Tip Sheet

Hazy windshield? Here’s how to clean it

PHOTO: Enzo Ticzon

One of the most important factors that greatly affect your safety on the road is your view ahead while driving. Good visibility from behind the wheel allows you to see the road properly and maintain awareness of your surroundings.

But in some situations—like driving through a storm, for instance—your view of the road ahead is inevitably compromised. It’s natural for you to experience low visibility in the middle of heavy rains. Even worse, tackling these extreme conditions with a dirty windshield will increase your risk of getting in an accident.

A number of factors make your windshield dirty both inside and out, such as the ever-changing weather and the pollution in the metro. Every time the car doors open or whenever you drive with the windows down, dirt from outside also gets into the cabin. And if you smoke—or allow others to—in your car, this would result in dirtier windows as well.

In several cases, however, what affects car windows the most is the off-gassing that occurs within the vehicle. This is a phenomenon that causes the oily film on the interior side of the windshield, which then results in streaking as well as increased glare at night. Not many drivers are familiar with this, so a lot of people have a hard time getting rid of that ‘hazy’ view from behind the wheel.

Addressing the issue by trying to clean the glass with a wet piece of cloth will not cut it—it’s not that simple. Luckily, we’ve got you covered—check out the tips below on how to keep your windshield squeaky-clean. You’ll only need a few pieces of microfiber cloth, rubbing alcohol, and a glass cleaner for this. Oh, and you’ll also need some decent shade to work under.


1) Begin by cleaning the windshield’s exterior side.

To properly see the problem areas on the inner surface of your windshield, you should clean the outer surface first. After washing it with the usual car shampoo and water, you will need to clean it more thoroughly using a glass cleaner. This will ensure that the dirt that could not be removed by the initial cleaning will be completely washed off.

It doesn’t really matter which brand you’re using, but it’s best to stick to a brand you trust. What’s important is when applying these chemicals, you should spray them directly onto the windshield and use a microfiber cloth—not a chamois—to wipe the glass for best results. Always remember to alternate between vertical and horizontal motions only to avoid streaks, and to rinse the glass well with water afterwards.

Others also apply some wax on the windshield to maintain its clean and clear condition as long as possible, and to help maintain good visibility when driving under heavy rains.

2) Don’t forget your wiper blades.

Once you’re done with the glass, you need to make sure to do this one extra step just so your efforts won’t go to waste once you’re finally done. You wouldn’t want the dirt buildup on your wiper blades to mess up all your good work, right? Besides, when the rains pour, your near-mint-condition windshield won’t matter if your wipers aren’t in good shape, anyway. In case you have no idea how to clean ’em, here’s how you do it. When you finish, you can then move on to the inside.

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3) Degrease the interior surface of the windshield.

Begin by wiping the glass with a clean and dry microfiber towel. Then, proceed to wipe the glass with rubbing alcohol using another clean piece of microfiber cloth. You may also use other cleaning products to do this, but rubbing alcohol is a common household item, so you can stick to that.

Once you’ve applied the rubbing alcohol, wipe it dry using—yet again—another clean microfiber towel. In case you have no access to such material, you may use a paper towel instead. It won’t damage your windshield, but it won’t be as effective as microfiber. Regardless of what you’re using, be sure to wipe the glass in circular motions, and to completely wipe all the edges to get the best results. 

4) Lastly, apply more glass cleaner—on the interior side, this time.

You may use the same product you used to clean the outer surface of your windshield, but be sure to not apply it directly onto the glass this time around to keep the product from dripping onto the dashboard. Apply the glass cleaner using—you guessed it—a microfiber towel, and wipe the windshield with circular motions.

Once you’ve finished with that, switch over to the clean side of the towel and start wiping the glass with vertical motions. The glass should be spotless by the time you finish.

For a more detailed tutorial on steps 3 and 4, you can check out the embedded video below:


Do note, however, that off-gassing also affects other windows, not just your front windshield—the same cleaning procedures apply. As for rear windows with tint, cleaning them with soapy water will do.

If you have similar tips under your sleeve, feel free to share them in the comments.

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PHOTO: Enzo Ticzon
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