Cleaning & Detailing

How to clean the inside of your windshield – 5 reasons it gets dirty

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No doubt you’ve found yourself in the situation of overly spraying with washing fluid and using the wipers agresively, only to notice that the stains and grime are on the inside of the windshield.

As frustrating as it can be, the inside of the windshield getting dirty is a normal phenomenon and we’ll talk about how you can properly clean it.

How to clean the inside of your windshield

Time needed: 15 minutes

Follow the below steps to properly clean the inside of your windshield.

  1. Gather the required tools

    You’ll need:
    1. Three microfiber towels
    2. A cleaning solution
    3. Some rubbing alcohol
    Some people use windshield cleaner wants. I am not a fan as I can properly reach all of the inside of my windshield with a microfiber towel. But they are useful!

  2. Prepare the windshield

    Before doing anything, make sure to wipe down the windshield with a dry microfiber cloth to remove the excess dirt or grime.
    Don’t skip this step as it helps in avoiding streaks or an ugly appearance once your done.

  3. Apply rubbing alcohol

    Even the best cleaning product has a hard time in dealing with oily residues and stuff.
    So just apply a little bit of rubbing alcohol to a clean microfiber towel and wipe down the inside of the windshield. The alcohol acts as a degreaser for g lass.

  4. Use a cleaning solution

    Ensure you are spraying it on a microfiber cloth, and not directly on the windshield. This is to avoid overspray on the dashboard or other parts of your interior.
    I’ve seen good reviews about Stoner Invisible Glass, Sprayway and Meguiar’s Perfect Clarity. Almost anything will do the job, don’t stress too much!

  5. Dry the windshield

    Once you’re done thoroughly cleaning the inside of the windshield with your microfiber cloth and the chosen cleaning solution, grab a dry microfiber cloth and dry the windshield up.
    Ensure everything is 100% dry.
    Once you got it all dry and shiny, the job is done! Congrats, you now have a clean windshield!

  6. This works everywhere

    Obviously you can follow the same steps for your windows and even rear windshield. Finally, clean glass everywhere!

Don’t cut corners. The first three steps are mandatory for an amazing end result!

Why does the inside of the windshield get dirty?

A valid question, as you may think that there isn’t any logical way so much grime and dirt could get on it. Especially since you probably drive a lot in seemingly clean environments (no off-roading).

Well actually, there are some easy to explain reasons on why the inside of your windshield gets dirty. Let’s explore:

1. Touching the windshield

This might sound something you rarely do. Or even meaningless. But every time you touch the inside of your windshield, you leave behind a oily film that you’ll most likely have to clean off later.

This can happen or you can do this even without noticing. Wether adjusting your rearview mirror, setting up a GPS mount, the GPS or a phone mount and even stuff like flicking a bug or any other thing we sometimes do inside our cars.

2. Entering and exiting your car

You don’t really think about the process of entering and exiting your car. It’s something that you jus t do. But every time you do this, some outside contaminants are getting inside your car. Especially so on windy days.

And just think about it for a moment: just for a random short trip to the grocery store, your door gets opened a few times. A perfect oportunity for dust and stuff to enter your car.

3. Driving around with your windows down

This works the same way as the entering/exiting your car process does. And if you drive with at least two open windows, dirt might enter faster.

This really doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drive with your window down. It just means you might need to clean the inside of your windshield more often as you’ll observe anoying dust faster.

4. Your cabin air filter needs a change

Your A/C system uses a filter to keep dust and other particulates outside. But over time, this filter can get dirty and basically reach it’s end of life. You should change it yearly or every 12.000 miles usually.

Some cabin air filters are better than others. Ask your part dealer about this.

On my Renault Laguna, I’ve found one with active charcoal that much to my surprise really does a great job. It really kills the bad smells from outside. (I thought it was all marketing)

5. Off-gassing is quite possible

This is usually more seen on newer vehicles because a lot of synthetic products are used in many of the parts of your car’s interior. Off gassing refers to chemicals that are released into the air from different surfaces. This is common and real.

Dashboards, seats, trim, floor mats and many other parts contain various synthetic products.

And when off-gassing happens, the inside of your windshield and windows might get quite dirty.

Off-gassing eventually stops on its own, but it can take years for that to happen.

6. Not being carefull when cleaning the interior

It’s not that rare. You or whoever cleaned your dashboard was in a hurry. And instead of spraying on a microfiber cloth and then wiping the dashboard, you sprayed dirrectly on it. And of course, some of it ended up on the windshield.

And there are a lot of behaviours or accidents that can happen when cleaning the interior that lead to a little bit of grime or oily spots on the inside of your windshield.


There you have it!

A nice step-by-step guide on how to properly clean the inside of your windshield. It should take no more than 15 minutes at most. I hope you found these tips useful and that you get rid of grimey windshields forever! Did you read my article on why your windshield wipers squeak?

Car enthusiast. I am dedicated to maintaining my cars as best as I can. I love things that work, and I love keeping them in a good state.

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