LAST UPDATED: April 7, 2021
Best Car Window Cleaners: Bring Clarity to Your Drive
Get pristine, crystal clear windows with these top-quality car window cleaners.
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PUBLISHED ON April 7, 2021
Few things are more annoying when driving your car than a cloudy, streaky windshield that’s hard to see through. Not only is it annoying, it’s also dangerous. Whether driving on a clear, sunny day, through rain, snow, or fog, or at night, you need to be able to see what’s outside your vehicle clearly and accurately.
There’s also something so satisfying about having a car with pristinely clean windows. This is where a good quality, streak-free window cleaner comes in handy. It’s so frustrating to clean your windows with a window cleaner only to come back when you want to drive somewhere and see that it has left streaks all over your windshield and windows.
If you’re looking for a great car window cleaner that won’t disappoint and will leave your windows looking as good as new, we got you covered with our top-of-the-line recommendations and handy buying guide that will help you weed through the hype and get a reliable cleaner that’s not a waste of money.
Invisible Glass boasts just that: glass that’s so clean it looks transparent. The ammonia-, streak-, and residue-free formula makes this glass cleaner safe for use on almost any surface.
- One bottle of Invisible Glass goes a long way when it comes to cleaning glass in your home, your vehicle(s), and even your motorcycle or RV
- A 32-ounce bottle is a lot to hold if you plan on cleaning a lot of glass at one time
Known to some as the industry standard when it comes to glass cleaner, Sprayway comes packaged in a slim can that can easily be stowed for later use.
- The foaming action of this glass cleaner provides easy application since the product won’t drip down into the window tracks
- If by chance you were to drop the can or somehow dislodge the nozzle from its mounting point, the entire can is unusable
For a glass cleaner you can use on multiple surfaces, check out TriNova’s formula, which works just as hard to scrub off debris as it does in wiping off haze-free.
- TriNova’s aggressive formula cleans deep while still leaving a streak-free shine
- Ammonia-free formula won’t dry out any surface you use it on
- TriNova doesn’t provide the most ergonomic design when it comes to bottle size and shape, especially considering the thin neck and wide shoulders on this product
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Why Buy Car Window Cleaner
- Supplement your regular car-washing routine. Running your car through an automated wash or even hand-washing it yourself isn’t always enough, especially if the dirt and grime is on the inside of your car. Let’s face it, if you’ve got kids or pets, chances are high that you’ve had more than your fair share of fingerprints, nose prints, paw prints, and who knows what else on your car’s windows.
- Safely see out of your windows while driving. Being able to see around you in all directions is key to driving safely. While a little bit of dust here and there isn’t going to hurt anyone, major streaks, debris, bug guts, and grime can be distracting and can cause you to miss seeing something important.
- It's versatile. Glass cleaner, whether it’s intended for your automobile or around the house, can be used for a variety of other purposes. After you clean all the glass in your bathrooms, try the cleaner on your glass stovetop, your microwave and toaster, and even your glass-top coffee table.
- Touch up your vehicle. Whether you drove through a cloud of bugs or just need to clean the dog slobber from your rear windows, glass cleaner can help. We don’t recommend using it as an exterior detailer, but it will clear up headlights as well.
- Remove hard water spots from your car. The chemicals found in tap water can stain glass surfaces over time. The same can be said for water that may sit on your vehicle. Even most clay bars will have a hard time getting the water stains off your paint, so invest in glass cleaner instead.
- Safely clean computer screens and other electronics. You can spray glass cleaner onto a microfiber towel and then wipe your computer screens, phone screens, and even keyboards down to clean them. If you’re worried about any residue, simply purchase a can of compressed air.
Car Window Cleaner Types
Aerosol Spray Can
Many glass cleaners out there today are compressed into a spray can for easy application. The replaceable cap is useful for storing and using the glass cleaner at a later time. Aerosol glass cleaners typically foam up and thus require a bit of shaking to prime. We don’t recommend storing spray can glass cleaners upside down. Keep them in a cool, dry place where they can stand right side up.
