, and pitfalls to avoid when working on this task.

So, get rid of your faulty cleaning methods and start cleaning your windshield inside the right way for best results.

Not only will a clean windshield increase visibility on the road, it will also increase the safety of your vehicle in extreme weather conditions. For more tips and tricks on automobile maintenance  see similar articles here.