A different cause of windshield film?

I’ve been carpooling with my wife in her 8yo Honda Civic, and despite the car’s age, we’ve both noticed a persistent film on the windshield.

After reading Car Talk’s recent discussion on this topic, I Googled my way to a 1971 article on the Transportation Research Board’s web site that reports on analyses of actual windshield films: http://pub…?id=116440 The authors found that windshield film was mainly composed of engine, tire, and road residues (oil, rubber, asphalt, grease) as well as insect mush - not vinyl emanations. They recommend a mixture of alcohol and detergent for removal.

Has anyone tried this combination? I’m going to give it a shot next time I’m near soap and alcohol at the same time!


There are many different methods/products for cleaning a windshield…I use warm water and a little dish washing detergent. Alcohol is also very good (but expensive). And believe it or not…Windex works great too.

You’re comparing two very different things. The study you site was about films on the outside of the windshield. The vinyl emanations that you refer to would be on the inside of the window.
What are you having trouble with? Films on the inside, or the outside?

I’ve had good luck with Windex and newspaper. Newspaper doesn’t streak like paper towels.

Recently, I had to repeatedly clean the inside of my windshield, as Windex did not do the job properly, nor did other commercial window cleaners, nor did Isopropyl Alcohol.

Finally, I tried straight white vinegar, and it did an incredible job. From now on, I will only use vinegar for this task.

If you read Hints from Heloise, you will find that newspapers and vinager are both the cheapest and one of the most effective window cleaners. My wife has tried everything for the house windows and that combination works best!

Is the problem outside or inside?

I have owned many cars since 68 when I started driving. I bought a used one a couple of years ago and have been tormented with the greasy windsheild problem (my first). The previous owner had had the windsheild replaced and I think that may be the source of the issue. Alcohol did nothing, rainex did nothing, the only solution I seem to end up with to prevent vision debilitating smear is to replace the wiper blades every 3 months or so and a good scrubbing of of the windsheild dish detergent mixed with water and a plastic tuffy.
Napa and ansco seem to work the best, bosh did not. I had heard S&R say on their show a 0000 steel wool was what some people used, but check the radio show as I do not feel safe with that, will not try it yet.

“You’re comparing two very different things.”

That was my first thought, too. But the abstract never says whether the film is on the inside or outside of the windshield.

If you are referring to inside film, I’ve found that rubbing it firmly with crumpled newspaper, no liquid at all, works just fine.

If all of the above sugestions fail (but I don’t think they all will) as a last resort try some “polishing” compound, and if that doesn’t work step up to "rubbing compound"
These are for very tough cases, but it seems as if that’s what you have.
Rubbing compound will take care of everything except the rock pits.