How to Get Streak-Free Windows

Cleaning your car windows so that they are free of streaks takes some effort, but is relatively easy to do if you take the right approach. There are two elements necessary to get streak-free windows: the right cleaner and the right towels.

If your car windows always have streaks after cleaning, it might be due to the type of window cleaner that you're using. Products with alcohol, ammonia and detergents tend to leave streaks. If you are using typical glass cleaner containing ammonia, dilute it to reduce the tendency for streaking. Alternatively, many professional car detailers recommend a product designed specifically for cleaning car windows.

Whatever cleaner you choose, if your car has an aftermarket window tint, be sure the cleaner is compatible with the tint. For cars with tinted windows, it is possible that all you'll be able to use for cleaning is water mixed with a little bit of vinegar.

Once you've determined the right cleaner to use on your car windows, you must decide on the type of towels you'll use to clean and dry the glass. Experts recommend using at least four absorbent, lint-free microfiber towels, such as surgical towels. Use two towels just for washing the windows and two for drying and polishing the glass, switching to a new towel when the first one gets too dirty to produce streak-free windows.

According to car detailing experts, you should not use paper towels, terry-cloth towels, old T-shirts or newspaper for cleaning your windows if you want streak-free glass. Newspaper is a popular, free, absorbent and lint-free material for glass cleaning, but because the newsprint is no longer kerosene-based, it doesn't work as well for cleaning glass as it used to. Plus, newspaper leaves newsprint all over your hands.

Furthermore, you should never wash your window-care towels with the ones used for dressing tires, for removing wax, or for cleaning mud from the car. Don't use fabric softeners with your window towels, either, as the residue will cause streaks on the glass.

To get streak-free windows, experts recommend starting with the windshield. With the car parked in the shade and the glass cool, apply a coating of glass cleaner to the glass rather than your towel. Then take your window-washing towel and wipe from the outside edges in toward the middle. Wipe in an up-and-down motion, or a left-to-right motion. Before the window cleaner dries completely, take the second towel and dry and buff the window glass. Repeat the process on the other side of the glass.

Next, tackle the rear window, and then switch to a new set of towels and clean the side glass, making sure to first remove grime from the tops of the windows by powering them down an inch or two. Don't forget the interior and exterior rearview mirrors. When you're finished, you should have a set of streak-free windows (and mirrors) to enjoy.

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