In order to get your car windows spotless, you'll need a great glass cleaner. But what makes one cleaner better for cars than the next? It all comes down to the formula. The tl;dr? The
best glass cleaners for car windows will have a no-drip formula that prevents streaks from forming.
Since most car windows are nearly vertical, any watery formula will roll down the glass as soon as you apply it, inevitably causing streaks. Be sure that whichever cleaner you go with foams up, or at least stays put while you wipe.
You also want to take a good, hard look at your window situation before you invest in a cleaner. If you tend not to drive much, there may not be as much grime to clean off your windows, and you can go with a standard automotive cleaner. On the other hand, if you drive often, you may need to invest in a
heavy-duty glass cleaner to remove the film that tends to build up on windows over time.
A quick search for cleaners will lead you down a rabbit hole of thousands of options, and not all of them are great. Instead, check out this round-up of
high-quality glass cleaners for cars for the best picks.
Best Overall, All Things Considered
Hundreds of reviewers swear by this
highly effective glass cleaner for all types of dirt and grime. For one, it foams up as soon as it hits the glass, so it won't drip or cause unsightly streaks. But on top of this pick's powerful cleaning agents, it also applies "water-beading technology" to your glass while it tackles stuck-on debris. This clear coating causes rain to form tiny droplets that literally roll off the glass so you can see better in a storm. For only $4 for cleaner, safer glass, you can't beat that. According to one reviewer: "I'm glad I bought this item and will continue using this particular brand of rain x as long as it is available. We had a hard rain last night just hours after applying this and as I looked to see how the product was working I was pleasantly surprised as every drop just rolled right off."
Runner-Up: This No-Drip Formula That Can Also Clean Upholstery
Not only does this
no-drip cleaner leave your windows spotless, but you can also use it to clean your interior, too. Like the top pick, this formula clings to vertical surfaces, leaving them glossy and perfectly streak-free. The highlight of this cleaner, though, is that it also works wonders on sticky vinyl and plastic surfaces in your car. Just one pump and a quick wipe leaves your entire vehicle fresh and clean. It's a bit more expensive and doesn't repel rain like the one above, but for a basic cleaner you can use inside and outside your car, this is a great choice. According to one reviewers: "This is the best automotive glass cleaner I've ever used. I really like how the product foams up on contact and helps cut through grime and bugs and oily residue that may be present on your glass. I always keep several bottles of this product on hand and in my detailing kit because I used it very frequently."
Best For Super Tough Stains
It may come at a higher price point but, when it comes to the toughest stains, this
glass cleaner is a miracle-worker. It's more of a gel than a foam, but it won't slide down your window while you wipe away debris. One reason it's great for tough stains: It's formulated with an acid-based gel, which is used in many high-powered, highly effective industrial cleaners. Just a few drops of this cleaner will cut through any sticky, stuck-on dirt in a snap. It's so powerful that it can even cut through years of built-on film. According to one reviewer: "I was blown away by how little effort and time was needed to clean [my windows]. I swear, no window needed more than 2 minutes of rubbing, total, and now my windows are LIKE BRAND NEW, clear as a bell! And I barely ended up using a fraction of a bottle!"
If you're looking for an all-in-one pack, this really
affordable cleaning kit is an excellent choice. This kit comes with three bottles of cleaner, as well as three microfiber cloths that are super helpful when cleaning glass. This powerful foaming formula is recommended by automotive professionals, with many swearing it banishes any and all types of dirt with a few quick swipes. According to one reviewer: "This product does make glass so clean that it seems invisible. I love the application cloth and shining cloths that this kit came with. I use this glass cleaner for all mirrors and glass and windows in my house as well as my car windows. It never streaks or leaves a film. This is definitely a product that I will stick with!"