A Clean Windscreen First Time
Everyone likes to think that they can save themselves some money, so when I read that the best way to clean your car windscreen was to use newspaper, I was keen to give it a go. According to the article I read, the ink used to print the newspapers is slightly abrasive and contains solvents, so if you rub the windscreen with damp newspaper, it will dry to a streak-free shine and all traces of road film and insect corpses will be gone. My paper recycling bag is full of newspaper every week, especially in the summer months when I don’t use any paper to light a fire, and it seemed a win-win prospect. I would not only be helping the environment by re-using some of the paper, but would also avoid using up paper towels or having to wash window cloths.
Sadly, it seems the information I had received was totally and hopelessly wrong and out of date. Not only didn’t the newspaper clean the screen at all well, it actually left a smudgy mess, and my hands were black with the ink. Further investigation revealed that the newspaper method used to work in the past, but nowadays newspaper ink is water-based and doesn’t have any of the abrasive or solvent properties of the older inks. Oh well, it was worth a try.
How should you clean your vehicle glass?
So how do the experts recommend you do it? You need to remove road film, which tends to be made up of oil, diesel and petrol residues plus the thin layer of tyre rubber that all vehicles leave behind on the road. There are other unwelcome substances that get onto vehicle glass too – we’ve already mentioned insects, but there is dust, road tar and tree sap too – sticky substances that are hard to shift. Simply sponging your windscreen when you wash your car isn’t enough – this is a job for specialised cleaning products.
Not in full sun
First of all, avoid cleaning your windscreen on a hot sunny day. The heat will cause the cleaning products to dry onto the screen, leaving you with an even harder job. Choose a cooler cloudy day if possible, or if it’s a sunny day, get your car into the shade and leave it to cool down for an hour or two before applying the glass cleaner.
Choose a glass cleaner formulated specifically for vehicle glass – domestic glass cleaners may not be efficient enough at removing sticky residues. If you have a tinted windscreen, make sure the product you buy is suitable for use on those surfaces. Apply the cleaner sparingly, and try not to let it get onto your vehicle paintwork as it will probably cause dull patches. Using a clean cloth – preferably a microfibre one as they don’t leave any fluff behind – rub the cleaner across the windscreen and then up and down to distribute it evenly. Using a second clean cloth, dry the glass thoroughly, and you should end up with a streak-free clean finish. It’s important that the cloths are clean and dry, as small amounts of dirt in the cloth will cause streaks on the glass.
You can use the same cleaning product, but think about how you apply it. If you spray the inside of the windscreen, the mist will cover the dashboard as well as the glass, and you will have a double cleaning job to do. Instead, spray the cleaner onto the (clean) cloth, and wipe it over the glass. You not only save time; you will avoid wasting any of the cleaning product as well. Use another clean cloth to dry the glass, and you should achieve a decent finish.