Another popular way to package glass cleaner is in your typical spray bottle with a squeeze trigger. Many bottles range anywhere from 19 to 32 ounces and should be stored right side up, as you would with aerosol glass cleaners. You might find the squeeze trigger easier to use than the spray nozzle since there is more surface area for your finger to contact. Glass cleaner in spray bottles is not compressed, so there’s less of a chance of it exploding in extreme circumstances. Be sure to store it in a cool, dry place when not in use.
Glass cleaner wipes are probably something you’ve seen used for cleaning eyeglasses. We don’t recommend using them on your entire car since you’ll easily go through at least three or four wipes, making them a less economical option than spray cleaners. However, they can be useful if you’re trying to see out of your windshield/side mirrors or need to clean off your headlights for safety reasons. Wipes typically come in resealable packs that can be easily stored in a door pocket or behind the seat.
Knowing what’s in your glass cleaner can mean a world of difference if you have tinted windows. Choosing a cleaner that’s ammonia-free ensures your window tint won’t break down and degrade faster than it should. Alcohol allows the glass cleaner to evaporate quickly, but such an ingredient may adversely affect your senses. If you’re worried about other chemicals that might be found in glass cleaner (such as alcohol), check the label before you buy.
One of the most well-known names in the glass-cleaning industry, Sprayway has been in the business since 1947. The company headquarters is located in Illinois. If you’re looking to buy glass cleaner in bulk, check out this 12-pack of Sprayway Glass Cleaner.
Part of the S.C. Johnson’s family company, Windex has become a household name—and the source of many jokes and comedies. S.C. Johnson has 130+ years of experience and it shows in the products it offers. Check out this Windex 2-pack if you’re a die-hard fan.
With its headquarters in Pennsylvania, Invisible Glass has been at the cleaning game since 1942. You should consider its Invisible Glass Combo Set if you’re looking for a starter pack.
Located in Houston, Texas, Rain-X carries 40-plus years’ worth of experience in the automotive industry. We recommend its 2-in-1 Glass Cleaner + Rain Repellent, especially if you live anywhere north of its hometown.
Armor All first began in 1966. Known for carrying a multitude of automotive care products, Armor All does offer its own Glass Wipes if you’re looking for a quick solution to a dirty window or windshield. The company is now part of Energizer but stays headquartered in Missouri.
California was just the right place for Meguiar’s to call home in 1901. The brand continues to stay strong in the face of fierce competition in the automotive care circuit, as evidenced by its Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner.
Car Window Cleaner Pricing
- $2 to $10: Most single spray bottles and aerosol cans that are around 19-32 ounces can be found in this price range. Many glass cleaner wipes will be found here too. Spending more certainly doesn’t mean that you’re getting a better product, however.
- $11 to $25: You won’t (or shouldn’t) spend more than $15 for a single can/bottle of glass cleaner. For this price, you can purchase larger quantities and refill sizes of your favorite glass cleaner. Some glass cleaning kits will fall into this price category as well and may include the glass cleaner itself, a wand, and perhaps some microfiber towels.
- $26 to $35: Surprisingly, you can find glass cleaner products and kits in this price range. You’ll usually get bulk refills and concentrates, as well as some higher-end kits that promise you the world. It’s certainly not necessary to spend this much to get a good quality product that delivers excellent results, though.
Applying glass cleaner to your vehicle shouldn’t be the hard part. Choose a glass cleaner that goes on easy in whichever way you choose, whether it’s via a spray bottle, aerosol can, or glass wipe. Spray bottles tend to be easier to use, but you may find the spray nozzle on an aerosol can to be less demanding of your hand. Multiple spray patterns aid in quick application as well.
Most car window cleaners have chemicals, such as ammonia, chlorine, butoxyethanol, and more. While these chemicals are great at cleaning and not leaving behind any streaks, they can be harmful to children, pets, and people with skin sensitivities and allergies. If you’re concerned about that, consider choosing products with natural ingredients, such as vinegar and essential oils that are less likely to irritate your skin and respiratory tract.
