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Old 10-16-2010, 05:40 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Best way to REALLY clean car windows

I head into the sun both ways on my daily commute, which really exaggerates any streaks in the windshield. I clean it with regular commercial window cleaner but it seems like no matter what I do I get streaks. The streaks aren't noticeable most of the time but when I am driving into the sun it is really annoying.

Any suggestion for a streak-free cleaner?
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  #2  
Old 10-16-2010, 05:53 PM
astro astro is offline
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I've never used Rain-X but some who have swear by it. It's (I believe) a coating that repels water and reduces smearing and streaking.
  #3  
Old 10-16-2010, 06:07 PM
Unintentionally Blank Unintentionally Blank is offline
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A neighbor's daughter worked at the local car wash and I asked her this question. She looked at me like I grew another head. She said they didn't have any problems getting windows clean and streak free.

But what gets used in Car washes? Cloth towels. Well worn, often washed, deep-loop, cloth towels.

So, use a clean handtowel/wash rag next time and see if that works better for you.
  #4  
Old 10-16-2010, 06:11 PM
impatien impatien is offline
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Use the micro fiber towels they sell in the car care section of Walmart or anywhere really. I usually see them in a pack of 3 towels. I wet one with water, wring it out and clean the window, then use a dry one to wipe. This is all I use to clean windows in my house, car, mirrors etc. You don't need any kind of window cleaner. These things are wonderful and there will NOT be any streaks. They last a long time too.
  #5  
Old 10-16-2010, 06:13 PM
toofs toofs is offline
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Stoner Invisible Glass with the cloth towels recommended by Unintentionally Blank.
  #6  
Old 10-16-2010, 06:24 PM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astro View Post
I've never used Rain-X but some who have swear by it. It's (I believe) a coating that repels water and reduces smearing and streaking.
Rain-X is great for repelling water, but if you don't know how to put it on well, it'll your whole windshield will be one big haze.
  #7  
Old 10-16-2010, 06:33 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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I have used Rain-X. But only on the outside.
  #8  
Old 10-16-2010, 06:43 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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White vinegar. You'll need to make sure you get the window fully dried or you'll have spots, but vinegar takes off haze, water spots, etc. It works especially well on the inside, where all the human funk has hazed up your glass.
  #9  
Old 10-16-2010, 07:07 PM
Absolute Absolute is offline
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Stoner Invisible Glass and newspapers. The newsprint is a mild abrasive. Clean up with a paper towel.

Don't use microfiber. Microfiber is great on paint because it is very soft and gentle and doesn't scratch, but paint is delicate. Glass is tough, and you can see dirt on glass easily that would be totally invisible on paint. Microfiber is too soft do clean it effectively.

Make sure to clean the inside too. It's not so much human funk as plastic outgassing that gums up your windows.
  #10  
Old 10-16-2010, 08:33 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by astro View Post
I've never used Rain-X but some who have swear by it. It's (I believe) a coating that repels water and reduces smearing and streaking.
Oh hell no. That stuff absorbs salt water and makes direct sunlight a million times worse in the winter.

a solution made from tea bags (for the tannic acid) applied with newspapers and dried with paper towels followed by a micro fiber cloth for detail work.
  #11  
Old 10-16-2010, 11:43 PM
Jorge_Burrito Jorge_Burrito is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Absolute View Post
Stoner Invisible Glass and newspapers. The newsprint is a mild abrasive. Clean up with a paper towel.

Don't use microfiber. Microfiber is great on paint because it is very soft and gentle and doesn't scratch, but paint is delicate. Glass is tough, and you can see dirt on glass easily that would be totally invisible on paint. Microfiber is too soft do clean it effectively.

Make sure to clean the inside too. It's not so much human funk as plastic outgassing that gums up your windows.
This, invisible glass is absolutely awesome stuff for windows.
  #12  
Old 10-17-2010, 12:08 AM
don't ask don't ask is online now
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I only recently obtained some Rain-X in a spray bottle after a scary experience in drizzle on a strange motorway in heavy traffic. At the end of a long drive, heading into the sunset I started the intermittent wipers and due to the dirty windscreen was instantly blinded.

I applied the Rain-X twice within a few days to get the windscreen clean. Since then whenever it rains I just spray some on the windscreen while in the rain and let the wipers distribute it. A couple of weeks ago I was driving for about 40 minutes in that really annoying light rain that usually requires squirts from the washers to get the windscreen clean. I was the only car on the road with my wipers on intermittent rather than slow. I mentioned this to my son and he replied, "You don't even need them on really." Just a quick wipe at the service station gets road grime off and you can see if the water beads.

