By on October 28, 2019

best glass cleaners

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

Washing the exterior and cleaning the interior of one’s car is a great way to spend an afternoon – at least in your author’s increasingly muddled mind. Making sure the windows are clear enough to mistake for open sky is also a delight. If they’re as clean as they should be, then there stands the chance you’ll try to retrieve your extra tasty crispy entree at the drive thru without first lowering the window. At which point you’ll have to clean it again.

We’ve scoured Amazon (pun intended) for some of the best ways to clean that glass in your car. After all, a spotless car with dirty windows is like wearing a fresh suit with muddy shoes.

Now go find your favorite cleaning cloth (you do have a favorite cleaning cloth, right?) and take a gander at these options for scrubbing your car’s windows.

(Editor’s note: As noted above, this post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

1. Editor’s Choice: PERSIK Pure-Sky Window Glass Cleaning Cloth

persik pure sky window glass cleaning cloth

In this age of saving all the turtles and refusing to disturb Johnny Polar Bear, it’s become fashionable to use as few chemicals as possible, no matter the task. Your author is a lot more green and granola than he cares to admit, so it stands to reason he’d drink from this particular trough of organic thought as well.

Which is why I spent my own money on this product. This cloth cleans glass with only water, its special twin-layer microfiber construction somehow provides a streak free shine without detergents. From personal experience, it can be confidently asserted that this thing also works on chrome – real chrome, not plated plastic though it will shine that stuff as well – along with mirrors. It purports to work fine on infotainment screens as well but your author prefers to use a different cloth for that purpose.

Pros: No chemicals, saves on paper towels, it makes the turtles smile

Cons: Costly for a single cloth

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2. Invisible Glass Premium Glass Cleaner

stoner invisible glass window cleaner

This product is found in many big retailers, including several gross amounts at most Costco stores. It’s ubiquity means that most of us have used it at some point in our lives, assuming you’re all gearheads with a neat streak like me.

The company claims that this cleaner is safe to use on tinted windows but it would be a very good idea to test it in an inconspicuous area first if applying it to aftermarket tint. A pair of 22oz bottles should last an entire summer of detailing unless one practices an almost psychotic level of detailing on their car. There are no soaps or dyes in the formula, according to Invisible Glass, which is why it makes the claim of providing a streak-free finish on windows.

Pros: Popular, no streaks, has the word ‘stoner’ on the label

Cons: Kinda following the crowd with this choice

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3. Griot’s Garage Glass Cleaning Clay

griot's garage glass cleaning clay

If you’re keen on deploying a product that there’s a good chance no one else on the team will own, you could do worse than this glass cleaning clay from Griot’s. The seller says it removes mineral deposits dried on glass, as well as oily road residue. The former point means you’ll have to take care your significant other doesn’t spirit it away for use in the bathroom shower doors.

Working in a similar fashion to a clay bar, this clay is a good first step before the actual polishing of the glass itself. Road film, tar, water spots, and other day-to-day road dirt is removed but it is important to note that, like a clay bar, some sort of lubricant is needed. Griot’s, of course, recommends its very own Speed Shine. The bar itself is 100 grams.

Pros: Unique take on glass cleaning, the picture looks like a smurf is trapped in the bottle

Cons: Extra-cost lubricant is required (hold the jokes, please)

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4. Chemical Guys Signature Series Glass Cleaner

chemical guys signature series glass cleaner

The crew at Chemical Guys have a wide ranging catalog of products, so it should surprise no one they have an ammonia-free glass cleaner. Despite the company’s name, this cleaner is said to contain no chemicals at all and is preferred by people who clean cars for a living.

Lack of ammonia means this cleaner has no harsh smell, and the company says it’s safe for use on tinted glass. In a fit of specificity, Chemical Guys say they developed the cleaner for use on plastic surfaces and navigation screens. Their unique formula uses cleaners that are purported to “clean faster” while also repelling dirt and dust by reducing static cling. The latter claim can be easily tested, at least.

Pros: Great brand name, no harsh smells

Cons: Several worrying reviews

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5. Invisible Glass Reach and Clean Tool

stoner invisible glass reach-and-clean tool

While not technically an outright cleaner, this reach and clean tool permits those of who not blessed with outrageously long arms the ability to reach that part of the window all the way back there without having to resort to acrobatics and stretching exercises.

The triangular head, a great shape for getting into corners, is on a pivot and is said to contour to the shape of whatever glass you’re trying to clean. There is an 18-inch reach to the handle, giving a great amount of extra reach. One could simply wet the microfiber bonnet for a quick clean but the seller recommends an actual glass cleaner for getting rid of anything more than light dust.