Glass wipes are perhaps the most ergonomic of glass cleaners because they mold to your hand during use. At the same time, spray bottles and aerosol cans work best when they mimic this design. A long spray bottleneck aids in grip, along with a lengthier trigger. Avoid aerosol cans that are chunky in size.
Unless you have the luxury of washing your car at home, you’ll have to keep a bottle or can of glass cleaner handy in the back seat or trunk of your vehicle. Glass wipes win out over spray bottles and aerosol cans in this aspect, because they don’t need to be oriented a certain way to avoid spillage. However, spray cans are more flexible in this sense than spray bottles.
Rated for Tinted Windows
Whether or not your windows are tinted, you should purchase a glass cleaner that is safe for this type of aftermarket upgrade. Tint-safe glass cleaners don’t include ammonia in their formula, so stay away from those products that list it as an ingredient. The more non-toxic your glass cleaner, the safer it is to use not only on your glass, but also in other applications as well.
Most glass cleaners carry a less-than-noticeable scent that quickly dissipates once the product hits the air. Like anything automotive related, however, there might be some manufacturers that add a little aroma to their products. If scented glass cleaner is something you’re sensitive to, make sure the product you choose has nothing more than a trace of chemical smell. It might not be completely odor-free, but it’s as close as you can possibly get.
Glass cleaners only work when they leave your windows looking new. Choose a streak-free formula so you don’t have to climb in, out, and around your vehicle trying to make sure you wipe away all the haze. Glass cleaners that leave a residue behind are notorious for causing streaks, so avoid these products if you can.
- High-Quality Microfiber Cloths. While it’s important to buy a streak-free car window cleaner, having superior microfiber cloths goes a long way. A good microfiber cloth will be soft with short fibers. They come in a variety of colors depending on the manufacturer. If you can budget for it, it’s better to purchase microfiber cloths in bulk because you can easily use them to dust around the house as well.
- Buy in Bulk. This is especially true if you use car window cleaner for more than just your car windows. It’s hardly satisfying to clean a window or mirror half-way and then realize you don’t have enough cleaner to finish the job. It’s also much more economical and can save you money in the long run. We recommend finding a product you like and then ordering it in multiples the next time you shop for it.
- Pre-mixed vs. Concentrates. If you’re someone who likes to buy in bulk, choosing to purchase concentrates might be a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to ordering pallets of aerosol cans. At the same time, you will have to mix your glass cleaner and have it ready to go before you clean your windows. It’s not the most convenient solution, but it is budget-friendly and uses much less packaging.
- Price Per Ounce. When comparing glass cleaner products, it can be a good idea to price each contender out per ounce. Let’s say you’ve narrowed the field down to three products (as we have above). If you’re not sure which to choose, do the math. While the price per ounce shouldn’t necessarily be a determining factor in your decision, it can help you distinguish between low-end and higher-quality glass cleaning products.
Best Car Window Cleaners Reviews & Recommendations 2021
Invisible Glass wins our pick for the best car window cleaner overall because it’s the most product that you can get for the price and that removes a number of contaminants without leaving a single streak. This automotive glass cleaner comes in a 32-ounce spray bottle.
They call it a mirror-like finish for nothing. When you clean a mirror, you want to be able to see a crystal clear image, so that’s why we chose Invisible Glass. You won’t have to worry about hazing, streaks, or residue. Invisible Glass even works on chrome surfaces to shine up your bling. The formula is ammonia-free, so it’s safe to use on tinted windows. The spray bottle packaging means you won’t have to worry about the compressed air within, as you would with an aerosol can.
However, you might find the spray bottle, at over 30 ounces of product, becomes heavy over time. You also aren’t able to adjust the spray pattern, unfortunately. At the same time, Invisible Glass makes it easy for any driver to clean their windows with ease.
