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How Do I Get Streak-Free Windows?

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There is nothing worse than spending a Sunday afternoon cleaning your car only to later discover a big streak in the front windshield as you go cruising down the road! Most people are quick to blame the cleaner they used, but in my experience streaking usually boils down to the cleaning process, and not so much the product.

The biggest mistake people make when cleaning windows is only using one towel to clean all the windows on the car. What they don’t realize is that after each consecutive window they clean, the towel not only becomes saturated with cleaner, but it also gets caked with all the dirt and grime you’ve picked up along the way. So basically, after a few windows you are just smearing around all that crud, which is what usually causes the streaking. Incidentally, if your towel is saturated you will never really able to dry the glass either…have you ever tried to dry a car with a wet towel before?

The solution to steak-free windows is what I call the “two towel method.” The key to this method is to always have a second clean, dry towel to follow the first. On most cars I will actually use a total of 4 towels, 2 for the driver side and 2 for the passenger side. It is also best to use lint-free towels like the DI Micro Fiber Glass Polishing towels.

First, spray the window with a cleaner like Stoner’s Invisible Glass, using enough product to lightly cover the glass. You don’t want to overuse the cleaner, but you want enough so that it can effectively loosen all the dirt and grime. Next you want to take your main cleaning towel and quickly wipe the window starting with the outer edges and working your way in. Just before the cleaner starts to evaporate you want to take your second towel and quickly wipe over the window until it’s completely dry and streak free and you’re done!

Tips:
-For hard to reach areas a tool like the Easy Reach Mini Mop are a must have.
-Don’t forget to clean the top edge of the door windows as this is commonly missed area. I always roll the windows down about an inch and clean this area first.

Hope this helps,

If you have any additional comments or questions, please submit your reply in the comment box below.

Chad Rskovich Rasky's Auto Detailing
Chad Raskovich
Rasky's Auto Detailing
Minneapolis, MN
RaskyAutoDetailing.com

8 comments on How Do I Get Streak-Free Windows?

  1. Jeff P says:

    Hey Chad, thanks for that write up. I also wanted to throw in what I’ve noticed really helps to since we are on the subject. I tend to fold the towel I’m using evenly, and use the palm of my hand to wash the windows.

    Now this may seem obvious to some, but I found a lot of people bunch up the towel, and use their finger tips to wipe, this can create an “uneven” look.

    I also use two towels per window.

    Thanks!

  2. Mike S says:

    Hey Chad,
    I have heard using newspaper works well when cleaning your glass. Have you ever heard this? Thanks.

    • Hi Mike,

      I personally have never been a fan of using newspaper to clean glass. I found it very hard to grab a hold of and it simply didn’t work as well as some other towels for me.

      The newspaper method has been around for a long time and is definitely “old school”. Unfortunately things change and the kerosene based ink used back in the day to print newspapers is no longer used, thus newspaper is not as effective at glass cleaning as it used to be. ;)

      Hope this helps,
      Rasky

  3. Ray Scott says:

    I started doing this recently and it does make a big difference.

  4. Nick The Greek says:

    Hi there. excelent write-up.
    Are there any differences between household glass cleaners and cleaners designed for car windows?
    thanks in advance.

    Nick the Greek.

  5. James Tschirhart says:

    I don’t know how good this method is but this is how I go about cleaning my exterior windows

    microfiber towel and IPA 50/50 Mix quick clean to remove dust and pollen from the windows
    then repeat with a new clean MF towel scrubbing more to remove as much contaminants from the surface
    (optional) if the windows have excessive contaminants that can’t be removed with IPA I take a clay bar and quick detailer and clay bar the windows quickly making sure I get everything. then I wipe down again with IPA
    lastly instead of using rain-x I take my favorite wax of the week and thinly apply to all the exterior windows including the side mirrors and headlight lenses. let dry and remove.
    Final wipedown with quick detailer and clean microfiber towel and viola clean and protected windows

  6. [...] with the exterior nearly completed, grab your glass cleaner and your wheel and tire supplies and complete the finishing touches. Once you get this process [...]

  7. MITCH says:

    I have a 57 bel air chev..restored…have tried all of the above and still have the greasy streaks or buff streaks
    inside and out..about to give up…
    especially in the sun.. at car shows we fight it all the time…. streaks… streaks.. thanks for any help md

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