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Smear Campaign Against Me!

My Granddaughter was doing an inside/outside cleaning job on my car a while back. She must have thought that Armorall type preservative would be a good thing on the windshield! So now when it rains, especially when even only a bit chilly, the wipers smear, which impedes vision, especially at night. I’ve tried different solvents on the glass in addition to Windex; paint thinner, alcohol, acetone, gumout, laquer thinner, even rain-X. I’ve even cleaned off the wipers with laquer thinner. There was no improvement at all. I hired a professional waterless chemical solution car cleaning guy, who used some sort of cleaner on it which didn’t help a bit either. I think maybe the rain-X even made it a bit worse, since it seems to be a petroleum base? Other than a new windshield, is there anything I could do? Would pumice help or worsen the smear?

Have you tried 3M adhesive remover?

I believe it’s sold in a red spray can

another thing comes to mind . . . exterior body solvent

After all these solvents perhaps the problem is the wiper blades and not the glass, try replacing the wiper blades or inserts.


All that and maybe vinegar.

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Kinda agree, might be the wipers. Armorall usually doesn’t last that long. I guess I would try the Bon-Ami bar glass cleaner if you can find it in a farm store or someplace. It is slightly abrasive and dries to a haze that then you rub off. Other than that, the guys in a real glass shop should have a glass polishing cream with a buffer to clean it off. Or you could just try good old auto body rubbing compound with a buffer followed by the Bon-Ami.

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Goof-Off adhesive remover will take off most anything, but will melt some plastics and will remove paint, so be careful with that stuff.

Another excellent mild abrasive glass cleaner is “Nothin’s Better” from Watkins of Sacramento, if it is still available.

Yeah, I can see how Rain-X would make it worse. I was going to recommend Goo Gone or Goof Off, but one of them is an acetone cleaner and you’ve already tried that.

I recommend calling your insurance company and having them refer you to a windshield repair/replacement company. Repairs to your windshield are usually covered with zero deductible, and a repair company will usually come to where the car is to do the repair or replacement. Usually these folks repair small cracks or replace windshields, but they might also have a solution to your problem other than windshield replacement. If worse comes to worst, they can always swap out windshields and then reuse yours after it is chemically cleaned and re-coated at the factory.

I’d try cleaning it with a citrus-based cleaner followed by Windex and replace the wiper blades BEFORE turning them on again onto the newly-cleaned glass.

An auto glass replacement shop might be able to suggest something too. The call is free, so why not?

Here’s what Armor All told a guy that asked them:

“The ARMOR ALL Protectant can be removed from glass by using a mixture of 5
parts warm water, 1 part household ammonia and 1 part dish detergent. Wipe
this mixture on with a warm cloth and be sure to turn the cloth
frequently; this will ensure that you do not re-apply the protectant after
it has been removed. I hope this information proves helpful.”

I don’t know if it worked. Others recommended alcohol, Invisible Glass cleaner, or car paint prep. Given your problems, I’d start with the paint prep, then use the mix Armor All recommends, with a rub down using newsprint (it’s slightly abrasive), EDIT - then clean water, then put on new wipers.

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And also make sure you wash the car thoroughly now that you’ve doubtless gotten overspray from all those harsh cleaners on the paint.

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[quote=“Nevada_545, post:3, topic:96240, full:true”]
After all these solvents perhaps the problem is the wiper blades and not the glass, try replacing the wiper blades or inserts.
[/quote] I agree completely. I doubt that ArmorAll would withstand your chemical onslaught. Neither would the wiper blades, so replace 'em.

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Thanks for all the helpful info and comments, folks!

Is it a replacement windsheild? I have one and it is of the smear variety, New blades need to be replaced every 3 moths for whatever reason.

Tommy (of Click and Clack) one time mentioned that the stuff you use to clean contact lenses works wonders on car windshield in difficult cases. You could try that in a spot, see if it does the trick. The only problem with the idea is that this stuff sells for like $1000 a pint.

Dishwashing detergent and water would be my first choice, but if you get it on your paint, it will strip off any wax. By now, it will have penetrated the rubber on the wiper blades so they will have to be changed as well.

I agree with the other comments that you need new wiper refills once the glass is clean.

For future reference, I suggest not using Armor All even on the expected surfaces inside the car. It tends to outgas and put a film on the inside glass, especially in hot weather. If you need to use something, 303 Aerospace Protectant is better in this regard.

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I changed both wiper blades and there is considerable improvement/much less smearing. Again thanks for all comments and advice.