A close second, Sprayway’s Glass Cleaner wins our value pick this time around. A favorite among professionals, Sprayway gives a nod to the environmental folks with their recyclable cans that are actually made of recycled steel. It just goes to show that you can clean your windows and save the environment at the same time.
In all seriousness, Sprayway brings a strong, no-drip formula to the table. With zero ammonia and ozone-depleting chemicals, you won’t have to worry about damaging your tinted windows or the ozone layer. Sprayway’s glass cleaner has little to no aroma. With a replaceable cap and ergonomic can shape, Sprayway glass cleaner offers up a small-but-mighty product.
Like almost any aerosol can, losing the nozzle means the can becomes a dud. Without any way to release the glass cleaner within the can, your only choice is to dispose of the product. Aerosol glass cleaners are harder to store since they have to be upright and can be awkward to stuff behind a seat or in the trunk. For all intents and purposes, however, Sprayway is a product nearly any driver can use.
There are many products we could have chosen as our honorable mention, but TriNova caught our attention with one simple characteristic. This humble glass cleaner is able to remove hard water spots with ease, whether they’re discoloring your vehicle’s paint or hazing up the inside of your shower doors.
TriNova also sets themselves apart by not testing their products on animals. Their car glass cleaner is packaged in a spray bottle with a long trigger for better grip during application. The TriNova glass cleaner is rated for both indoor and outdoor use so you can clean anything from your RV to your patio furniture. The streak- and ammonia-free formula makes it an easy alternative to our top picks above as well.
The spray bottle TriNova packages its glass cleaner in isn’t the most ergonomic. Gripping the product, with its small trigger and wide-shouldered bottle design, could be difficult for you, especially if you have larger hands. However, this glass cleaner is easy for almost anyone to use.
Chemical Guys is a reliable company that never fails to deliver high-quality products. This time, it offers a highly efficient glass cleaner that can be used on car windows, mirrors, computers, phones, and more. With such a wide application, it's one of the most versatile cleaners on the market. You can use it on your vehicles as well as around the household.
What makes this product stand apart from others is a unique streak-free formula. The liquid sprays and spreads on the surface with ease, removing dirt, dust, debris, bugs, and other types of residue without leaving streaks. The formula is also non-toxic and ammonia-free, which makes it safe to use on all kinds of surfaces. You can even use it on tinted windows. Additionally, the cleaner leaves a fresh smell that lingers.
There are a few things to keep in mind with this cleaner, though. First of all, it might leave some streaks on the exterior if not wiped off carefully. It might require some extra elbow grease. Secondly, some users noticed that the nozzle tends to loosen up after a while.
If you're looking for a versatile product you can use on different glass types, this might be a perfect choice for you. The Rain-X cleaner is ideal for all kinds of vehicles and windows around the house. You'll be able to clean glass surfaces rather quickly and effortlessly.
The Rain-X cleaner features an efficient formula that removes snow, ice, bugs, dirt, water spots, and other residues. It also leaves a protective coat that repels rain. The application is super easy—you just need to spray the liquid on the surface and wipe it off. No extra buffing is required. Also, the product leaves no residue behind, so you won't notice those annoying streaks after cleanup.
The main drawback of this product comes from the powerful formula. It might damage the tint on the inside glass of car doors, so make sure to use it with extra care. Also, some buyers complained about getting bottles that leaked during shipping.
Meguiar's is one of the best-rated companies when it comes to automotive cleaning products. With a wide range of cleaners, polishers, and waxes, it provides customers with many choices. Our pick is the glass cleaner concentrate that proves to be very efficient in removing dirt, bugs, and other residues from glass surfaces.
The concentrated formula is incredibly effective at cleaning both the inside and outside of car windows. You'll have crystal clear glass without much effort. The liquid sprays and wipes off effortlessly, which makes the overall cleaning process as easy as it can get. Although very powerful, the formula won't damage the window tints and is safe to use. The product comes in a 1-gallon bottle and lasts for quite a while.
