How to Properly Maintain and Clean Your Windshield

This is a guest post courtesy of Diana Steele, owner of Van Isle Glass in beautiful Victoria, BC.

If you want to be safe — or if you want your car always to look its best — you need to ensure that your windshield is being properly maintained. It doesn’t take much to keep a windshield in top condition, but the steps needed regularly are essential.

We’ve provided everything you need to give your windshield the care it needs for long life and excellent function. Read on for some reminders that will keep your windshield in top condition, and follow our in-depth guide to the necessary steps of cleaning your windshield.

How to clean windshield

Maintaining Your Windshield

Though some states replace windshields for free, it is still important to properly maintain your windshield.

The windshield is formed of several important parts that all need consideration if you want the best performance. For each one, the most important maintenance and prevention tips have been provided here.

Coatings and Treatments

Nearly all modern cars are sold with windshields coated for better performance. Depending on the model, these may include treatments that reduce UV rays, that shade certain portions of the pane or are designed to make the windows appear tinted or one-way. You can protect the inside of your car with sunshades, but what about the outer glass?

Any coatings and treatments on your windshield need to be maintained properly — this is mostly done by limiting exposure to the elements. Car covers are a good solution, but when one isn’t available, here are three rules you can follow to make sure that your treatments look good and work well.

  • Remove moisture immediately: All the damage caused by heat is amplified when you let sources of moisture build up on your windshield. Water focuses sunlight, meaning bubbling happens faster and more dramatically.
  • Don’t park in direct sunlight: Sunlight can do all kinds of damage to the coatings on your car windshield. Leaving your car in direct sunlight for a long time may cause unwanted tinting of the window, bubbles between the glass and the coating, and other problems. While some of these problems can be fixed at home, avoid all of them by parking in your garage or the shade.
  • Don’t shift temperatures too quickly: The coatings on your windshield are more sensitive to temperature changes than the glass. That’s why it’s important to gradually turn up your heater or air conditioner on freezing and hot days. If the glass is at a different temperature than the rest of the car, it can warp the coating or even fracture the glass.

The Wipers

Wipers are cheap and easily replaceable, but those willing to maintain them can make them last a long time, saving a lot over the vehicle’s lifetime. Here are a few maintenance steps that will keep your wipers working as well as they should.

  • Regularly clean your windshield at the gas station: Your wipers are designed to clear debris but can’t be relied upon to get rid of all the grime that builds up. To keep your wipers from being strained or damaged by larger pieces of debris, make sure that you wipe down the window as often as possible. If your local gas station has free fluid and squeegees, take advantage of it to save your wipers some work.
  • Gently wipe down the blades once a month: For both your windshield and your wipers, make sure you clean the blades once a month. Take a clean paper towel and fold it over the blade, starting at the base. Gently pull the paper towel from the base of the wiper to the other end until the blade is clean. Dirty blades can force the debris back into the widow, so cleaning them is a critical step.
  • Replace the wipers as soon as they go bad: Damaged rubber blades, loose hinges, and other problems with your wipers can do worse than be ineffective — they can actively damage your windshield. Protect yourself from more expensive charges by replacing them when they go bad.

The Glass

The main maintenance burden with glass is cleaning. Regular, thorough cleaning is key to everything else. Windshields that aren’t properly cleaned are at a higher risk of having micro-debris pressed into the glass by the wipers or just natural driving pressures.

These tiny fractures in your windshield can reduce the integrity of the whole pane, making the glass more likely to experience chips and cracks later.

Proper Windshield Cleaning Steps

First, start with the right equipment. Before you begin, make sure you aren’t using materials that are more likely to harm than good. An old oil rig is not up to cleaning a windshield, even if it works well for the body of the vehicle. Windshields need special care, so make sure you have at least:

  • Microfiber sponges and cloths, or car wash mitts
  • Cleaner designed specifically for glass, preferably automotive glass
  • A source of clean water for complete rinsing — a bucket won’t be sufficient

Once you have all that, follow these steps:

  1. Start with a full rinse: Rinse your windshield completely by using a hose on the softest setting. This will loosen up things that may have hardened on the glass and make grime easier to remove.
  2. Lift the wiper arms out of the way: Make sure your wiper arms are moved away from a position where they’ll be hit while you’re wiping down the windshield. Depending on your model, they should be able to lift out for easy access.
  3. Use the sponge to press and lift trouble spots: Go over the entire windshield with a microfiber sponge, and handle the trouble spots by dabbing and pressing them downward. Even with microfiber, you want to limit the time you spend pressing on the glass. If anything could be eased off with a little more gentle rinsing, switch back to that.
  4. Spray glass cleaner onto the freshly sponged glass: Now that the grime and debris have been removed, you can safely apply the glass cleaner. Spray the cleaner to cover the entire surface of the glass. Make sure you review the instructions to verify how long the cleaner should be left to work.
  5. Use the cloths to remove the cleaner: Switch from the sponges to the microfiber cloths, and start wiping down the cleaner until it’s gone. This may take some time, and trouble spots may appear that managed to survive the other steps. When this happens, go over each one with the cleaner again. Repeat as many times as necessary until it comes up easily.
  6. Gently rinse the entire windshield again: Once the last of the spots have disappeared, run the hose over the windshield again. This will remove any remaining applications of the cleaner.
  7. Dry with paper towels or microfiber cloths: Make sure you don’t leave any moisture on the windshield. Wipe all moisture off using either soft paper towels or dry microfiber cloths, and you’re done!

Regular Maintenance is Key

These steps will help your windshield perform at its absolute best, but they aren’t as effective if they are not done regularly. It would be best to make sure that the window gets this treatment at least once a month.

While it may seem like a bother at first, the result is that you’ll save money on maintenance and have a safer car for yourself and any family members who drive it.

About the Author:

Diana Steele is the owner of Van Isle Glass, a Victoria glass shop celebrating 20 years in the glass business this year! With her combined background in teaching, sales & marketing, she fully understands the significance of exceptional customer service & quality craft. While Diana is focused on her business, she is also a proud community-minded supporter. She attributes her success to her passion for being part of local business, her love of working with people, and her exceptionally talented and hardworking team!