Removing Windshield Streaks
Streaks on your windshield are not okay when you’re trying to drive. For starters, it’s not only frustrating but also dangerous because it obstructs your field of view while you’re driving.
While understanding how to operate a car and a good response time is essential to driving, being able to see is paramount.
Streaks on your windshield can cause an increase in glare, and it can make it difficult to see at night due to the light from oncoming cars. One way to combat the struggles of driving in darkness is to eliminate windshield streaks.
If you’ve got a streaky windshield, you may be ready to consider hiring a professional or detail shop to clean your car. However, before you spend that money unnecessarily, you may want to consider taking a few steps to treat the problem yourself.
As windshield wipers age and wear down from use, streaks can become a bigger problem, especially when it’s raining. Whether it’s been continuously raining or just sporadically raining, you’re more likely to use your windshield wipers, and this is likely to cause more streaks.
When you’re preparing to travel, it’s an excellent idea to check the car for any spots or stains and do your best to remove windshield streaks before your trip. Here’s what you’ll need and the steps you can take to remove windshield streaks effectively for yourself.
How To Remove Streaking
If you’re ready to begin the process of removing streaks from your windshield, here are the materials you’ll need.
- Microfiber cloth for dusting
- Auto glass cleaner or standard glass cleaner
- Microfiber cloth or a newspaper for cleaning
Step One: Get The Windshield Ready
As you prepare to work on the windshield, it’s essential to prepare your windshield. Before you start to clean your windshield, turn off the car’s engine completely. Allow the car to sit in the shade and cool off. This will prevent the evaporation of the cleaner.
A great way to ensure that your windshield has enough time to cool off is to wash the rest of the car before you do the windshield.
Another way to prepare the windshield is to make sure the windshield wipers are in their natural position. This will make it easier to raise and lower the wipers as needed without damaging your windshield wipers.
If you are renting a vehicle, be sure to check the windshield wiper blades to help you find any streaks that may need your attention.
Step Two: Pre-Clean The Windshield
Once you’re ready to begin cleaning the windshield, to get an effective clean, dust the windshield while it’s dry with a clean microfiber cloth. This step will help remove any particles that may be on the glass that could cause scratches.
Dusting with a clean microfiber cloth in this pre-clean step will also give you a better clean when you apply the glass cleaner. If you are using a new, clean microfiber cloth, there isn’t much to worry about with this step.
If you want to use a microfiber cloth that you’ve washed, it’s important to remember that you should avoid harsh detergents, fragrances, or softeners. These additives can coat your microfiber cloths and make them less effective. This is even more important when you’re trying to remove streaks because you don’t want to make them worse.
Microfiber is recommended for the cloth type because they typically absorb more dirt and leave less lint behind than other cloth types like cotton.
Step 3: Cleaner Time
There are auto glass cleaners and traditional all-purpose glass cleaners. Choose the cleaner that works best for you.
Apply a generous amount of cleaner to your windshield, and be sure to spray the cleaner on the entire surface of the windshield.
It’s best to work from the top down as you spray. You will notice that the cleaner drips down the windshield surface, but this is to be expected. The cleaner that drips down the windshield will help further apply cleaner to the surface.
You’ll want to stay within 12 inches of the surface as you spray to reduce the amount of cleaner that can be lost to the air as you spray.
Step 4: Wash on, Wash Off
After the surface is well-covered with a glass cleaner, take another clean microfiber cloth or a wadded newspaper to work the cleaner into the glass. Using an up-and-down motion will give you the best result for rubbing the glass cleaner into the windshield.
While you’re rubbing the cleaner sufficiently into the glass, be sure to give extra attention to the areas that have been streaked. Avoiding a side-to-side motion will reduce the chances of adding new streaks through your cleaning.
Remember to work quickly to avoid your cleaner drying up on you before you’ve finished, and as before, if you are using a microfiber cloth that you’ve washed, be sure you didn’t use anything that could leave the cloth coated and cause more streaks. If you’re unsure, it’s best to use a new microfiber cloth.
Cleaning glass with newspaper is also a great way to reuse them, and it gives a better streak-free clean than other disposable options like a paper towel. Paper towels can also leave lint behind on your windshield.
Step 5: Don’t Forget To Clean Under The Blades
Since you left the windshield wipers in a natural position, it will be easier to lift the wiper blades at this time. Lift your wiper blades to allow access to the rest of your windshield’s surface.
Be sure to check that the area under your wiper blades got cleaner applied properly. If there is not enough cleaner, spray this area again. You’ll continue to use the previous up-and-down motion to clean the surface under the blades to complete your windshield’s cleaning.
Step 6: Inspection Time
At this time, since the blades are upright, inspect your wipers to see if they need a new replacement. If old wiper blades are part of your streaking problem, it’s a good idea to replace them as you’re cleaning your windshield before they can put new streaks on your windshield.
The life expectancy of your wiper blades is about six to 12 months. You’ll want to look for dullness, tearing, or brittle areas. If your wiper blades are in bad shape, don’t wait for the normal life expectancy to replace them.
If you are cleaning the windshield of a rental car and notice any wiper damage, you’ll want to talk with your rental car company about replacing the blades before you drive away.
Step 7: If At First You Don’t Succeed
If you still notice streaks after the cleaner has dried, it may be necessary to make another attempt to clean the windshield. As you work your way through the cleaning process for a second time, be sure to apply more pressure and more glass cleaner than in your previous attempt.
At this point, if streaking has persisted through multiple cleanings, it may be time to consider that the car’s windshield has sustained damage that has the appearance of streaking. Check for scratches or glass defects in the windshield. It may be necessary to replace the windshield if the streaking can’t be fixed.
Removing windshield streaks can be something you can do for yourself with just a few steps. It can save you time and money to work through the process yourself, and you may even find wiper blade or windshield damage that can be addressed before streaks become a bigger problem for you.
Driving at Night | nsc.org
Best Practices for Environmental Cleaning in Healthcare Facilities: in Resource-Limited Settings Version 2 | cdc.gov
Summertime the Right Time to Check Wiper Blades | carcarenews.org.