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How to clean a car windscreen: inside and out

Published 18th September 2023Read Time 4 min

If you’re constantly annoyed or distracted by streaks on your windscreen, or you can’t stand when there’s glare as cars with LED lights drive by, you’ll want to know how to clean your windscreen like a pro.

Let’s look at the steps involved, including some extra helpful tips on how to make cleaning the windscreen hassle-free.

Before you start cleaning your windscreen

Firstly, grab a bottle of car glass cleaner the next time you’re in the supermarket, rather than whatever you use at home for your windows. Getting a bottle in the supermarket is usually cheaper than an automotive shop, and car glass cleaners will have specific properties that can make a difference. This can include streak-free formulation, inhibitors in the spray (to help prevent grime and such), etc.

You’ll also want to get two microfibre cloths; one for the exterior you don’t mind dirt getting on, and one for the interior you can keep in the glove box. You can also use it to wipe down your dashboard when you notice dust or don’t like seeing fingerboards over a touchscreen.

Is it a bad idea to use domestic glass cleaner?

Some, but not all, glass cleaners can contain ammonia; great for tackling tougher stains on glass but not great if there’s a slight tint in your windows. Some sprays can end up taking part of a tint off.

Cleaning the outside of your windscreen

First, get the wipers up and clean them with soapy water. Have a good look at the trim in your wipers. If you notice any bit where dirt is stuck, grab a toothbrush, and see if that will get it off. Giving the wipers a good clean can usually help prevent wiper streaks when driving.

You’ll then want to wash the windscreen and wipe it dry before using glass spray. To avoid awkwardness over how to clean, pick the driver-side first, then repeat on the passenger side. Use the microfibre cloth, and you should notice that the window visually is a lot cleaner.

Cleaning the inside of your windscreen

While the outside takes up the bulk of the work, it is usually the inside where you find it trickier to clean in those corners and angles.

Start by giving the window a dry wipe with a cloth, then make sure not to spray the window, but instead, spray the cleaner onto the fabric before making your way around the window. You might find it best to work on the window, like wiping the edge of a picture frame and then working your way inward.

If you have an older car with a plastic dash and noticed that one little area close to the window seems to look dirty or misty every few weeks, have a good check of the dashboard. If you see little cracks or a split, it’s just an “off-gassing” case, although this is more common in warmer countries.

Enjoy a cleaner windscreen

Cleaning the windscreen like this should see things looking much better in no time. If your windscreen often gives you trouble first thing in the morning or around sunset, read our advice on driving in low sun.

Ever wondered if car insurance protects windscreens?

You will have seen ads on the TV for companies that are solely dedicated to windscreen repair, but would you know what to do if you notice a crack in the window? Some insurance policies will or won’t explicitly offer windscreen cover as part of your policy.

If you’re already an AA car insurance customer, you’ll be delighted to know that unlimited windscreen cover is available as standard. And if you’ve ever wondered what to do when you notice a problem with your windscreen, this recent blog post has it covered.

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