Tips to clean windshields, wipers and windows

Want car windows that shine, windshield wipers that work and a windshield you can see every detail through? Try these tricks and see more while you drive.

Tips to clean windshields, wipers and windows

See clearly

Add 50 millilitres (.25 cup) of household ammonia to one litre/quart water, pour it into a plastic bottle with a watertight cap and keep it in your car for washing the windshield and windows. As soon as your windshield begins to get dirty, take out the solution and apply it with a sponge; then dry the windshield with a soft cloth or paper towels.

A one-step window cleaner

Clean your windshield and car windows by rubbing them with baby wipes stored in your glove compartment. What could be easier?

Clean your blades

If your windshield wiper blades get dirty, they'll streak the glass instead of keeping it clean and clear. Make a solution of 50 millilitres (one cup) of household ammonia to one litre/quart cold water. Gently lift the blades, and wipe both sides with a soft cloth or paper towel soaked in the solution. Then wipe the blades with a dry cloth before lowering them into place.

Fizz windshields clean with cola

When it rains after a long dry spell, a dirty windshield turns into one big mess. Get rid of streaks and blotches by pouring cola over the glass. (Stretch a towel along the bottom of the windshield to protect hood paint.) The bubbles in the cola will fizz away the grime. Just be sure to wash the sticky cola off thoroughly or your cleaning efforts will end up attracting dust and dirt.

Vodka on the job

When your windshield-washer reservoir needs filling, raid the liquor cabinet to make your own washing fluid. In a screw-top gallon jug, mix 750 millilitres (three cups) of vodka (the cheapest you can find) with one litre/quart of water and 10 millilitres (two teaspoons) of liquid dishwashing detergent. Screw on the cap and shake well, then pour as much fluid as needed into the reservoir.

No windshield washing fluid?

If the reservoir is empty (and doesn't it always seem to be?), use an unlikely substitute to clean your windshield: feminine hygiene maxi-pads, a box of which you could stash in the trunk. Hold a pad on the sticky side and rub the windshield vigorously. The glass will really shine once you've wiped it to the max.

Make your own windshield-washer fluid

Under the hood sits the windshield-washer fluid reservoir that occasionally needs to be topped. And why use a store-bought cleaning fluid when you can mix up your own? With this recipe, you'll not only let your car do the work of keeping the windshield clean, you may save a few cents. The alcohol in this solution will speed the drying process when the fluid is sprayed onto the windshield — and it helps prevent icing in cold winter weather in the bargain.

  • 15 ml (1 tbsp) liquid dishwashing detergent
  • 750 ml (3 c) rubbing alcohol
  • 2.5 L (10 c) water
  1. Pour detergent into a clean gallon-size plastic jug with a watertight cap.
  2. Add the alcohol and then the water. Cap the bottle and shake it vigorously.
  3. Pour as much of the fluid as needed into your car's windshield washer reservoir. Save the rest for later or use it to wash the windows in your house.
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