Getting your windows tinted is an excellent way to enhance your vehicle. Window tint provides:
- Privacy because passersby can’t easily see into your car
- Protection from the sun’s UV rays that heat or fade your car’s interior
- Sleek, mysterious look from the outside
Some car windows come tinted from the factory. You can buy a used car that already has its windows tinted with film or you can do it on your own. There are professional tint shops all over the country in nearly every city that can do it for you as well.
Caring for your tinted car windows isn’t a complicated procedure but is one that has to be done right so your window tint will last as long as possible.
- Note: Factory-installed tinted windows are not a film and can be cleaned with commercial glass cleaners.
Method 1 of 3: Clean your car windows naturally
Because window tint is a thin plastic film, it can be damaged by using the incompatible chemicals on it. You can use a completely natural cleaning method to clean your tinted windows safely.
This method is best for tinted windows that are lightly soiled or streaked, and for regular upkeep.
- Microfiber cloths or paper towels
- Spray bottle of water
Step 1: Mist your car window. Spray the window with water from your spray bottle.
Just a light mist onto the glass will do the trick.
You can also spray your cloth and wipe the car window with the cloth.
Windows are tinted on the inside so the interior is where you need to be especially careful with the cleaner you use.
Step 2: Wipe the window. Wipe with your microfiber cloth or paper towel.
Wipe vertically over the whole surface of the window, then wipe in a horizontal pattern until all the water droplets and streaks have dissipated.
Step 3: Check for streaks or dirt. Because you are not using a cleaner, you are relying on the cloth to trap the dirt in its fibers.
If there are streaks still present, repeat the process but use a fresh side of the cloth to wipe the window.
Repeat as needed to get your window fully clean.
Step 4: Roll the window down. Put the window down a few inches and wipe the top edge of the glass that goes into the window track.
If you don’t clean this edge, you’ll have an unsightly dirt line every time you roll down your window.
Step 5: Repeat for all your car windows.
Step 6: Clean the interior windows. After all your car windows are clean inside, clean the interior windows.
Method 2 of 3: Clean the car windows with glass cleaner
Select a glass cleaner that does not contain ammonia. Ammonia can damage the window tint over time, degrading it with each use. Many tint installers actually use ammonia products to remove window tint from glass, demonstrating why it’s not a good idea to use ammonia glass cleaners on your window tint.
- Tip: Avoid blue-colored glass cleaners as they typically have ammonia in them.
- Glass cleaner
- Paper towels or lint-free cloth
Step 1: Spray glass cleaner onto your tinted window. Use an ammonia-free product such as the foaming glass cleaner, Stoner Invisible Glass.
If you want to avoid spots on your car’s interior parts, you can spray the glass cleaner onto your cloth instead.
Step 2: Clean entire window. Wipe the glass cleaner all over the window, right to every edge.
- Tip: Work quickly as glass cleaner tends to dry fast.
Step 3: Wipe in a pattern. Wipe in a vertical pattern, then in a horizontal pattern, until the glass cleaner dissipates completely.
Step 4: Check for streaks on the window. If you have streaks, it’s usually caused by excessively dirty windows or a dirty cloth.
Step 5: Repeat if necessary. Re-clean the window if you have streaks, making sure to use a clean side of your cloth.
Step 6: Clean all your interior windows in the same way.
You can clean your exterior glass with the same product.
Method 3 of 3: Cleaning your very dirty tinted windows
There can be instances where your car’s interior windows are very dirty. This can be the case if your heater core has leaked and you have coolant residue on your glass, and is common for those who smoke inside their vehicle.
Residue that sticks to your windows can take several treatments with glass cleaner to remove, so the best treatment is to use a soap and water mixture, then follow up with a normal glass-cleaning process to remove streaks.
Bucket of warm water
Tip: Use a dishwashing soap that has a grease-cutting formula to remove cloudy residue from your windows.
Step 1: Mix dishwashing soap in your bucket of warm water. Use about a teaspoon of soap per gallon. It doesn’t need to be overly sudsy.
Let your sponge soak in the soapy water.
Step 2: Wipe off the car windows. Wring out your sponge until it is no longer dripping.
You don’t want the water running down your car windows.
Wipe your car window completely to all the edges.
Your sponge will collect the residue from the glass on it.
Rinse your sponge regularly and wring it out.
Step 3: Wipe down the windows. Wipe down your tinted car window with a soft and absorbent microfiber cloth.
The cloth will pick up the soapy water from your window as well as any bits of residue that remain.
Let the window dry. There will likely be some streaking.
Step 4: Repeat for all your car windows.
Step 5: Clean the windows. Clean your tinted windows with a safe procedure after they dry.
You can use either the water method or the glass cleaner method to achieve streak-free, clean tinted windows.
As you clean your tinted windows you’ll be paying close attention to your windows. If you find anything wrong with your windows, make sure to have a certified mechanic inspect them as soon as possible to prevent further damage. YourMechanic provides professional service at your home or office for your convenience.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Care For Tinted Windows and was authored by Jason Unrau.