Top 8 Best Glass Cleaners for Car Detailing (2019)

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What is the best glass cleaner for car windows for the money?There are few times in automotive detailing that the work you do making your car or truck look good can also make it safer. One of those times is glass cleaning.

Properly cleaned class is easier to see through, especially when driving into the sun or at night with oncoming lights and street lights, and it sheds water better leaving less work for your wiper blades.

Admittedly, properly cleaned glass is also incredible to look at from the outside, especially when it’s tinted.

Cleaning glass to a spot and streak free finish does require the right cleaner and the right technique though, and hopefully that’s why you’re here.

Top 8 Glass & Windshield Cleaners :

What Makes a Quality Glass Cleaner for Car Detailing?

You have wondered about it at one time or another. Admit it. We all have. Why are there so many different glass cleaners on the market? They are all just “Windex” wannabes, right?

Well I want my answer and your glass to be clear.

NO! Not all glass cleaners are suitable for cleaning automotive glass.

Automobile glass cleaning is serious business and the right cleaner makes all the difference. I have a Guide to Glass Cleaning and Sealing that details how to properly clean auto glass along with the reasons to buy the right products. But a refresher can never hurt. So some quick highlights on what you should look for in the “right” cleaner:

  • Avoid glass cleaning products with ammonia. It can harm your window tinting and dry out plastic, rubber, vinyl, and leather.
  • Avoid glass cleaning products with ingredients that leave a residue. Some products contain wax (or similar) to make your windows shine. But these products leave a residue that can create a hazy mess on your windows, or streaks, if the glass is not real clean before using them. (Which defeats the purpose of a glass cleaner!)
  • It must clean actual road grime and debris. Car windows present unique glass cleaning problems. Tree sap, bugs, bird droppings, smokers film, and road grime are common. And many of a car’s windows are sloped, not vertical, making it easier for dirt and grime to land on your windows. That is not the case with your house windows (if you have road grime on your house windows, you are living too close to the road!). Your cleaner should be designed to clean the things that soil your car’s glass.
  • A cleaner should do no harm. The glass used in your car is different. Your windshield is laminated for better impact resistance, and all other automotive glass is usually tempered for safety reasons. And car windows are often tinted. Add to that, your car’s glass is exposed to harsh environmental conditions (e.g. acid rain, UV, asphalt sealant, etc.). So, yes, glass is “formulated” for automotive use and abuse. Your cleaner should be designed to work on automotive glass, without harming it.

A product designed to clean your car’s glass better, at a minimum, meet all of the above requirements. Armed with this information and a quick read of a few product labels, you will quickly find that some cleaners are better than others for detailing automotive glass.

To make things easier, below is a list of the best products on the market designed to meet the many demands of detailing your car’s glass.

Why You Should Buy a Quality Automotive Glass Cleaner

Before we dive head long into our list, lets review some of the reasons to buy a quality glass cleaner. If you take the time and detail your glass properly, the product used better produce the following results:

  • A car with clean glass, that stands out. The cleaned glass should make the light glint in that special way and your windows pop.
  • Spotless, streak free windows. Glass that is clean and clear is easier to see through, which means a car that is safer to drive.
  • If you used a sealer in conjunction with your cleaner, rain should bead up and roll off with ease. This improves vision in a downpour, not to mention making your wipers work better.
  • Windows with improved resistance to fogging. Who doesn’t want improved visibility on those humid days. Residue that is left behind by a cleaner not only leaves streaks and smears, it gives moisture a place to grab onto and fog the windows..

The benefits of really clean glass are real. And using the right glass cleaning product is integral to achieving the desired results.

Meguiar’s D12001 Glass Cleaner Concentrate

Meguiar’s Glass Cleaner Concentrate...
137 Reviews
Meguiar’s Glass Cleaner Concentrate...
  • AUTO GLASS CLEANER: Concentrated formula easily and...
  • CRYSTAL CLEAR GLASS: Effective at cleaning the inside and...
  • EASY AND CONVENIENT: Simply spray on and wipe off for quick...
  • WINDOW TINT SAFE: Professional-grade body shop safe formula...
  • CONCENTRATED FOR MORE USE: Every concentrated gallon gives...

Pros

  • No ammonia and safe for tinted windows
  • No ingredients that leave residue
  • Sold as concentrate, last longs time
  • Cost effective
  • Scented (some say like grape soda) and most people like the smell
  • Works on smokers film, road grime, pollen, etc
  • Cleans windows streak free
  • Used by professional detailers

Cons

  • Contains alcohol, and is flammable
  • Gallon jugs need to be stored and will be around for a while
  • Eye and skin irritant
  • Some thought the smell was too strong

Meguiar’s D12001 Glass Cleaner Concentrate ticks all the right boxes. It does what you expect of a professional grade glass cleaner, it cleans car windows while leaving no streaks or residue, including tinted windows. Plus it is ammonia free, so it is safe around other surfaces like vinyl and plastic.