Just keep in mind that this product might require some extra buffing for flawless results. It tends to leave some streaks if not wiped thoroughly. Also, a lot of users complained about the strong scent that lingers for quite a while. You might need to wait some time after cleanup to drive your vehicle.
The Stoner wipes are ideal for those who are looking for a quick cleaning solution that can be used on the road. They come in a convenient container you can take with you and keep within hand's reach for emergencies. For such versatility and portability, they are also very well-priced.
These wipes efficiently clean glass surfaces, removing bird droppings, bug splatters, dirt, grime, and more. They don't leave any streaks or residue themselves and allow for hassle-free use. You'll be able to easily wipe away annoying residue from both inside and outside windows.
Additionally, the wipes are ammonia-free. They are safe for tinted windows and don't leave any odors. All in all, these wipes make cleaning glass surfaces super easy.
Still, it's important to keep in mind that these wipes are designed for quick cleanups. Therefore, they are not the best solution for removing stubborn stains and piles of dirt. Also, you might need to use a microfiber towel to wipe the surface after the first cleanup. This way, you can avoid possible residue that the wipes might leave on the surface.
What list of top-quality glass cleaners would be complete without a product from Windex? Windex is probably the largest and most well-known manufacturer of reliable glass cleaners in the world, and the Windex Glass and Window Cleaner is perfect for use on automobile glass. It starts working right away to deliver a top-notch streak-free cleaning.
This glass cleaner is also an excellent choice for use on multiple surfaces, such as mirrors, sealed granite and marble, stainless steel, UV-protected windows, glass stovetops and shower doors, bathroom surfaces and fixtures, plastic, tile, vinyl, aluminum, and more. With a bottle that’s made from 100 percent recycled ocean bound plastic, it’s also an environmentally friendly option. Be sure to use a lint-free cloth or dry paper towel to get a streak-free finish. Other materials may leave streaky residue behind.
Adam's Glass Cleaner is an efficient product you can use on both inside and outside car windows. It comes from a reliable company that never fails to deliver high-quality products. With a powerful formula, this cleaner proves to be one of the top products within the category.
The cleaner has a concentrated formula that is safe to use on tinted and non-tinted windows. It applies in a breeze and leaves a protective coating on the surface. The product is eco-friendly, doesn't contain ammonia, and ensures enhanced visibility. It's ideal for removing dirt, dust, debris, water, and other substances. Additionally, it has a fresh smell that lingers.
The main drawback of the product is the tendency to leave some residue. The glass might be foggy if not wiped carefully. There's another possible issue with the product. Some buyers didn't receive the bottle with the sprayer nozzle. Having to use the sprayer from another bottle is quite inconvenient.
Another well-known and trusted name in interior auto care is ArmorAll, and the Armor All Auto Glass Cleaner is a prime example of why. This auto glass cleaner is a tough and efficient spray that works on both your car’s interior and exterior glass. This product is specifically formulated for your car, so it’s able to tackle some seriously caked-on dirt, dust, and grime without damaging specialized automotive surfaces. It works great on your boat and RV as well.
You can also use this cleaner on a multitude of other surfaces, including household vinyl, tile, glass, marble, granite, aluminum, and more. This, and all ArmorAll products, are proudly manufactured in the United States. As an added tip, try using newspaper instead of paper towels with this product to clean your glass. The newspaper also acts as a polishing agent, giving you even more clarity and shine. Some customers complain that the trigger on the spray nozzle needs to be a little larger and more durable.
HOPE’S Perfect Glass Cleaner gets a shout out for being ranked the number one rated glass cleaner in testing by a major leading consumer magazine in 2008, 2011, and 2015. It cleans faster and with less effort than some other glass cleaners on the market. Specifically designed with a no-residue formula, this glass cleaner easily eliminates the haze that many others leave behind. Because it’s ammonia-free, it is completely safe to use on your car’s tinted windows and tint film coverings.
