Glass Cleaning Revisited
March 30, 2012 05:54AM
Everyone :
Are there any new developments in glass cleaning. Add your tips now if you wish...

Here's the Glass Cleaning Compendium , reprinted for everyone's convenience :

Re: Glass cleaning--Accumulated Wisdom
Posted by: Doug Delmont (IP Logged)
Date: June 01, 2007 11:48AM

Here is a quote of Ron Ketcham from a past thread :
" Dedicated surgical towels, washed seperately from all other towels. Never use fabric softeners. Two towels, folded into quarters. Mist the entire glass area, agitate with one folded towel, then wipe dry, going in the opposite direction with the second towel. You wouldn't try to sand a piece of wood with the sand paper all bunched up, would you? The folded surgical towels contact the glass evenly, both the agitation one, and the wipe off one. Once one piece of glass is done, flip to the clean part of both towels, mist the next piece of glass entirely (let the glass cleaner do it's job of disolving the grime), then wipe with the drying towel. Never use a towel that has been used to remove wax, sealant, dressings, etc. for glass.No matter how many times you wash them, they still have some residue and that transfers out of the towel to the glass..."

Here is a quote from Auto Appearances : " Try distilled water. Maybe that will work. Think it is .59 a gallon. Had a large job I was doing and ran out of window cleaner... Thankfully there was a Super Walmart across the street. I bought a bottle of 70% Isop. Alcohol and a gallon of distilled water. Mixed a 50/50 bottle. It worked very well. I sprayed the solution onto a window cloth ; did not want the stuff on plastic or the paint..."

And a quote from Steve Okun:
" I also like what Ketch suggested... with one modification. Try applying the detergent via a sponge dipped in and squeezed out of a container of window cleaning solution. Box the window with the wet sponge...and then fill in the box. Follow up with a surgical or microfiber towel to dry and buff to a streak-free finish. The reason I like to use an applicator instead of a spray is because the friction contact breaks the surface tension and removes the film. The drying action collects the dirty solution. No streaks! With a spray, you frequently do not spray all the surface, so when you rub a damp towel across the missed area, you smear the undisolved residue. Surgical towels are a tight, cotton, herringbone weave that is great for hard surfaces like glass..."

Here are quotes from Brian Angelucci :
" Save your money and buy a 5 gallon pail of Invisible Glass for $49. You'll love it "...
"1. During the wash, clay the glass.
2. With the car completely dry, spray the windows with your favorite glass cleaner and immediately wipe with a surgical huck towel. Surgical huck towels are so much better than microfiber towels. Streak free every time. I get mine from WC Detail and they are very cheaply priced. No lint! I used to use microfiber but now only use the huck. All cleaners evaporate quickly in direct sun so wipe quickly..." " Another cool technique is to use one of those long spackling knives. Wrap with microfiber and press down into the dash/window area that's hard to reach and that will get where you can't. "

This quote is from David R :
" I bought a Glass Test Report from . They ranked Bon Ami #1, Clear Vue by Turtle Wax #2, & Sprayway #3. They really liked Invisible Glass, but felt it left a slight film. I personally can't remember having any problems with it before...The Eimann Fabrik wasn't so good on "Soiled" glass, they said. They felt it rolled off dirt and wiping the product off only smeared it around. Their biggest suggestion seemed to be to use #0000 steel wool with any glass cleaning product and they all will work well." ** Editor's note : Brass wool is softer than steel wool and will not scratch. ** " If the person was a smoker, follow Ron's process and use an all-purpose cleaner first to clean -- then the Invisible Glass to clean, shine and streak-free windows. "

Quotes from NEW AGAIN :
" Stoner products are good, but not great. I use Meguiar's glass cleaner and mix with DISTILLED water as per directions and use the 2 rag method, one being a MF cloth. I start with all the windows cracked about 3 inches to clean the lips of the windows [GOOD IDEA]. Then the windows are rolled back up. I start with the inside first. " "...whatever direction I use to clean the inside, I do the opposite on the outside [ so I can tell whether the streaks are on the interior or exterior ]. " " The two towel method (cotton/surgical) is what I use. I never spray the windows ; I spray my glass cleaner on the cotton towel and dry with the surgical. Stoner is a good glass cleaner. Multi-surface cleaner is a big no no and glass cleaner with ammonia is bad for tinted windows..."