It is packaged as a concentrate in one gallon jugs. You mix it ten to one with water, so the one gallon you buy makes eleven gallons of quality automotive glass cleaner. If you do the math, that comes to just a few dollars per gallon of product. To say it is cost effective is an understatement.

And the one gallon you buy lasts for a long time. Even busy detailing shops will take a while to go through eleven gallons of glass cleaner. But that does mean storing the jug, and that may not be best for the casual home detailer.

The product is scented, and descriptions of the odor range from grape soda to bubble gum. But some did feel the smell was too strong. In my opinion, once it is properly mixed, it smells pretty good.

One last comment, this product does contain alcohol, like a lot of products on this list. The bottle of concentrate should be stored in a cool safe place, away from heat, flame, and sparks. Also, those with sensitive skin may want to wear gloves when handling the concentrate.

 

Stoner Invisible Glass Cleaner

Stoner 92194 Invisible Glass Cleaner -...
616 Reviews
Stoner 92194 Invisible Glass Cleaner -...
  • Includes one, 32-ounce spray bottles
  • Residue free Clear Dry formula cleans without streaky...
  • Specially formulated for glass surfaces
  • Clean windows, mirrors, patio doors, glass tables, and glass...
  • Ammonia free window and glass cleaner

Pros

  • No ammonia and safe for tinted windows
  • No ingredients that leave residue
  • Is supplied ready to spray and wipe, no mixing
  • Cleans road grime and dirt, streak free
  • Used by professional detailers
  • Good reviews (and lots of reviews)
  • Economical for premixed product

Cons

  • Contains isopropanol, and is flammable
  • The product may irritate skin and eyes
  • Some could smell the alcohol when cleaning, but dissipated quickly

If you don’t like mixing a concentrate, then Stoner’s Invisible Glass Cleaner is a good alternative. It comes premixed in trigger spray bottles and aerosol cans, so it is ready to spray and convenient. (The cans spray a “foamier” shot of cleaner intended to cling and not run down windows.) To use the Stoner Invisible Glass Cleaner, simply spray and wipe, and this works best with clean terry or microfiber cloth, as is the case with all glass cleaners.

It is formulated with no ammonia or ingredients that leave a residue. And the manufacturer recommends it for automotive glass (even though car or automotive are not in the name).

For cleaning road grim, bird droppings, pollen, etc., Invisible Glass cleans well. With only the worst spots (yeah things like those dreaded asphalt/sealer spots), some did use it in conjunction with a clay bar. But I would expect to find this to be the case with all glass cleaners.

While cleaning, some did find the smell to be “chemically” but it dissipated quickly after the cleaning was done.

If you are price conscious, you will find this is more expensive to use compared to products sold in concentrate. But if you want convenience, or don’t want to store a gallon of concentrate, then paying a little more might be worth it for you. And compared to other premixed products, this product is a bargain.

This product does contain isopropanol, which is flammable. So you should take care to avoid heat, flame, and sparks and store it properly. Also, it may irritate skin and eyes and should not be ingested.

 

Gyeon Q2M Glass 500ml

GYEON quartz Cloth Glass 500ml
19 Reviews
GYEON quartz Cloth Glass 500ml
  • STREAK FREE GLASS CLEANER
  • EASY TO USE
  • SAFE ON ALL INTERIOR MATERIALS

Pros

  • No ammonia and safe for tinted windows
  • No ingredients that leave residue
  • Clear liquid, contains no dyes
  • Premixed convenience, ready to spray and wipe
  • Cleans road grime and dirt, streak free
  • Intended for professional detailers
  • Good reviews

Cons

  • Not as many reviews as other products
  • Could not find MSDS online, but suspect product does have alcohol

Gyeon Q2M Glass comes ready to spray and use, no mixing. And it cleans auto glass well, leaving no streaks or residue. Plus it is ammonia free, safe around other surfaces. So it is definitely a good car glass cleaner.

And the price for 17 oz (500 ml) is higher than a 32 oz bottle of a competitor’s premixed glass cleaner. So it is expensive, and compared to buying a concentrate, well it’s a TKO for the concentrate.

But Gyeon manufacturers a line of automotive wares, and is well known for its coating products. Recently, they have established a presence with a new line of cleaning products, intended to be high-end options for professional detailers. So for those who love the Gyeon wares, they do have a glass cleaner for you.

As for smell, it does not have a strong odor and I could find no complaints of a smell lingering after cleaning was completed.

Gyeon is based in South Korea and detailed information was hard to find online. It appears that they sell mostly through distributors, but the Gyeon Q2M Glass is for sale online.

