Cleaning Windows | Autoblog Details | Complete Detail Ep. 9

For step 9 out of our series of 10 we'll be cleaning your windows. Sounds pretty easy, but when your glass gets this bad it can not only be dangerous for driving but a nightmare to clean. For crystal clear glass with no streaks, a proper routine is required; otherwise you'll be pulling your hair out chasing streaks around the windows for hours. Find out the proper tools and techniques you'll need on this episode of Autoblog Details.

Watch all of our Autoblog Details videos for more tips on car cleaning and maintenance by professional detailer Larry Kosilla. While you're at it, check out Larry's other video series on how to diagnose, fix, and modify cars, Autoblog Wrenched!
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[00:00:00] For step nine out of our series of 10, we'll be cleaning your windows. Sounds pretty easy, when your glass gets this bad, it can not only be dangerous for driving, but a nightmare to clean. For crystal clear glass, with no streaks, a proper routine is required, otherwise you'll be pulling your hair out chasing streaks around the windows for hours. Find out the proper tools and techniques you'll need, on this episode of Autoblog Details.

[00:00:30] Having clean hands is vital to streak-free glass, and minimizing your time spent chasing random streaks. If you've been wearing gloves for the entire detail, remove them and put on new ones, or wash your hands thoroughly. It sounds mundane, but it can be a real source of frustration later on. With the windows generally clean, because we've already washed and dried the car, this is when we'd normally clay the glass. However, since we've already performed this task way back in episode five, we can skip it, and move on to the next step. I prefer starting the outside of the windshield first, because I know my towels are spotless at this point in time and I want the windshield to have the best chance of avoiding streaks.

[00:01:00] For all windows except the inside of the windshield, a three towel method works best to avoid streaks. First, lift the wiper blades out of the way and start on the passenger side, and only work half the windshield, then move to the driver's side. The first of the three towels is a microfiber towel. This is what I call the throwaway towel. Spray your favorite cleaner on the glass, and use the throwaway towel to quickly pick up the gunk on the glass, and more importantly, around the edges.

[00:01:30] Your only mission with this step is for the microfiber towel to pick up the hidden goop along the edges that would otherwise stick to your good window towels, causing them to fill up quickly, and streak, so your glass at this point isn't going to look very pretty, but that's okay. Be sure to use the throwaway towel to clean your wiper blades as well. Squirt the glass cleaner into the towel, then pinch the blade and remove the gunk.

[00:02:00] Keep in mind the inside of the windshield is kept as the very last step, because we need to slightly adjust the technique, and we need fresh towels. More on this later. Next is towel number two. This is a low-pile, microfiber glass towel. These are your special babies you don't want to get dirty, or oily. Evenly spray one to two squirts of glass cleaner on the towel, and wipe the glass in up and down straight lines. While I'm doing this, I try to stay away from the rubber gaskets, and pushing hard in the edges, as this will only make the towel black from transfer.

[00:02:30] These areas should have already been thoroughly cleaned with towel number one, or the throwaway towel, in the previous step. Now that the glass is clean, immediately follow up with your third towel, which is a clean, dry, microfiber towel. Buff the glass in straight line motions to pick up any remaining water that will cause streaks or water marks if it happens to dry before you get there. Be sure to clean the top of the window first by gripping the glass between your fingers and sliding along the top edge to pick up the black rim of gunk from the window's gasket.

[00:03:00] If the black line is very heavy, take an old throwaway microfiber towel, and run it up into the window gasket to clean out the years of debris. After the outside of the windshield is complete, complete this process on all the doors and trunk, until you work your way around to the front windshield again. Now, all that should remain is the interior windshield, which is a different kind of beast. First, replace your three towels with fresh clean ones.

[00:03:30] Yes, it's annoying, but not as annoying as chasing streaks around the glass for ten minutes while performing interior gymnastics pushing greasy towels around the window. Although the interior windshield doesn't take the same abuse as the exterior glass, it does get hazy, greasy, or yellowish from the release of gases from the plastic material in some dashboards. To clean this buildup, a degreaser is needed to cut through the film without filling up your glass towel. This is the key to quickly cleaning your windshield with no streaks, because the film is sticky and somewhat goopy.

[00:04:00] I have two favorite methods for interior windshields. First are these grocery store scrubbers that are activated by water. Simply dunk them in a cup of water, wring them out, and scrub the glass. While the glass is still wet, scoop up the suds with your number one or throwaway towel. If you don't have these scrub pads handy, use a 50/50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol and water. This will do the trick.

[00:04:30] If you do choose this method, do not spray directly on the windshield, as the mist will discolor your dashboard as it falls. Spray it directly on a scrub pad or a number one throwaway towel for this initial degreasing process. After the first one quarter of the glass is degreased, and wiped clean by scooping up the filmy suds, repeat the same steps on the rest of the glass, but keep in mind, it's not going to look pretty at this point, and that's okay. Once you feel the windshield has been degreased, wipe the glass again with your number one towel, but this time focus on the edges and the tight spots.

[00:05:00] Again, this is the most important step in our three-stop process, and your goal here is to quickly pick up any leftover grime that will interfere with the next two steps. Now with your number two clean glass towel, spray two to three squirts directly on the towel itself, and work half the windshield at a time. Then, immediately follow up with your number three drying towel. When you're dealing with glass, when you think you're done, you're probably not. So grab a friend and have them look from the outside in, and point to any areas you may have missed.

[00:05:30] If you're working solo, turn the overhead lights off and use a light pen to check the edges, which almost always need a spot touchup before you're done. I wish there was a better way to say it, but cleaning glass is just a huge pain in the butt. Using these techniques will help create streak-free results that you can be proud of. Lastly, it can be helpful to separate your number one, two and number three towels by color to avoid confusion when you battle the glass. If you found this video helpful, please share it, and keep up with all the latest detail videos by liking or subscribing to the Autoblog page.

[00:06:30] I'm Larry Kosilla from, thanks for watching.

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