Why You Shouldn’t Use Paper Towels On Your Car Windows

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If it’s time to clean your car windows and you have some Windex or other glass cleaner on hand, you may wonder if the kind of towel you use matters. Many people have paper towels on hand and may default to this tool for cleaning their car windows, but is this the best option?

While using paper towels on your car windows won’t damage them, it won’t get them very clean either. It will leave behind streaks and dust from the paper towels. You are much better off using a microfiber cloth to clean your car windows as it is more absorbent and will eliminate all the streaks.

You also should be using a homemade solution to clean your car windows. Not sure where to start? Let’s look at more information about cleaning your car windows and why you shouldn’t use a paper towel.

Are Paper Towels Safe to Use on Car Windows?

Cleaning car window on sunny morning

Using paper towels to clean your car windows won’t damage them, but they are not the best material to use. This is because they typically break down as you clean, leaving tiny particles of paper towel on your car windows.

Additionally, using a paper towel to clean your windows can leave behind streaks that are almost impossible to get rid of, which sort of defeats the purpose of using them to clean your car windows in the first place.

If you have tinted windows, it is not safe to use a paper towel to clean your windows as the window tint film can get small paper towel particles stuck in it, and removing them can be impossible—leaving you with a white speckled view.

What is the Best Material to Clean With?

Now that you know that you shouldn’t use paper towels to clean your car windows, it’s time to discuss what you should use. While you may hear rumors about using old rags or cloth towels, you should purchase a microfiber cloth.

Microfiber cloths (on Amazon) are the best material to use to clean your car windows because they have grime-grabbing properties while also being soft enough that they won’t damage the window. Plus, they don’t leave behind particles and are reusable, helping you to save the environment as you clean.

What Cleaning Solution Won’t Leave Streaks?

Besides just investing in a microfiber cloth, you must also invest in the proper cleaning solution that won’t leave streaks on your windows. Again, you should use a homemade mixture rather than store-bought soap for best results.

This homemade mixture should be made by mixing distilled water (as this has fewer minerals that could leave streaks) with either vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Then, place this mixture in a spray bottle and apply a light spritz to each of your windows.

You should note that the alcohol version of the solution will be stronger than the vinegar version. Therefore, if you have tinted windows, using the vinegar version is better to avoid damaging the film on your windows.

Alternatively, if you want to, you can purchase a streak-free glass cleaner (on Amazon) at the store to use on your car windows. Just be sure this cleaner doesn’t contain ammonia if you have tinted windows, as this can degrade the tinting film. 

Wondering whether you can use Windex to clean car windows? Read our guide to find out!

Signs You Need to Clean Your Windows

Cleaning car window

While you don’t need to clean your car windows every day, it’s important to recognize the signs that it’s time to clean them before they get dirty enough to become a hazard. 

Your Windshield Wiper Fluid Won’t Help

Generally, while driving, the windshield wiper fluid can help keep your front window clean enough to see out of. However, if you spray it one day and it does nothing to remove the streaks off your front window, it’s time to take matters into your own hands and clean the windshield yourself.

You Can’t See Clearly

An obvious sign that it is time to clean your windows is when you look for traffic before merging and find that you can’t tell what is traffic behind you and dirt on your window. This can quickly become a safety hazard, so in this case, you should clean your windows ASAP. 

There are Lots of Dead Bugs

Driving around all day will naturally cause some bugs to meet their end on your windshield. One or two isn’t a big deal, but if you’ve got a bunch, it’s definitely time for a quick cleaning session—especially because windshield wiper fluid does little against tough bug guts.

You Get Dust on Your Fingers When You Touch Your Window

Were you walking up to your car when you noticed a film of dust? Maybe you touched in and were able to draw a nice picture as you removed the dust with your finger. Either way, it’s time to wash your car windows, and soon. 

Final Thoughts on Why You Shouldn’t Use Paper Towel to Clean Your Car Windows

Overall, while it might be easy to reach for a paper towel to clean your car windows, the paper towel will break down during the cleaning and leave bits of paper towel all over your window. So instead, invest in a microfiber cloth and a homemade solution to ensure your car windows are clean and completely streak free.

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