To enjoy the UV protection, privacy, and sleek aesthetics that car window tints provide, you must know how to clean tinted car windows.
This article will show you the process in detail and the right products and tools to use and what not to use to achieve streak-free, damage-free car cleaning results.
The steps work for all kinds of tints, whether for ceramic tint, carbon tint, metalized tint, etc. Tips for maintaining tints are also provided in this article.
Table of Contents
- What to Prepare
- Steps to Clean Tinted Car Windows
- Step 1: If They’re Newly Installed, Let Them Cure First.
- Step 2: Get a Tint-Friendly Window Cleaner.
- Step 3: Park in a Shaded Area.
- Step 4: Apply the Cleaner With a Microfiber Towel.
- Step 5: Wipe the Windows Clean With Another Microfiber Towel.
- Step 6: Wipe the Windows Dry.
- Step 7: Get Rid of Any Bubbles With a Credit Card and Microfiber Towel.
- Maintaining Tinted Car Windows
What to Prepare
- Dish soap and warm water OR a commercial window cleaner
- Microfiber cloths
- Spray bottle
Steps to Clean Tinted Car Windows
Step 1: If They’re Newly Installed, Let Them Cure First.
Newly installed tints need time to cure for them to fully stick to windows.
It may be safe to do an exterior car wash after window tint installation if the film’s in the vehicle interior, but if the window tints are cleaned or even simply rolled down before they’re bonded to the glass, this would cause them to form bubbles and imperfections or loosen.
If you notice your tinted windows are a bit dirty, don’t mind them and wait for a few days to a week before cleaning them, depending on the tints’ exposure to the sun, but to be sure, you may ask the staff at the tint shop.
Step 2: Get a Tint-Friendly Window Cleaner.
- Homemade Window Cleaner
There’s the option of using a homemade cleaner for tinted windows for those who’d rather use something they already have at home, but there are some items you must avoid. Experts advise not to use vinegar, baking soda, and alcohol, as they can damage the tints.
A combination of water and dish soap for window tinting would work effectively in sanitizing the film without damaging it. To make the solution, mix a tablespoon of dish soap with two cups of warm water in a spray bottle.
- Ammonia-Free Commercial Window Cleaner
When choosing a commercial product, you have to make sure that it’s an ammonia-free glass cleaner, as ammonia can cause streaks as well as peeling and fading on the tints. Since most cleaning products contain ammonia, you must check their labels before purchase.
For example, you can safely clean with Windex, which is ammonia-free. Other examples of ammonia-free cleaners are Turtle Wax Dash & Glass, Sprayway, and ZEP.
Step 3: Park in a Shaded Area.
You must do the task in a shaded area to keep your car away from the sun, which can quickly dry out the soap and cause buildup, streaks, and water spots. It would be best for the car to be parked in the garage, but if you don’t have that option, an overhang may also be good.
Step 4: Apply the Cleaner With a Microfiber Towel.
Another thing you need to use when you clean windows with tinted film is a microfiber towel. It’s recommendable for its effectiveness in wiping away contaminants and its gentleness that allows it to thoroughly clean surfaces without causing scratches.
Don’t use rough cloths, heavy-duty scrub mitts, heavy-duty sponges, scourers, steel wool, and other abrasive cleaning materials, as they can scratch the tinted windows and reduce their clarity. Paper towels must also not be used to avoid getting lint, streaks, and smudges on the surface.
To prevent overspray in your car interior and streaks, it’s advisable to spray the cleaner onto the microfiber towel, then wipe the windows, both on the inside and outside.
Remember to also roll down the windows and clean their top edges, as contaminants often get trapped in these areas. But be careful not to over-soak the tints’ edges, as the cleaner can seep under them, causing bubbles to form.
To prevent the cleaner from seeping under the tints, immediately follow the cleaner application with another dry towel to dry the edges as soon as possible. Also, follow the direction of the tints’ edges when wiping and avoid going against them to help prevent peeling.
Step 5: Wipe the Windows Clean With Another Microfiber Towel.
The cleaner must not be left to dry, as that would cause streaks. You must wipe off the cleaner and contaminants immediately after application.
Same with the cleaner application, use a microfiber towel for wiping off the residues. It would help to wipe with vertical strokes, then follow with horizontal strokes to prevent streaks.
Step 6: Wipe the Windows Dry.
With another microfiber towel, wipe the windows again to ensure they’re dry and spotless. Again, don’t use abrasive cleaning materials that can scratch the windows.
Step 7: Get Rid of Any Bubbles With a Credit Card and Microfiber Towel.
If bubbles appear on your window tints, you can smooth them out with the use of a credit card and microfiber towel. Wrap the microfiber towel around the credit card, glide them over the bubble, and push the bubbles towards the edge of the tints.
If the bubbles are in the center, you may pop them with a small pin or needle. Don’t go overboard with these items though, or you’ll cause large holes to form.
Maintaining Tinted Car Windows
- When cleaning your car, wash tinted windows Otherwise, they may get dirty again if you clean them first, as the contaminants from the other parts of the car may get scattered on them.
- Make sure to thoroughly dry your car after washing, especially around the tints’ edges to prevent peeling.
- Keep a microfiber towel in your car for wiping off rainwater, as this liquid is acidic and can damage the tint.
- Although window tints have UV shielding properties, they may become brittle and peel when exposed to intense, direct heat for extended periods. So it would be best to park your car in a garage or areas that provide shade.
- Be careful with your movements in your car, as accidents can cause scratching and chipping, such as seatbelt whiplash when you carelessly take it off or when loading and unloading objects with sharp edges and corners.
How to clean tinted car windows is a task that has to be done with extra care, which requires specific products, tools, and techniques. Just carefully follow the steps for cleaning and the tips for maintaining car window tints, and you’ll always have spotless, streak-free, and damage-free windows that last.