Best remedy for cleaning glass?

Age old question(s), and age old source of consternation and frustration. What’s the best solution for cleaning glass, leaving it streak free (especially the interior side of the windshield) and with the longest lasting results. I like the old newspaper trick, but not crazy about vinegar and water on interior trim pieces. And newspaper leaves more post cleanup than microfiber or paper towels do. Who’s got the hot lick?

I like the canned spray foam window cleaner with paper towels. A key point, however, is how much chemical buildup you have on the inside of the glass. Interior plastics out-gas a nasty film that is tough to remove from interior glass. I have used Windex, lacquer thinner, acetone and non-scratching scouring powder to remove this hideous film on various cars depending on the degree of buildup. You will never get the glass streak-free if you don’t cut this film first.

They all last the same length of time in my experience. Just as long as the first time someone wipes the glass with their hand!

I used to go to a detail shop that always got my windows squeaky clean both inside and out. Their secret…ammonia on a soft cloth. That’s why my windows were always down when I went to pick up my car or truck. It works great but ammonia is tricky to use.

I don’t know why, but I’ve never had streaks or any other problem with plain old Windex… although I have with some of the “branded” imitations. Perhaps it’s because I don’t smoke. I really don’t know.

Certainly the fact that smoke is not introduced in to the equation is a plus, but not the answer. The age of the vehicle is a significant factor, and plays a large role as Mustangman has alluded to when he mentioned the “outgassing” created by petrochemicals that are used to keep plastics and vinyls from shrinking. I have heard good things about Invisible Glass. Anyone with personal experience?

My comments apply to the numerous vehicles I’ve owned all the way from brand new to 17 years old (all bought new), including my current ten year old vehicle. In the sixties and early '70s I smoked and had problems with film developing, but not in the many years since quitting.

Gotcha, I understand. I recently tried a microfiber cloth and found that the results were less satisfactory than good ole “rag on a roll”, which tends to leave lint. But I still haven’t found the holy grail of combination that seems to work, whether it’s on my 50 year old car or my new car. And I’m not anal enough to want to clean it every week.

A cheap tried & true method is simply vinegar and a newspaper. My wife has been doing this for years.

Wides has ammonia in it. That might explain why it works well.

I clean my windows in two or three steps. First, I use good paper towels that are fairly wet with Invisible Glass pump spray for the major cleaning. Second, I use paper towels very lightly moistened with isopropyl alcohol to remove the streaks (and possibly dissolve any film that was chemically resistant to the Invisible Glass). Third, for the inside front and rear windows, I use the Invisible Glass Reach & Clean Tool very lightly moistened with isopropyl alcohol to reach into all of the corners and get rid of any lint from the paper towels. It’s best to do all of this in the shade, of course.

If you want the results to last, make sure you’re not using a silicone-based protectant like Armor All inside the car. If you do want to use a protectant, 303 Aerospace Protectant seems not to off-gas as much.

Invisible Glass is the spray foam cleaner I like the best. It doesn’t always get the film off the glass as well as good old liquid Windex with ammonia. I finish with the foam, though, after getting the film off with the wet blue stuff. My Mustang is really bad for outgasing. Wide expanse of black plastic dashboard.

I still just use crumpled up, dry newspaper. Nothing else. As long as no one touches the inside of the glass, so there are no greasy fingerprints, it works well, and I’ve never had an issue with it leaving lint or dust.

+1 for invisible glass. Newspaper has never left any trace for me. Crumple before starting and re-crumple often…

I’m just back to windex and paper towels to save shelf space. I tried the Invisible Glass and didn’t like it at all. Seems like it takes two or more uses before it actually gives better results and I just don’t clean the windows that much except for the windshield. I’ve got the Bon Ami too for really tough jobs but haven’t used that in years.

Here’s what I use for cleaning windows, including for my car, courtesy of Consumer Reports:

Mix one-half cup sudsy ammonia, 1 pint rubbing alcohol, and water to make 1 gallon of cleaner; pour into spray bottles

I’ve tried using this with cloth towels, squeegees, spray bottles or a bucket, all combo’s seem to work ok, but I get the best results in short order for my car windows, inside and out, using paper towels and a spray bottle.

I’ve always had the best luck with filling a spray bottle 1/2 full with cider vinegar, 1 oz ammonia, and fill with distilled water.
Then use the crumpled news print.
I was told that the ink has something to do with the streak free finish.

On real filthy windows I do a pre-clean with 409 and a rag first.


I have always used a shammy for both inside and outside glass cleaning and find there are no streaks or other issues mentioned.

jimster wrote:
I have always used a shammy for both inside and outside glass cleaning and find there are no streaks or other issues mentioned.

I’m surprised that works for you, given that a chamois is usually treated with oil.

I used to use Invisible Glass, and it was definitely better than Windex or its clones.
However, what I have been using for the past few months–Hope’s Perfect Glass–is far superior to Invisible Glass, IMHO.

Just one application of Perfect Glass, coupled with a lot of fast wiping with Bounty towels, gets all of the grunge off the inside of the windshield, with no need for a second application to finish the job.

Both Home Depot and Lowe’s carry this superior product.

But , still, the key is multiple passes. Don’t expect it to be perfect after just one.
Use the first time with lots of cleaner to clean off the gunk…the second time, not as wet…hardly at all…to polish it.