A quote from Paul M :
" I can vouch for AIO on glass. Some time back I tried to get horrific water staining off the rear windscreen of my Alfa (previous owner). I tried everything including very abrasive metal polishes. None completely removed them. Then I tried AIO with a 4" cutting pad and PC. It worked so incredibly well...completely cleaned the mineral stains. Klasse is a miraculous product! "

Quotes from Bud Abraham:
" ...Another culprit to clean glass [ trouble ] is the cleaner, if you are using a concentrated cleaner. Should you have, say, a 30 to 1 dilution cleaner you MUST dilute it 30 to 1 or the surfactant (soap) in the cleaner will streak the glass. Whatever the dilution, be sure you dilute to that level or more to avoid streaking..." " a. Use ready to use glass cleaner instead of a homemade concoction.
b. Spray the cleaner on the window
c. Use only towels are dedicated to windows. Using towels that have silicone
and grease in them is a HUGE part of the streaking problem.
d. Use two towels, one for cleaning and one for drying.
e. Fold the towels into pads.
f. Square the window on the first pass.
g. Flip it over and fill in the center.
h. Repeat that process for drying.

A quote from Mike R :
" ...Wash my hucks solo with hot water, very little (if any) detergent, and white vinegar. Since they're only used on regular clients' cars with perpetually clean windows, they don't ever get that dirty and always do a GREAT job, no matter what kind of cleaner I use. "

Quoting Dan Draper :
"... I wash the surgical towels and the microfiber towels together with a little vinigar to break down the waxes. This way there is minimal lint..." " I do many windows in direct sunlight, all you need is 1 part denatured alchohol and 4 parts water, spray on and wipe with a surgical towel, flip the towel over to the dry side and wipe again. Its the easiest and most efficient way I have found..."

Quoting Toddco Bodywerkes :
" We have been using Sprayway glass cleaner for the past fifteen years & haven't had any complaints with streaking or smearing. "..." You will see fantastic results with the Stoners Invisible Glass & a cloth diaper. As for the hard to reach areas, you can use a simple wood paint stick wrapped with a paper towel to get in those hard to reach areas. "

Quoting Wayne :
"...Gunk glass cleaner. It comes in a spray can and works GREAT! no fumes and tint safe too! (and about 1/2 the price of Stoner's). "

Quoting Anthony Orosco :
" Microfiber towels are also used for window cleaning but many detailers prefer the surgical towels because even MF's can leave a lint trail. I use surgical towels for the interior and MF's for the exterior "... " To strip a window you can use alcohol and water in a 50/50 mix or a vinegar/water mixture. You can then use your regular window cleaner now with the towel of your choice. For me nothing beats my home made cleaner and a micro fiber towel. Stay away from the real plush MF's for windows because they leave fiber lint that is invisible to the eye unless it catches light. MF's for windows should be soft but not overly plush. "..."
First, don't use newspaper print, at least not the type with ink on it for the ink can smear the windows. They may look clean but the ink can be transferred to the window and fog up the window or it can also be transferred to the carpet, vinyl or leather seats. If you like the paper then buy blank newsprint type paper.
Second, you may want to mix up a bottle of distilled water and sudsy ammonia, just be easy on the ammonia because it can be a real wake up call if inhaled. This is used as a "stripper"... for those really bad windows where the streaks just seem to go from one side of the window to the other. Smokers windows are notorious for this. After you clean the window with this stripper, hit it once more with your regular window cleaner. The Stoner stuff is good to use.
Third, if you clean your windows first, like the windshield, then worry about getting dressing on your clean window, don't fret. Wear a surgical glove and apply the dressing carefully on a sponge (not so much that it soaks thru), then apply it to the dashboard. The glove will keep the oils from your hand smearing your clean window and also keep the dressing from soaking through to your hand...
Fifth, make sure there is no fabric softner in the rince cycle and no dryer sheets in the dryer.
Sixth, do not attempt to clean windows where you have also washed the car and there is evaporating water. It can play heck with wiping off wax and windows. "... "... cornstarch, applied with a damp terry cloth towel polishes glass fairly well and is safe to use. I would stay away from steel wool but I have had great success with chrome polish on some glass when seeking to remove hard water spots. A vinegar wash can also do wonders but you need to let it dwell on the glass and it should be cool and in the shade, in the cool part of the day also so as not to evaporate so quickly. Many detailers soak a terry towel in the vinegar and then lay it on the glass, let it sit for a few minutes and then scrub the glass with the towel. Rinse and dry, inspect, and repeat if needed. " "Zaino makes a great window cleaner/polish as does [ One Grand]. The [One Grand] cleaner seems to have a bit more cleaning power but the Zaino is easier to use and less mess. " "I use one wet microfiber and then buff dry with a waffle weave microfiber."

