Auto Glass Cleaning Tips

Ways to Remove Spots and Residue from Your Car Windows

You rely upon your windshield for a number of reasons – it helps keep the wind from striking you in the face while driving, diverts debris away from you, and keeps out moisture in the event of precipitation. In the past, windshields were capable of providing these benefits but did not have some of the more modern features like tinting available. As windshields continue to garner more and more features, the aesthetic appeal is something that becomes more of an expectation than an amenity. Unfortunately, there are plenty of real-life events and elements that can disrupt your visibility and clarity while on the road.

The most common form of distraction while on the road is the spots of residue, dirt, and other substances that can find their way onto your windshield. Over time, many of these types of spots will slowly build a home on the surface of your windshield, making it very difficult to clean them via traditional means. This should not be something that you have to simply ignore whenever you get behind the wheel. Thankfully, there is now enough knowledge and ingenuity at our fingertips to remove these troublesome occurrences from the auto glass and ensure safe driving. Below, we will discuss a few different ways that you can remove spots and residue from your windshield and windows.

Remedies for Water Spots

These troublesome spots are the most common form of distraction that can manifest on your windshield and require an auto glass repair. You no doubt have many of these water spots on your windshield right now; most are subtle enough that they are only noticed in certain forms of light, but wet conditions and other situations can cause them to suddenly appear more pronounced. When you are driving in inclement weather, you need to be sure that these water spots are not producing additional glare or obfuscating visibility. Thankfully, there are a couple of different remedies to consider.


The first remedy that can be used on water spots is an application of vinegar. Since water spots are primarily comprised of minerals like calcium, an acidic substance such as vinegar can be a great way to break down the bonds. Water spots can also be caused by acid rain, soap, and other so-called additives, but calcium is the most common culprit. By mixing a 50-50 solution of vinegar and water in a bottle, you can spray it onto any glass surface and allow the concoction to sit for a few minutes. After this time, you need only wipe down the windshield with a smooth, soft cloth to remove the residue. Do keep in mind that depending on the amount of residue, you may need to repeat this process more than once.

Steel Wool

Another common way to remove some of these troublesome spots from your windshield is via the use of steel wool. Since most of the accumulation of water spots is directly tied to minerals such as sodium and calcium, a fine-grade steel wool option can be the perfect way to remove these minerals from the surface of your windshield. You can find the perfect type of steel wool for this task at a hardware store, so please ask the next time you visit. Traditional steel wool solutions (like the type designed to clean dishes) can be too abrasive and may damage the windshield, according to the Auto Glass Rescue Blog. This process works best for older windshields – if you have a newer windshield, then continue reading to find out about a better solution.

Detail Clay

Depending upon the age of your windshield, detail clay may be the best solution for the removal of these spots. With older windshields, small pits and holes in the surface of the windshield may pick up this clay and leave it trapped there. If you own a newer windshield, however, detail clay can be a great tool that removes water spots and other types of residue. You can simply roll the clay across the windshield in a back and forth fashion to collect this debris and remove it safely from the windshield. Detail and auto glass shops keep plenty of detail clay in stock, so don’t be afraid to ask for this powerful solution.

Tougher Stains

Sometimes, aesthetic damage and staining are simply too profound to be adequately removed via the above remedies. In this case, you may need to make an appointment with your local auto glass repair shop. While the glass may not be damaged, these businesses will have the tools necessary to assess your windshield and see if the stains and spots can be removed. In many cases, they have special solutions on-hand that can remove even the most difficult of spots in no time at all. You may wish to check with your auto insurance company beforehand, however, as these costs may not be covered.

Safety is the number one concern when it comes to your windshield. Even if your auto glass is free of cracks and chips, smudges and spots can prove to be hazardous when on the open road. It is because of these concerns that occasional maintenance of your glass in the form of cleaning is needed to prevent the serious build-up of minerals, dirt, and other contaminants. You can quickly perform most of these forms of maintenance every few weeks, but a prolonged ignoring of the situation can make the removal process much more difficult. When in doubt, always consult with an auto glass technician to ensure no damage occurs to your windshield or windows.