As with many other glass cleaners on our list, Perfect Glass Cleaner is also safe and effective for use on mirrors, tabletops, glass cooktops, light fixtures, TV screens, shower doors, sealed granite and marble, computer screens, and more. If you choose to use it on computer or phone screens, be sure to spray the cleaner on a cloth to wipe the screen, and not on the screen directly. It’s also not recommended to use this product on prescription eyewear, as it can damage the UV and anti-scratch coatings.
Car Window Cleaner Tips and Advice
- Clean your windows last. Besides wiping down the outside of your car one final time, it should be one of the finishing steps in your car-washing routine. Windows are notorious for picking up the smallest dust that might float by, so save yourself the hassle by cleaning them only once.
- When cleaning your car’s windows, be sure to use cloths that are guaranteed to be lint-free to avoid leaving streaks. Dry paper towels and dry newspaper are also good at making sure you get a streak-free clean.
- If you use microfiber cloths to clean your windows, don’t dry them in the dryer with a fabric softener. This leaves a film on the cloth that directly translates into streaky windows when used with your window cleaner.
- When cleaning your windshield (both inside and out), attack one half at a time. Clean the interior of both driver and passenger sides before cleaning the outside. When you’re sitting inside the car, don’t forget to clean your visor mirrors and rearview mirror as well.
- Glass cleaner works best when it is applied in a cool, dry area to a cool, dry car. Direct sunlight will only increase the evaporation rate of the glass cleaner, and by the time you’ve only done one window, you’ll be ready to quit out of frustration. Prevent streaks and aggravation by looking for a shaded spot.
Q: Should I avoid any areas of my vehicle when using a glass cleaner?
While many car glass cleaners are safe and recommended for use on multiple surfaces, including household applications, be sure to read the label of the brand you choose prior to use. Some glass cleaners can damage stickers or decals, as well as remove the lettering printed on your dash, stereo, and steering wheel.
Q: Can I use glass cleaner on the interior of my car?
Again, this depends on the brand of glass cleaner that you use. Most are safe for dashes, door handles, touch screen displays, vinyl seats, etc. Read your label first, though, to avoid damage and heartache. We certainly don’t recommend using glass cleaner on your car’s leather interior, either.
Q: Will glass cleaner remove bugs/tree sap/tar/road paint/bird droppings?
In theory, most glass cleaners will be effective at removing bug guts and bird droppings, depending on how thickly these things are coated onto your windows. However, for most tough cases, you’ll need a stronger, more targeted cleaner, especially for really sticky and tough tree sap, tar, and road paint. We recommend trying more aggressive cleaners on an inconspicuous area first to ensure that they don’t damage your car’s finish or paint.
Q: What’s the best way to apply glass cleaner?
The best way to apply car glass cleaner is to spray the cleaner directly onto a clean and soft microfiber or paper towel, then apply this to the windows in a uniform direction. Try to keep a set of towels dedicated only to window cleaning to ensure they don’t get contaminated with other chemicals and leave behind unsightly greasy streaks and debris, or worse, scratch the surface of your windows. Try also to avoid applying glass cleaner in extreme heat or direct sunlight, as this can cause it to dry out faster than you can wipe it off, leaving streaks behind.
Q: How often should I clean my windows?
While many people recommend cleaning your windows each time you wash your vehicle, you may be able to get away with cleaning your interior windows less frequently. However, if you have children or pets who tend to touch the windows and windshield frequently, you may want to clean more often. If it’s a stormy or messy time of year, you may need to clean pollen, bird droppings, bug guts, mud, and other debris off your windows more frequently — maybe even daily.
Now that you know all you need to know about top-quality car window cleaners, it’s easy to see why we chose Invisible Glass Glass Cleaner as our top pick. Not only does it provide a pristine, streak-free clean, but it also comes in a comfortable, user-friendly bottle and is offered at a great price point.
If you’re looking to get the biggest bang for your buck, however, check out Sprayway’s Glass Cleaner. It’s a favorite of not only budget-conscious consumers but professional auto detailers as well.