Pros: Best thing for extra reach since Inspector Gadget’s arms

Cons: Requires another cleaner to do the best job

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6. Adam’s New Glass Cleaner

adam's new glass cleaner

We’re not sure from where the “new” part of this product name hails, other than to say it is a freshly formulated version of cleaner in the Adam’s Polishes line of car care gear. This green-tinted cleaner is specifically said to be safe on aftermarket tinted windows, so go ahead and use it on your Sunfire hooptie.

Using the too-great name of optical clarifiers, the seller asserts this product keeps glass clear while providing a “crisp” appearance that shine freaks all crave. In a typical bit of upselling, Adam’s says customers should spray and wipe the cleaner with their green glass towel to give one’s vehicle an invisible glass look.

Pros: Works great with a glass-specific towel

Cons: Small bottle

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7. Wurth Glass Cleaner

wurth glass cleaner

As one of the only foamy glass cleaners on this list, the Wurth product stands alone in terms on the way it works and the container in which it is packaged. Said to eliminate haze on the inside of vehicle windows and zap through tree sap on the outside, this can is filled with a bunch of powerful stuff. Online reviews are consistently positive.

There is no ammonia in this cleaner, nor any ozone depleting chemicals (even though it’s more fashionable to worry about turtles than ozone right now). Wipe clean with a dry cotton or microfiber towel – no special cloths required.

Pros: Great customer feedback, 19oz can should last for ages

Cons: Other family members will rob it for household use

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[Images provided by the manufacturer. Lead image: FotoDuets/]

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37 Comments on “I Can See Clearly Now: Best Glass Cleaners...”

  • avatar

    RainX–The one and only. A couple of applications and the glass cleans itself during every rain or spray of water.

    • 0 avatar

      Doesn’t help much with the inside of the windshield, though.

    • 0 avatar

      Generally agree – here in the soggy PNW the problem with Rain-X is near-constant reapplication is required. Rain-X is great and beads incredibly, but when you have to run the wipers (like deep in the city of Seattle at night in a sea of horrific LED headlight inspired glare) it quickly removes the treatment.

      • 0 avatar

        Use Rain-X wiper blades too? I’ve looked at their blades before, but running the wipers on dry glass (it’s part of their installation process) scares me.

        • 0 avatar

          You can also run them when it rains ant it will apply, it says it just takes longer.

          I just purchased a set but I also use Rain-X so I did not run them on the dry glass. The last couple sets of Bosch wipers were junk and the Michelin were quite a bit more expensive. They had no Trico in stock.

          Here the rain beads off and you don’t need the wipers so the application stays for 3-4 months.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve used a variety of car waxes on the outside glass. Success varies, some streak like crazy (quick detailing spray for example) while others work just like Rain-X by leaving a coating that repels water like magic. Living in South FL we get even more rain then the PNW, so no matter what I use within a week I need to reapply it seems.

    • 0 avatar

      My problem with RainX was that it gave the windscreen so much friction that the wipers didn’t glide on the surface anymore, it was like the end of the world: the wipers jumped along the surface making a massive niise and I was sure the whole wiper system would be toast!

      I was very surprised, as I’ve heard good things about RainX. Anyone else had that problem, any solutions/info on why that happened in my case?

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve never run into that issue… it’s supposed to seal the glass so the water’s own surface tension lets it roll right off. Your description sounds more like your blade edges were already badly worn; they typically start chattering at about 2 years of age any more. They’re not made to last like the old, old ones.

  • avatar

    For the exterior, I use “Bar Keeper’s Friend”. A little hard to rinse off, outstanding results. I read many years ago, this is what wiper blade manufacturers use to clean test windshields.

    • 0 avatar

      Yikes, that stuff is super-abrasive. Make sure to keep it off your paint.

      • 0 avatar

        It’s not that abrasive – not like Ajax or Comet. BKF uses feldspar and oxalic acid. Bon Ami (“Hasn’t Scratched Yet”) uses only feldspar. When Bon Ami was introduced, other similar products used ground quartz, which was more abrasive.

    • 0 avatar

      Rnaboz, of course you already knew you could use toothpaste and/or Lava Handsoap. A Scrubby does wonders with both, especially on glass. Windex does the inside of glass.

      I’ve been using them for decades. Works for me.

      After cleaning I sealed with ArmorAll, NuFinish, or RainX.

      All the Pro-gear is great, but not cheap.

    • 0 avatar

      Wife just used BKF on our glass shower enclosure with great results. Got a tip from some cleaning YouTube channel to try it to remove hard water spots. I’ve only used it to shine up my chrome exhaust tips and is does a great job at that! We use the gel version not the powder.

