Car Window Cleaning: Ditch The Soap And Start Using Vinegar

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Are your car windows always dirty, but when you try to clean them, you just leave annoying streaks behind? It’s not your fault; you’re probably just using the wrong cleaning solution. 

Vinegar is one of the most effective cleaning solutions for a car window. It works better than soap and will leave your car windows streak free. Just ensure you have the right vinegar to water ratio and use a microfiber cloth while cleaning to achieve the best results. 

Ready to learn how to clean your car windows properly? Let’s look at the best cleaning solution and how you can use it to clean your car windows. 

Is Vinegar an Effective Cleaning Solution for Car Windows?

Man cleaning car with spray bottle. Car wash

Surprisingly, vinegar is an effective cleaning solution for car windows. Besides being an everyday cooking and cleaning ingredient, vinegar also contains compounds that help it break down grime, which can appear on the interior and exterior of your vehicle. 

Vinegar actually works better than most glass cleaning solutions because these solutions don’t contain the same compounds. Unfortunately, this means when you use them, instead of breaking down the grime, you move it around your windshield, leaving annoying streaks behind.

Is Vinegar Better Than Soap?

Vinegar isn’t necessarily a better cleaner than soap, as it differs from soap. While vinegar breaks through dirt and kills bacteria, it won’t help on filthy surfaces. And you could use a generic glass cleaner like Windex (on Amazon), but you treat the windows of your car different than you treat other windows in your life for a reason.

For example, if you take your car through the mud, the mud splatters on your windows will likely need something more than vinegar to come clean. This doesn’t mean you can’t use vinegar after you do a soap and water scrub; it just means that vinegar alone may not be enough in some of the dirtiest situations. Even Windex wouldn’t be. Sometimes you need to use soap to really get at the caked on dirt that cars accumulate.

Vinegar vs. Isopropyl Alcohol

Vinegar is a much gentler solution than isopropyl alcohol, and while you may be tempted to pull out the alcohol in an especially sticky situation, don’t do it. While isopropyl alcohol is effective for cleaning your car windows, it also removes wax or sealant from surfaces. 

If you are cleaning your windows and the solution drips down onto the side of your car, you could mess up an expensive wax job. Isopropyl alcohol is also not safe for the interior of windows that have been tinted as it could damage the film tint. 

Rather than risk damaging your car, it’s better to stick with vinegar to clean your windows as it is much less abrasive and will still get the job done. 

What is the Correct Vinegar to Water Ratio? 

Obviously, you can’t just pour vinegar on your car and call it a day; instead, you need to take the time to make a vinegar solution for proper application. 

The proper ratio of vinegar to water when making a cleaning solution is one to one. Therefore, for every one cup of vinegar, you will add one cup of water. Mix both in a spray bottle and apply to your car windows as needed. 

Do note that you should never mix anything else into this solution, and vinegar is highly reactive and could react negatively to other cleaning products or soaps. 

How to Avoid Streaks When Cleaning

No one likes a streaky window. Below are the steps to use when you want to avoid streaks while cleaning your car windows. 

Step 1: Do One Window at a Time

The number one way to avoid streaks is only by focusing on one window at a time. This way, the solution won’t have time to dry your window. 

Step 2: Spray Vinegar Solution

Using a spray bottle, apply the solution generously to the window you intend to clean. 

Step 3: Use a Microfiber Cloth

A paper towel isn’t going to cut it. So instead, use a microfiber cloth to wipe from corner to corner along the top of the window. Move down a bit, but still overlap any lines left from the first wipe and repeat. 

Step 4: Repeat

Once you have made it to the bottom with the back and forth method, look at your handiwork. If there are still streaks, repeat the process above a second time. Filthy windows may even require a third application.

Step 5: Move On

When the window is clean and streak-free, move on to the next one until the entire car is finished. 

Final Thoughts on Car Window Cleaning with Vinegar

Woman cleans front glass of the car with spray

Overall, vinegar is a much better way to clean your car windows. It’s effective, kills germs, and won’t leave behind any streaks. While you may still need to use soap once in a while, you shouldn’t need that isopropyl alcohol, so toss that away and enjoy your streak-free car windows!

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