I have got a few other people on to it just by doing their windscreens for visitors and a couple of neighbours. I think it is great stuff.
  #13  
Old 10-17-2010, 06:52 AM
Joey P Joey P is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by don't ask View Post
I only recently obtained some Rain-X in a spray bottle after a scary experience in drizzle on a strange motorway in heavy traffic. At the end of a long drive, heading into the sunset I started the intermittent wipers and due to the dirty windscreen was instantly blinded.

I applied the Rain-X twice within a few days to get the windscreen clean. Since then whenever it rains I just spray some on the windscreen while in the rain and let the wipers distribute it.
If you apply it correctly you only need to put it on once every two months or so.
  #14  
Old 10-18-2010, 08:05 AM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unintentionally Blank
A neighbor's daughter worked at the local car wash and I asked her this question. She looked at me like I grew another head. She said they didn't have any problems getting windows clean and streak free.

But what gets used in Car washes? Cloth towels. Well worn, often washed, deep-loop, cloth towels.
Odd, since every time I go to the car wash, I have to clean the windows myself afterward because they do such a craptacular job on the glass with those ratty old cloth towels. And they don't even pretend to wipe the windows clean to the edges.

Another vote here for Invisible Glass. Whatever's in the stuff is much better at removing off-gas residue than Windex.
  #15  
Old 10-18-2010, 08:09 AM
Nava Nava is online now
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I use regular glass cleaner (the kind in a spray bottle) from a good brand and wipe it off with a squeegee, which must be in perfect shape, and then with a squeegee sponge; if the squeegee's rubber blade isn't in good shape, you'll get streaks. I'm way too short to be able to reach the middle of the windshield with a handle-less sponge or cloth.

Last edited by Nava; 10-18-2010 at 08:09 AM.
  #16  
Old 10-18-2010, 09:08 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotpasswords View Post
Odd, since every time I go to the car wash, I have to clean the windows myself afterward because they do such a craptacular job on the glass with those ratty old cloth towels. And they don't even pretend to wipe the windows clean to the edges.

Another vote here for Invisible Glass. Whatever's in the stuff is much better at removing off-gas residue than Windex.
It may have a mild abrasive. Glass can be polished just like metal. I have both a fine and a more aggressive bottle of glass polish which can remove minor scratches and really baked-on mineral deposits.
  #17  
Old 10-18-2010, 09:33 AM
Chris Luongo Chris Luongo is offline
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I like to use microfiber towels and Sprayway brand aerosol glass cleaner. The microfiber towels don't give off any lint.

A friend of mine who cleans cars for a living uses ordinary towels (he says the microfibers get too wet for him after doing just two or three windows) and regular blue glass cleaner.

Regardless, if you don't want streaks, you must not stop wiping until the glass is completely dry.

That is, spray the glass cleaner on, and when you go to wipe, don't stop your motion at all (and frequently turn the towel over to a new, dry area) until you see the last of the liquid completely gone from the glass.

Also, how old is your car and/or windshield? On older cars, and I think it's especially if the body style has a windshield that's particularly upright and/or you tailgate, the windshield eventually gets pitted from abrasive materials hitting it from the road and from other cars.

If you frequently drive into the sun, a new windshield might be a good safety investment.
  #18  
Old 10-18-2010, 09:37 AM
Unintentionally Blank Unintentionally Blank is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotpasswords View Post
Odd, since every time I go to the car wash, I have to clean the windows myself afterward because they do such a craptacular job on the glass with those ratty old cloth towels. And they don't even pretend to wipe the windows clean to the edges.

Another vote here for Invisible Glass. Whatever's in the stuff is much better at removing off-gas residue than Windex.
Or, you know, my carwash is better than your carwash. (Which ain't saying much, I pay someone else to wash my car about three times a year)
  #19  
Old 10-18-2010, 09:45 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is online now
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Coke is good for washing off the bugs. The acid in Coke gets off road grime too. Rinse off with hose. Done. Windows look like new.

Last edited by aceplace57; 10-18-2010 at 09:46 AM.
  #20  
Old 10-18-2010, 12:29 PM
tallcoldone tallcoldone is offline
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I like Rain-X, especially for the side windows - the water beading up there gives much better side visibility when the glass is clean or dirty.

NOTE - Original Rain-X is NOT a glass cleaner, it is for treating already clean glass. I think they make other products for cleaning.

I like using a squeegee and cleaner on the inside of the windshield and back window. It's a pain, but is much less likely to leave a residue and any streaks are more mangeable with dry cloth or a little bit of Windex to follow up.
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