How to clean your car’s windscreen interior

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While you may spend a lot of time making sure the exterior of your car is looking clean, the interior can be a different story. For some, shifting everything to the back seat when someone needs to hop in the passenger’s seat counts as cleaning, while for others, a clean means nothing less than busting out the vacuum cleaner and cleaning cloths to ensure no speck of dust or dirt is missed.

Regardless of which camp you fall in, chances are there’s one area that may not get the attention it needs: the windscreen. While you might think that a quick trip through the car wash gives you all you need to have a clear view of the road, the inside of your windscreen needs as much of a clean as the outside. But how do you clean the inside of your windscreen, and what should you use to clean it? Canstar Blue has the answers.

What makes my windshield dirty?

It’s easy to understand how the exterior of your windscreen gets dirty – with dusty trails, road works and birds all leaving behind their mark – but how does the inside become a problem? There are a few things that contribute to a dirty interior, including:

  • Outgassing – the technical term given to the breakdown of plastics and fabrics that make up the interior of your vehicle. As materials break down, they evaporate, and with no place to go, they generally end up on the inside of your windows and windscreen. Outgassing is more prominent in cars that are left in the sun, or older cars.
  • Dust and dirt – regardless of how clean you like to keep your car, you’ll always traipse dirt and dust through when you hop in, meaning some of it may end up on the windows and windscreen. Dust and dirt can also make its way through the air con system, meaning it may also pay to look into your car’s air filters.
  • Fingerprints – while you may not mean to, touching your windscreen often leaves behind dirty fingerprints and skin oil, which can stay put and begin to block your view. Curious kids and pets are also likely suspects for leaving behind prints on the glass.
  • Smoking – while this won’t apply to everyone, the chemicals from cigarette smoke work similar to outgassing, meaning that some of them may end up on the windscreen, creating a film on the glass.

While there are plenty of ways to dirty the inside of windscreen, how should you go about cleaning it?

How do I clean the inside of the windscreen?

Jump onto any online forum and you’re met with plenty of opinions on what works best on the inside of your windscreen, ranging from cleaning products that you can pick up in store, to a secret home remedy that seems to clean anything and everything. Below are some of the more common methods to give you that sparkling windscreen, although some you may have to take with a grain of salt.

The first step to cleaning the inside of your windscreen is to wipe down with a microfiber towel to remove any loose dust or dirt, allowing whatever cleaning product you use to properly stick to, and clean, your windscreen. It’s also worthwhile laying down a towel over your dashboard to protect it from any drips or loose dirt, ensuring that you don’t create a mess while trying to clean one up!

The next step is to clean with your cleaning product of choice. This is where there’s plenty of debate, with some suggesting branded cleaning products, while others claim mixing dishwashing liquid, vinegar or methylated spirits with warm water gives you a better clean. There’s even a few who swear by using cheap tequila, or using a potato cut in half to give you a streak-free clean, although what you use will come down to how game you are. Once you’ve found your weapon of choice, simply wipe in circular motions, ensuring that you get to the edges of the glass for a full clean.

  • If you’re using a spray to clean your windscreen, it’s best to spray onto your cloth rather than directly on the windscreen to avoid making a mess.

What to use for a cleaning cloth is also up for debate. Some stick to the standard cleaning cloth you can buy in the cleaning aisle of your local supermarket, while others claim using newspaper is the way to go, although as more modern papers are now using water-based inks, you might make more of a mess than when you started.

Once you’ve navigated the cleaning section, dry off the inside of the windscreen with a towel. Some also suggest adding glass cleaner to your arsenal to take care of any spots or streaks left behind, although this will come down to how dirty your windscreen is, and how much effort you want to put in.

What’s the best cleaner for my windscreen interior?

With plenty of debate about what’s the best method for cleaning the interior of your windscreen, it can be a bit of trial of error to get the best end result. Factors such as how dirty your windscreen actually is, if your windows have been tinted, as well as what type of dirt or grime your windscreen are covered in all play a part in how successful you’ll be when cleaning. If you get stuck for ideas, or you simply don’t want to do it yourself, you can always get your car professionally cleaned, or ask your mechanic to look into the next time you drop your car off for a service.

How often should I clean my windscreen?

When it comes to any type of cleaning, you generally have two options: clean regularly, or only clean when needed. However, when it comes to cleaning your windscreen, there’s really only one option, as having a regularly cleaned windscreen ensures that you have increased visibility while driving, keeping you, and others, safe on the road.

While there’s no official recommendation on how often you should clean the interior of your windscreen, busting out the cleaning products every month should be enough to ensure your windscreen is kept clean and clear. If you clean your car more frequently than once a month, than you can simply add the windscreen onto the to-do list. It may also be worthwhile adding cleaning the windscreen onto the list of things to do before you set off on a long road trip.

  • Figuring out whether or not the inside of your windscreen needs a clean can be a bit tricky, although direct sunlight will generally highlight any dirt and grime (pictured above).

Windscreen Interior Cleaning Products

If you’re looking for a specific windscreen cleaning product, you’ll be able to find a few options at car retail stores such as SuperCheap and AutoBarn, with your local mechanic also likely to have something on hand. Brands such as AmourAll, Meguiar’s, Turtlewax and SuperCheap own’s brand SCA all offer glass cleaning products, including sprays and cleaner wipes, all with instructions for use and storage labelled on the product.

Is cleaning the inside of your windscreen worth it?

Having a clean and clear windscreen is a no-brainer when it comes to getting behind the wheel, as being unable to see what’s in front of you can prove more serious than just a bump in the road. Keeping your windscreen clean, both inside and out, will help you keep safer on the road, and allow you to enjoy the view if you decide to take your set of wheels on a road trip.

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Picture credits: Nomad_Soul/shutterstock.com, component/shutterstock.com, Jana Schoenknecht/shutterstock.com, Monika Wisniewska/shutterstock.com, RossHelen/shutterstock.com, DeawSS/shutterstock.com

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