Quoting Jackimoe :
"...Fort Howard type blue paper towels. These do a much better job than micro-fiber towels on glass. After a few years of testing the micro-fiber towels, I have noticed that they tend to leave a film or don't absorb the dirt and glass cleaner they are supposed to. This results in the glass getting hazy much quicker..."

Quoting Matthew Gibb :
" Most of the time I use Omikron Klearview blue, which not only does an awesome streak-free job on the glass but shines up wheels, hard plastic mirror backings, is safe on paintwork if you overspray and also brings rubber seals back to life. However, if I come across some really bad windows I dry with perforated chamois and then de-mist and polish the windows with Lanotec CITRA FORCE which contains citrus peel extracts. But sometimes I must get out my tiny foam brush and AUTOSOL to fix scratched glass and water spots. "

Quoting Ghost From The Past :
" No matter what you decide to use to clean the windows, use a leather chamois for a final buff, (after it has been washed & dried in a load of laundry). It will leave the windows streak-free. "..." The best method I've found for the cleanest windows is Rain-X, both inside and out. Trust me, there's a method to my madness. Apply the Rain-X to the glass with a paper towel. Wipe the glass with a damp cloth, then buff with a clean micro-fiber for perfect windows. The Rain-X on the inside glass makes subsequent cleanings easier, even if you're a smoker and get cigarette smoke film on the windows.

Quoting Don M :
FOR HOT WEATHER In SUN- " Simple two step method. Take a small hand towel (cotton diaper) and dampen (just wet enough to leave a light water trail on glass). Use a spray on glass cleaner and spray the window. Wipe off with damp cloth. Take a bath towel (dry) and buff the glass...PERFECTION . In the hot, the cleaner evaporates, but not all of the cleaner, JUST the water portion. Wiping this will cause smears. Using a damp cloth lets the cleaners do their job without smearing (too, it soaks up the excess cleaner). The dry towel buffs off the light water/cleaner spots leaving the glass perfect. "

Quoting Angelo Appi :
" The 00 Steel Wool is too coarse. Use nothing higher than 000 steel wool on the windows. Depending how long the waterspots have been on the glass and if they are water spots and not acid rain marks, which would resemble each other. The steel wool (Lightly) with window Cleaner with high alcohol or vinegar content should do the job. You always should use a window cleaner with a high alcohol or vinegar content when it comes to cleaning windows. The more water you have, the more streaks you will get. The other window cleaners will evaporate a lot quicker, allowing fewer streaks. "

Quoting Terri :
" ...There is a product on the Market called 'Ducky', out of Pasadena California that is made for Marine use that really seems to help get out the water spots..."

Quoting Rob M :
" Exterior windows are usually cleaned when I wash the car. But to get rid of the water spots, I use Clear Difference by Auto Magic. I clean all windows with clear difference and a window towel (NO LINT) Then I go over all the windows with Invisible Glass by Stoner with a microfiber to make sure all streaks are gone. The clear difference will get rid of 85 - 95% of all smoke, finger prints, grease, oils etc. and the Invisible Glass will clean the rest and leave the window 100%..."

Unnamed person quoted, posted by webmaster:
" May I share something with you that works well for me? : To clean glass use a minimal amount (literally, just a pinch) of corn starch. If you're well- heeled, use Johnson & Johnson baby powder, again use just a pinch. Why Johnson's brand? Government testing (yes, all available powders were tested) revealed Johnson's was the most pure (read: clean and consistant in size)...
Wash and completely dry vehicle. Apply the powder to a slightly dampened clean (100%) cotton cloth and lightly rub (in an east-west direction) a 6" area at a time. Without applying more powder, go over the area again (in a north-south direction). Wipe clean all residue before continuing. For best results, this portion of the vehicle cleaning should be done in an enclosed area to minimize flying powder. Use a clean, dry toothbrush to remove excess powder from the glass surround. Work's great on moonroofs too. It will leave them clean, streak free and smooth to the touch.
To some, this method is overkill. To me it's absolutely the best way to clean windows. "

Quoting C.M. Gaines :
" need bright, direct, indoor lighting to NOTICE the streaks completely as you clean windows or if you must, check after in the direct sun outdoors.

