Tinted car windows give us the advantages of improved privacy, UV protection, heat insulation, reduced glare from the sun and other vehicles, etc. But they come with specific post-window tinting care. And one very important car care matter after getting windows tinted is “Can you wash your car after getting windows tinted?”
You definitely can. The window film is on the interior side of the vehicle, so an exterior car wash after window tint would be harmless.
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Is It Safe to Wash Your Car After Window Tinting?
Since the tints on windows are on the interior part of your car, they are isolated from any cleaning agent you put on the exterior. There are even auto tinting shops that offer a car wash after window tinting.
But the interior side of the windows must not be washed or wiped just after they have UV films put on. The tints need time to cure on the windows, and washing would interfere with the curing process and cause damage to the tints.
Types of Car Window Tints
When you’re getting tinted windows, there are different types to choose from.
Composed of multiple layers of dyed film, dyed tint can block heat and harmful UV rays by absorbing the sunlight that hits the windows. However, this tint is not the best at keeping your vehicle cool, and as it ages, you may find the color change from black to purple unsightly.
Made with tiny metal particles, metalized tint provides protection from UV rays by reflecting them. Unlike its dyed counterpart, this type blocks both heat and resists fading. However, metallic tints are not the best choice for drivers who use the radio or GPS devices.
The hybrid tint is a combination of dyed films and a metallic layer. That helps it provide better heat and UV blocking, not fade quickly, and resist scratching more compared to a regular dyed tint. It also doesn’t disturb radio and GPS signals as much as the regular metalized tint.
Superior to metalized tints, the carbon tint is made with carbon fiber particles, which makes it better at blocking heat and UV rays while letting radio and GPS signals come through. It also comes with a matte look, which some would prefer over the shiny appearance of the metalized tint.
The most effective but also most expensive type is the ceramic tint. It consists of ceramic particles that are non-heat-conductive and provides the highest level of heat and UV ray protection. It also has the advantage of shatter proofing the windows like the metalized tint but does not disrupt radio or GPS signals.
How Long Should You Wait to Wash Your Car After a Tint?
A common question for car owners with newly tinted windows is “When can I wash my car after tint?”
You don’t have to wait long to wash the exterior of your car. You can do it as soon as you wish, as the tints are on the windows’ interior side and would be unharmed if the windows are kept closed at all times.
What Can You Not Do After Getting Your Windows Tinted?
To keep the tints intact and unharmed as you let them cure, keep in mind these rules after getting windows tinted:
- Don’t Wash and Wipe the Windows’ Interior Side Shortly After Window Tinting.
Moisture and pressure aren’t good for newly tinted car windows. Pressure from water can make tints slide off the window or leave bubbles, tears, and holes in the material.
You should wait at least 72 hours to 7 days for the window tints to completely cure before washing them. But during rainy months or winter, the curing time may last up to a month.
- Don’t Roll the Windows Down While the Tints Are Still Curing.
Although most love the privacy and protection that tinted windows provide, car owners may wonder, “If I roll my tinted windows down after 24 hours, will they be fine?” or “Can I roll my windows down 3 days after tint?”
Car owners who had their car tinted on Reddit said from their experience that:
- Most shops would advise customers not to roll tinted windows down for 24 to 72 hours. But to be safe, it’d be best to wait 3 days before moving the glass panels. Some even waited 5 to 7 days to ensure their window tints won’t be damaged.
- It may also depend on the weather. Curing can be quicker if you park your car outside in sunny weather. But drying may take as long as 5 days if you park your car in the garage.
- Some Redditors were even extra careful and waited 1 to 2 months, which would be a good thing to do if you’re experiencing cold weather such as snow and rain.
- The type of tint used would also be a determining factor. If the tint is ceramic, 2 days after tint would be enough, as it doesn’t scratch easily, according to one Redditor.
- The auto shop staff know their materials best, so make sure to ask them to avoid confusion.
Can You Use AC After Tinting Windows?
Yes. You can use the AC after having your car windows tinted. You don’t have to worry about your UV film being ruined, even if you like to turn the coolness way up. The difference in temperature between the car interior and exterior also won’t ruin the tint.
There’s just one downside to using the AC, which is that cool temperatures can extend curing time. But it’s not a very substantial drawback, since tints don’t take long to dry to begin with.
Nevertheless, using the AC is unavoidable because rolling the windows down is not an option after you just had the film installed. You wouldn’t want to have an uncomfortably hot commute with the AC off.
Will Rain Ruin My Newly Tinted Windows?
No, rain won’t ruin new window tints, as they are on the car’s interior side. Same as when you get a car wash after tints, as long as the windows are closed, the tints will be unharmed.
How to Wash Tinted Car Windows
1. Create a Mild Cleaning Solution
Harsh cleaners with alcohol and ammonia must be avoided when cleaning tinted car windows, as they can damage the tints. To be safe, you can make a gentle cleaning spray by combining two cups of warm water and a tablespoon of mild dish soap in a spray bottle.
2. Or Use a Gentle Commercial Cleaner
If you’re going for a commercial cleaner, make sure to get one that’s gentle and ammonia-free. Some examples of such cleaners are Turtle Wax Dash & Glass and Ammonia-Free Windex.
3. Apply the Cleaner on the Tinted Surfaces
It’s advisable to use a microfiber cloth when applying the cleaner. It’s soft but effective and won’t scratch the tints and leave any lint and streaks.
Avoid cleaning materials that are coarse such as plastic sponges, scouring pads, steel wool, abrasive cloth, paper towels, and newspapers. Even if there are stubborn contaminants on the tints, don’t use these, as you can just leave the cleaner on the contaminants for a few minutes to loosen them.
Don’t spray your cleaner directly onto the windows, as it’d cause streaks and overspray. Instead, spray it on the microfiber cloth, and wipe the cloth on the tinted surfaces.
Don’t wipe against the tint edge’s direction, as it’d risk peeling the tint. Also don’t soak the edges too much, as it can cause bubbles and make the tint peel.
4. Wipe the Tinted Windows Dry
With another clean, dry microfiber cloth, wipe your tinted windows dry. Ensure no moisture is left behind for a clear, streak-free surface.
Can you wash your car after getting windows tinted? You can confidently wash car after window tint as soon as you wish.
Your vehicle’s cleanliness does not have to be sacrificed for new UV films. Just make sure to keep your windows closed so that no water can get in and impede the tints’ curing process and destroy them.