Reflections on Cleanliness: Car Glass Cleaning Helpful Tips

One in five vehicle owners admit they haven’t cleaned their car in months, according to one survey of 2,000 American drivers. Furthermore, the survey revealed that 35% of drivers don’t know how often they should have their car washed. That means by the time vehicles get to your car wash or detailing shop, you’re dealing with significant grime and soil on the vehicle. Glass and windows are some of the most challenging surfaces to deal with, but for car wash owners and attendants aiming to provide optimal service, a streak-free shine is essential to complete the look. A practical cleaning product, the implementation of manual car glass cleaning techniques (with the right tools), and an effective routine has great potential to make a major difference.

Prioritizing an effective cleaner

Cleaning products play a significant role at any car wash. It’s imperative to consider what is in the product in order to guarantee an effective clean. This is particularly important for the windows, as a streak-free shine demonstrates attention to detail while properly addressing the dirt and grime that accumulates on the glass. Understanding the science behind how a streak-free shine and what makes an effective window cleaning product is imperative for car wash owners and attendants, and will further guarantee spotless glass with each vehicle. While it’s tempting to use a non-traditional cleaning method — for example, cleaning bugs from a car with a pressure washer, this can cause damage when done incorrectly. A professional bug remover, however, is specifically formulated to safely clean and remove debris.

car wash employee cleaning a windshield with a towel and spray

The same principle should be applied to all car-cleaning products, but especially when it comes to the windows themselves. While certain specialized cleaners will work better for tinted windows, there are basic components to be aware of in regard to general window cleaning products. The pH level of a glass cleaning solution, for example, plays a major role in the effectiveness of a cleaner. Alkaline properties are necessary in order to emulsify oily substances (which, in turn, make them easier to wipe away).

Surfactants, or surface-active agents, are another key component to an effective cleaning product. This is primarily due to the fact that surfactants work to reduce the surface tension of the water. That allows it to spread across the glass surface in an even way. Surfactants also work to catch dirt particles by lifting them off of the glass surface, which will make it easier to clean. It’s worth mentioning that some cleaning solutions contain alcohol or ammonia (which works to speed up the drying process), though these are best reserved for windows that are not tinted, as such products can result in damage.

Want more information on cleaning products? Check out our Car Wash Glass Cleaners blog post!

The value in manual car glass cleaning

An automated car wash can be the most convenient way to clean a vehicle as a whole, though when it comes to details like windows, a manual clean is optimal in order to achieve the absolute best results. When an attendant takes the time to detail the windows both inside and out, addressing the glass with the proper tools that will guarantee a proper clean and streak-free shine. With that in mind, however, attendants must utilize the right tools.

blue diamond weave towel for glass cleaning
Dr. Joe’s Ultra-56 Microfiber Towel features a diamond-weave pattern that effectively scrapes and scrubs dirt off of glass!


Rather than the standard paper towel (which can result in unwanted streaks and even the redistribution of grime onto the glass surface), a microfiber cloth is a far more effective tool for the sake of obtaining perfectly streak-free glass. In addition to being super absorbent, a microfiber towel grips and lifts up the dirt, dust, and grime away from the surface. Microfiber towels are particularly great for glass, as they’re non-abrasive, and they’re reusable, too. For car wash owners, this translates to an eco-friendly and cost-effective implementation that will reduce waste with the guarantee of clean windows each and every time.

Get in-depth information from our Choosing the Correct Glass Towels blog post. It includes helpful advice from towel expert Dr. Joe!


squeegee for car glass cleaning
Harper is a great option for quality auto squeegees at very reasonable prices. Harper 642 Squeegee shown.

A small squeegee is another essential tool that will seriously benefit the cleaning process to effectively prevent streaks. With that in mind, it’s imperative to remember that maintenance is a key aspect of any properly working squeegee. One Family Handyman article recommends keeping the tool fitted with a sharp, new rubber blade, though stresses the importance of having extras on hand. “You can get a little more mileage out of blades that aren’t nicked or sliced by simply reversing them to expose a fresh edge.” Storing the squeegee properly is another essential in any car wash. It’s imperative to store the tool in a way that prevents anything from touching (and bending) the blade.

Developing a tried-and-true car glass cleaning routine

Car washes aiming to maximize efficiency can benefit greatly from developing (and sticking to) a tried-and-true routine for window cleaning. The Spruce stresses the importance of first taking the time to clean the rest of the vehicle’s interior and exterior before addressing the windows. Adopting a basic window cleaning routine is a great start.

According to The Spruce, removing dust and debris from the exterior windows is essential before cleaning, and then inspecting them for additional debris (bird droppings or dried insects, etc.). From there, it’s smart to dry and buff the glass before moving on to the interior of the glass. While a basic routine is a great start, incorporating tools such as squeegees, microfiber cloths, and effective cleaning products is essential. Developing techniques that are conducive to productivity (and cleanliness) is crucial. This involves changing out microfiber cloths as needed throughout the cleaning process, as well as incorporating proper maintenance practices.

Car washes can benefit greatly from a meticulous window cleaning routine that utilizes the right products, tools, and techniques. By taking the time to address these valuable components, car washes can implement a window cleaning regime that keeps a streak-free shine at the forefront of the job.

Looking to achieve the best results with your in-bay automatic car wash equipment? Read this related post:

Automatic Car Wash Window Cleaning

, |, |, |
Previous Post
Soft Wash Pump Buyers Guide
Next Post
Operator Spotlight: U Wash Auto Systems
No results found.