Quoting Jon Miller :
"...Tried this product today-works really well on surface water spots. This glass cleaner (Glass Scrub™) removes insect smear, road oils, mineral deposits, lime scale, tree sap and more. A heavy-duty, cream cleanser that deep cleans auto glass safely and effectively without strong acids, alkalis, phosphates or solvents. It is specifically formulated to clean glass without scratching. The best time to use Glass Scrub is after you've washed the car but before you dry it. The glass must still be wet. I apply a small amount of product on a folded glass cleaning cloth, rubbing the glass in circular motions, making sure to apply to all areas thoroughly. Flip the cloth to a clean, dry surface and rub again. "

Quoting John Finby :
" I like to mix a gallon of water with the right amount of window cleaner concentrate and let a towel soak in the bucket of water and cleaner. Then I simply wipe the windows with the wrung-out towel and dry/buff the windows. This cleaner can be reused, but obviously get a new wet towel everyday and of course a new drying towel. Most important is what was said above ; not to mix your towels when cleaning them. "

Quoting Wendy :
" I mix my own [glass cleaner] : 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water, a couple of drops of a biodegradable dish soap. cheap, easy, works, eco-friendlier. "

Quote of Pro Auto Clean :
"...Eastwood products makes a kit that will give you all the stuff to polish your glass, and its pretty reasonable too. I have one, it works, but be patient. "

Quote of Jerry Slater :
( on removing deposits from windshield interiors ) " ...Windex ,Clear-Vue window cleaner. The object is to clean the window in normal fashion with one window cleaner. Dry and start over with the other window cleaner. I guess it doesn't matter what the brand names of the cleaners are, but they have to be different base cleaners. Examples : vinegar base, alcohol base, ammonia base. It seems that there are quite a few different chemical gases leaking from the vinyl interiors and it takes couple different cleaners to cut it. "

Quoting turbomangt :
" ... Most problems with windows is getting the area around the trim (both inside and out) clean. Because of the design of our hands (unless you are spider man) you can't get your fingers even around the trim. Take your favorite glass cleaner, and a plastic net type sponge, spray the glass lightly and use the net sponge all along those tight areas, (the net will force its way tight up against the trim, cleaning it well) then finish up with your mirco fiber towel. I know this seems simple, but what a difference it makes. It's easy , doesn't take any more time, and the glass comes out R-E-A-L nice. "

Quoting John Sharp :
"I recently tried the One Grand Glass Polish. I liked it. I will use it again. I liked the results. "

Quoting Jim Hamill :
" I use RTU glass cleaner. Spray it on to a cotton towel and wipe the top half of one side, wipe with a MF towel, do the rest of the windshield one quarter at a time. The MF towel is great at getting into those tight little spots. The bits that it does not reach, I use one of those little spongies that some people use for painting. "

Quoted From Kevin Farrell's article posted on Mobileworks by Kleen Car :
"I use a combination of different towels. We all agree that micro fiber is the best choice for cleaning. However, some micro fiber towels do not absorb water very well and this is problematic in window cleaning. A regular micro fiber towel tends to push the liquid around the glass and never get absorbed in the towel. You need a towel that not only will clean, but will also be absorbent. With that in mind, I will use a surgical towel to perform the “cleaning” part of the process, and I use a waffle weave micro fiber towel to use as a “final buff” towel to ensure any and all residue has been wiped off.
Before you start : The first thing to look for in cleaning windows is if there is any glue residue from old decals or stickers on the glass. If so, use an older towel to remove the glue and keep your actual window towels clean. You never want any glue on your towels as that will smear all over the glass you are trying to clean. "

Editor's Note :
The following link is to an article on laundering towels for glass : []

Quoted from Matt Williams on Mobileworks Forum :
" I think the type of towel you use is crucial to maintaining streak free windows. I was a believer in a plush microfiber towel to clean windows. The towels I used were for cleaning windows only, were properly washed and gently dried. However, they always seemed to leave streaks after being in use for a bit. Could have been that I was picking up some of the dressing from the dash, but I was always careful with these particular towels. I switched from microfiber to the surgical huck towels and 3M Glass cleaner (pre-made in the can) and have had perfect windows since. I also use one side of the towel to clean the surface and the other "virgin" side to dry surface. These towels have made a huge difference, and now cleaning windows aren't such a nightmare!! Good luck. "

Quoting a former pro detailer :
" Coffee filters work in place of towels for wiping glass. "

Quoted from Autopia Forum post by Dietoremain :
"Meguiars NXT Glass Cleaner, amazing stuff."

