Should You Use Alcohol To Clean Car Windows?

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You hop in your car to head to work only to find that the dirt and dust have made it difficult for you to see out of your windshield. But you don’t have any Windex on hand, just some alcohol. Will it work?

Alcohol can be used to clean your car windows as it will disinfect and give you the streak-free view you desire. However, isopropyl alcohol needs to be diluted with water and used with a microfiber cloth for the best results.

Want to learn more about cleaning your windows with alcohol? Let’s look at some tips and tricks for putting alcohol on your car windows. 

Is Alcohol a Good Cleaning Solution for Car Windows?

Car windows cleaning

Isopropyl Alcohol (on Amazon) can be used to clean car windows, even those which have been tinted. Unlike other car window cleaners, which contain ammonia, alcohol is safe for every window on your car.

Not only is it safe for windows, but alcohol is also safe for the rubber parts on your car. If you accidentally drip some on the window seal while cleaning, you don’t have to worry about degrading the rubber. This can’t be said for ammonia-based cleaners. 

Alcohol should be diluted before you put it on your car windows. For best results, use distilled water, as tap water might leave streaks on your window. You can also add vinegar if you want to get fancy or lemon juice to enhance the scent. 

Do note, however, that alcohol is mainly used for cleaning the exterior of your car windows. While you can clean the interior windows with alcohol, ensure you let the car air out before you drive; otherwise, it will smell like alcohol. 

What Material Should You Use to Wipe Your Windows?

One of the main reasons people use alcohol to clean their car windows is because they are looking for that streak-free shine. However, if you truly want a window that you barely know is there, microfiber cloth is the best material to clean your windows.

Microfiber cloths like these (on Amazon) traps dirt and dust without leaving behind pesky particles as a paper towel does. Microfiber is also very soft, making it safer than any other material when it comes to cleaning tinted windows. 

You can also use an old towel to clean your car windows, but these can often have other stains and won’t absorb the cleaner as well as a microfiber towel. But in a bind, an old towel can work well. 

Is Alcohol Better Than Windex?

Windex is a standard window cleaner known to contain ammonia, meaning it isn’t safe for all surfaces in your car. In addition, Windex, while safe for house windows, can damage parts of your vehicle. Therefore, by default, alcohol is better than Windex.

Don’t just be dumping alcohol on your car, however, as you must make a cleaning solution first. You also should double-check if you have your windows tinted and that alcohol is safe for your particular type of tint before you begin (if you are cleaning the inside of the windows).

How Often Should You Clean Your Car Windows?

Car window cleaning

How often you should clean your car windows depends on how often you drive and where you drive. Those that drive more often or in muddy and dusty areas will need to clean their car more frequently than those who rarely drive or only drive on city roads. 

Whenever you find you cannot properly see out of your car window, this is the time to wash it. Or if someone has left a message in the coat of dirt surrounding your car, a cleaning is overdue. Even if there are just a few spots here and there, those can be dangerous and should be cleaned off.

In general, if you never hit the point where you can’t see out of your car windows properly, you should plan to clean your car windows at least once per month, both inside and outside, to be on the safe side.  

Final Thoughts on Using Alcohol to Clean Car Windows

Overall, alcohol can be a great choice when cleaning your car windows as it is less abrasive than ammonia-based solutions and will leave your windows streak free. Just be sure you use a microfiber cloth and dilute your alcohol for best results. 

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