  • avatar

    I’ve seen a bottle of the Invisible Glass around our garage, and I assume my wife bought it. Maybe I’ll have to try that.

    • 0 avatar

      I use it for the interior. Use it as you would any other glass cleaner, then follow up with a microfiber cloth (or the tool in the article) to get the ‘streak free’ part.

      I also use it on the bathroom mirror.

  • avatar

    This is the best I’ve used:

  • avatar

    I like the idea of the cloth only. My experience with the inside of the window is streaks are pretty guaranteed if you use ANY liquid. So far no matter what I use dries faster then I can wipe which leaves streaks behind. Might be the combination of humid and hot Florida. So for me a plain, CLEAN microfiber works best. Any oil from your fingers is the kiss of death in trying to get perfectly clean glass. Just like the screen on your phone!

    I’ve used that Reach and Clean tool, it does get into those far corners where you just can’t reach inside. Plus it keeps you from introducing aforementioned fingerprints during the process.

  • avatar

    Invisible Glass does a nice job at home in the driveway (detail cleaning/inside of glass/etc). The “Reach and Clean” tool does an excellent job on the bottom inside corners of windshields (mine came from the gift shop at the Corvette Museum, which is as close as I plan to get to Corvette ownership in the near future).

    On the road, my go-to is Sprayway foaming, which is available at a certain major retailer for a couple bucks a can. A can of this, a squeegee and a microfiber cloth live in my trunk. Road trips are *so* much better when you can see out.

    If the windshield of your daily driver has any issues at all, treat yourself to a new windshield – just do it.

    [For cleaning windows on your home, get an Ettore squeegee and don’t look back – thank you Don Aslett.]

  • avatar

    Brasso, a polishing compound,and cleaning compounds found in most household cleaners. Does a great job of removing oils, dirt and many micro scratches without harming the glass. Read the label and you will see.

  • avatar

    I like Invisible Glass and have not tried the others so it’s possible they be better, I suppose. I also like Barkeepers Friend for other purposes, but have never tried it on glass. Chemical Guys make good products, as does Wurth in my experience. Oh, and I am definitely buying one of those Invisible Glass window cleaning tools, I HATE cleaning the rear inside glass on cars.

    For what it’s worth, my current heavy-duty glass cleaner is exactly that, heavy duty glass cook-top cleaner.

  • avatar

    Is there anything Windex cannot do? I use Windex to clean and cure everything not only glass. All Armour wipes does it too.

    • 0 avatar

      LOL! I use Windex to also detect tire leaks, refrigerant leaks, and compressor leaks.

      Good stuff!

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe window cleaning, the bane of my existence! Using Windex and a couple paper towels, followed by a wipedown with a soft cloth..AND THERE’S STILL STREAKS!

      Haven’t tried cleaning the windows in the new Accord yet, and it’s starting to get annoying driving into the sun! I’ve got one of the Invisible Glass cleaning thingies mentioned..perhaps I’ll pick up the actual cleaning product from AutoZone and get on it this weekend.

  • avatar

    I used Invisible Glass for years on the aftermarket tinted windows of our Mazda 5. No problems ever, but YMMV.

    They make an invisible glass with a water repellent, but it can be tough to find in stores. Stoner’s stuff works pretty good, I like their “Tarminator” for removing tar.

    I’ve been using Griot’s garage stuff for a long time and I like their glass cleaner. I think Invisible Glass is better, but not by much.

    My mother in law bought us one of those glass microfiber cloths and it does work well. Even works on the glass cooktop if it’s not baked on.

    Bar Keepers Friend is great stuff, especially the “pre-mix” version they sell now. I used it to redo the headlight lenses on my 89 Mustang and then sealed them with a paint sealant. It can be a pain to rinse completely clean though.

  • avatar

    I’ve always used Invisible Glass, but stick with the spray bottles as their wipes are no good.

  • avatar

    I saw a guy cleaning the plate glass store front window of a taco shop. He was using a bucket of warm water and a sponge to apply it, and crumpled newspaper to wipe it down. When he was done the window sparkled. I tried it on my car – same result. YDIMV – your disposable income may vary.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe he had a little ammonia in the water. It’s an old trick.

      In very hard water some people use vinegar and water to achieve that spotless shine.

    • 0 avatar

      Taco shops do not hurtle down the road collecting oil and grit from exhaust pipes as well as what ever the local road commissioner wants to use to deice the street, Yes, I have cleaned a lot of glass with newsprint but it does not work as well now as lead has been removed from the ink and soy used now. Still a great savings over paper towels.

    • 0 avatar

      I always use newspaper to wipe glass dry inside the house. It has to be the rough newspaper, not the glossy stuff, but it makes mirrors look brand new.

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