Quote of Mobile Jay from Autopia Forum :
"I have used Stoners and didn't like it so much. the others I haven't used but my favorite is from Auto Magic. Its simply called glass cleaner-ready to use and its #64. I buy it by the gallon and its really amazing. and I used Z12 to polish extremly bad water spots and it worked way beyond my expectations."

Quote of JimWh from Autopia Forum :
"I actually brew my own. Either thirds of Alcohol, Vinegar and filtered water or 50/50 of Alcohol & filtered water. "

Quote from forum :
" Alright. I clean approx. 100 windshields a day...
Here is what you do:
1.Start the car
2.Take a quality cleaner such as Stoners Invisible Glass, or Pro Glass foam cleaner
3.Spray the window as needed
4.Crank up the defroster as high as it goes, as hot as it goes.
5.Take a slightly damp terry cloth, or very soft rag (if you wash your rags with out putting them in the dryer *ie when you take them out of the washer, fold them and leave them to dry on their own, they work exclent).
6.Box the window
7.With long strokes side to side, move your way from the bottom to the top.
8.Flip rag, and box window again.
9.Allow defroster to completely dry window, and it should be 100% streak free. "

Quote from Mobileworks forum :
" I would add how important it is to check glass from a variety of angles for streaks. The angle you see when cleaning can disguise many imperfections. The combination of Cobra microweave waffle window towels (from and Stoner's Invisible Glass has been a superb one for me."

Quote from :
" Another tool which can lower the amount of stress you place on your body when detailing is the Glass Master Pro. This tool allows you to reach far away corners of the windshield or the rear window without contorting or straining your body. "

Editor's notes :
I've had good luck with the glass cleaning blue paper towels used in gas stations . I've read that some types of newpaper use ink that can smear glass. Someone suggested obtaining the paper without print on it for less mess, etc.
I use Griot's disposable lint-free cloths. Top-of-the-line sells a similar product. The advantages include no laudering time or expense and no left-over residues after washing. I cannot claim to produce perfect windows myself so others will have to evaluate the disposables for themselves.
One forum member emphasized going over the windows with a dry towel to "buff" away any smears.
Anthony advocated using a strong ammonia solution on smokers' windows ( not aftermarket tinted ) as a stripper to be followed with an alcohol cleaner such as Invisible Glass by Stoner.
Finish up with horizontal strokes inside and vertical strokes outside and you'll be able to tell which side the streaks are on.
Household paper towels can contain glues which will streak.
The October 2008 issue of Consumer Reports P.9 reported on a test of 10 household window cleaners. The winner was Windex No Drip Streak Free Foaming Action.

CR included a recipe for home brew window cleaner too :
1/2 cup sudsy ammonia
1 tsp. Dishwashing liquid
1 Pt. rubbing alcohol
Enough water to make a gallon ( apply with a spray bottle ) .

From Xcentrick :
Want to find out if you did a good job on your windows? At night take a bright light and shine onto the outside of your windows at an angle with everthing else aroung you dark. You'll be amazed at what you see! BTW, this is the best time to clean your windows.

I always scrape my windows with a blade and then clay bar (commercial brand-purple) them before cleaning and waxing.

Chamois is last step.
From Ryan185 :
My step dad showed me a trick he picked up for cleaning windows. After using a glass cleaner and a dry towel, use a waffle weave cloth like one of the waterless wash cloths and vigorously rub out the streaks...It works very well!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/30/2012 05:56AM by Doug Delmont.
Re: Glass Cleaning Revisited
March 30, 2012 10:06PM
Permanon autoshine is mediocre on paint but it is amazing on glass. It refuses to smear even with towels that have been used before. I think the small bottle makes about 4 litres but I have the mixture in a small spritzer bottle - trust me, a little goes a long way and you literally can't see the glass. Very economical.
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