All too often, after cleaning your car and cleaning the interior windshield, you’re still left with a streaky mess. Is it the cleaning solution? Are you using a window cleaner or generic glass cleaner? Or just paper towels and warm water? Do you wipe back and forth or in a circular motion? When you wipe a window down, why does glass cleaner still leave streaks?

Here are a few glass cleaning and window cleaning tips (and a few things to avoid) to help you clean your interior auto glass without being left with smears and streaks.

Make a DIY cleaner

• Mix a bowl of warm water with a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and add in just a few drops of vinegar (whatever you have in the kitchen should do the trick).
• Have two microfiber towels ready to go. Soak one in the bowl of cleaning solution and make sure the other is clean and dry. (You can also mix this solution in a spray bottle to save the excess for later.)
• Twist the excess water out of the soaked microfiber cloth and wipe the interior of the car windshield. Once you’ve thoroughly washed the inside of the windshield, dry the surface with a clean, dry microfiber cloth. Follow the same process with your windows and back windshield.

Pre-clean, clean, and dry

• Before applying a store-bought glass cleaner or DIY solution to your windshield, go ahead and clean it up with a dry microfiber towel. Use circular motions initially and follow up by wiping in an up and down motion. This pre-clean will remove the bulk of the oil, dust, and another build-up so that the window cleaner can more easily remove any stubborn lingering residue.
• Clean it up with a cleaner specifically formulated to remove grease, like dishwashing detergent and vinegar, auto glass cleaner, or a magic eraser.
• Use newspapers or microfiber cloths to dry the windshield. Leaving harsh cleaning solutions sitting on the glass can damage any protective coatings or tints, particularly if your car is parked outside in the heat and exposed to direct sunlight. On top of removing any streaks, you’ll want to be sure that any residue from the cleaning solution is completely gone.

When and When Not To Clean?

Cleaning is always necessary for spills, sticky stuff, fingerprints, and smudges, but you shouldn’t need to clean when the windows get fogged up. In wintertime, you see a lot of people wiping the interior glass to see out, but this will only make things worse once the fog dissipates. If you absolutely have to clear the fog quickly, use a microfiber cloth as this won’t leave lint and will eliminate the change of streaking. Your bare hand on a foggy surface will cause problems, too. Your hands carry oils and when your hand is wiped on a glass surface, the oils transfer to the glass and will smudge, print, and create visibility problems.
Overall, keeping your glass clear isn’t tough, but you can make it tough if you don’t know proper practice. Here I’ve clarified some of the common mistakes that drivers everywhere make, and if you make it a priority to avoid these mistakes you will notice cleaner, clearer glass whenever you’re in your car.