Tested: The Best Automotive Glass Cleaners for 2023

Tested: The Best Automotive Glass Cleaners for 2023

Why is ammonia bad for car windows?

Ammonia isn’t bad for car windows—it’s bad for tint. The tint can bubble, lighten, and disintegrate after prolonged cleaning with ammonia-based cleaners. For this reason, nearly all automotive glass cleaners are ammonia-free.

How do I clean the inside of my car windows?

Just like you would the outside. Ideally, you want to get as much heavy grime off the window as you can before buffing it to a sparkle. Use a clean, lint-free microfiber cloth to wipe your cleaner in slow, circular motions. Avoid using paper towels, as these can actually leave small scratches in your window. Make sure to roll your window down a bit to clean the very top too.

What is ceramic glass cleaner?

Ceramic glass cleaner seems to be gaining traction in the automotive-detailing world. This stuff features a combination of cleaner and ceramic coating to remove contaminants while leaving behind a water-repelling residue. Some ceramic glass cleaners boast that you won’t need to use your windshield wipers, as the water beads right off as you drive.

We found that ceramic glass cleaners take a bit more effort to properly apply. You may need to perform additional spray-and-wipe cycles to get it truly crystal clear—and we had to use extra elbow grease to remove some pesky streaks and haze. The longevity of ceramic glass coatings varies between products, but using your wipers will decrease the lifespan of the coating.

Why trust us?

This test was conducted in an environment that provided equal testing procedures for each product: the Car and Driver garage. We tested each glass cleaner on an equally dirty section of a large rear window, taking detailed notes on each cleaner’s performance, streaking, dry feel, and residue. Upon tallying up our findings, we agreed that our test provided enough information to recommend picks to our readers.

Hearst Autos combines the talent, resources, and expertise of three of the largest, most influential automotive publications in the world. We don’t need to scramble for traffic or promote lousy products to make a sale. We’re concerned with our legacy, our reputation, and the trust that our readers have in Autoweek, Car and Driver, and Road & Track to deliver honest evaluations and expert opinions.

Read more about our product testing and evaluation process here.