 

TriNova Premium Glass & Mirror Streak Free Cleaner

TriNova Premium Glass & Mirror Streak...
184 Reviews
TriNova Premium Glass & Mirror Streak...
  • See the World, Not Your Window - TriNova's Glass Cleaner...
  • Drive with Clarity & Confidence - Spray onto car or...
  • A True Streak-free Formula - Other cleaners leave behind a...
  • Easy to Use, Amazing Results - Do you want your glass to...
  • Cruelty Free - TriNova does not, and will not use animal...

Pros

  • No ammonia and safe for tinted windows
  • No ingredients that leave residue
  • Premixed convenience, ready to spray and wipe
  • Cleans road grime and dirt, streak free
  • Intended for professional detailers
  • Good reviews
  • Cruelty free, they use no animal testing

Cons

  • Contains alcohol, is flammable.
  • An eye and skin irritant

TriNova Premium Glass & Mirror Streak Free Cleaner is another product that meets the requirements for a quality automotive glass cleaner. They also state the intended goal well, “drive with clarity and confidence,” and  “see the world, not your windows.” It cuts through road grime and leaves no residue. Plus it is ammonia free and it is safe to use around other surfaces.

The price I found for an 18 oz bottle was pricey compared to other products on this list. The cost was similar to Gyeon Glass, just reviewed one spot above. So all those previous comments apply to this product as well. In short, it is not the cheapest product on the list.

And the TriNova glass cleaner contains alcohol, like most of professional grade car glass cleaners on this list. So it is flammable, and is an eye and skin irritant. And those with a keen sense of smell may get a whiff of alcohol from the product.

Overall, if you are a loyal TriNova costomer, then they offer a good glass cleaner for you to use.

 

Griot’s Garage Window Cleaner

Griot's Garage 11108 Window Cleaner 35oz
129 Reviews
Griot's Garage 11108 Window Cleaner 35oz
  • Alcohol-based cleaner cuts through window haze
  • Safe for window tint
  • No dyes and fragrance free
  • Leaves no residue
  • Evaporates quickly for streak-free results

Pros

  • No ammonia, safe for tinted windows
  • No ingredients that leave residue or haze
  • No fragrance or dyes added, crystal clear liquid
  • Premixed convenience, ready to spray and wipe
  • Cleans road grime and dirt, streak free
  • Intended for professional detailers
  • Good reviews

Cons

  • A number of users found it did streak unless a new, unused cloth was used
  • Contains alcohol, is flammable
  • An eye and skin irritant

Griot’s Garage is another manufacturer well known to professional detailers. And they offer a window cleaner that is clear, free of dyes and scents, which is important to some people. Like all of the products on this list, it is also ammonia free and leaves no residue.

The price for a 35 oz bottle was competitive with the other trigger spray bottle, premixed products. But it is more expensive when compared to a concentrate. It is available in other sizes (larger and smaller) and the one gallon jug is cost effective.

I did notice that this product does seem more sensitive to the cloth used when cleaning the glass. If your cloth is not very clean (and never exposed to fabric softeners!), you may find it does leave some streaks.

Also, there were a few more comments about the bottle leaking in shipping than the other products on this list.

Like all the cleaners on this list to this point, it contains alcohol, so you know the drill by now, it is flammable and can irritate eyes and skin.

 

Meguiar’s Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner

Meguiar's G8224 Perfect Clarity Glass...
404 Reviews
Meguiar's G8224 Perfect Clarity Glass...
  • Unique formula spreads and wipes off quickly with superior...
  • Anti-hazing formula provides long-lasting clarity
  • Superior cleaning against bugs, tree sap, vinyl fog, road...
  • Professional grade formula provides streek-free clarity to...
  • Safe for use on all tinted windows

Pros

  • No ammonia, safe for tinted windows
  • Crystal clear liquid
  • Premixed convenience, ready to spray and wipe
  • Cleans road grime, bugs and dirt
  • Intended for professional detailers
  • Good reviews
  • Can use in direct sunlight
  • Contains ingredient to help cloth glide easily over glass
  • Contains a dust repellent designed to keep windows clean longer

Cons

  • Some found the smell unpleasant
  • If sprayed on heavy, was hard to not leave smears and streaks
  • Contains alcohol, is flammable
  • An eye and skin irritant

Meguiar’s Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner is an interesting member of this list. But first, to get some mandatory business out of the way, it is ammonia free. So it is safe for tinted windows and adjacent surfaces. And reviews are good, at the time of writing 86% of 382 reviews are 4 or 5 star.

Now on to some of the more interesting points. Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner can be used in direct sunlight (most glass cleaners recommend working in the shade, out of direct sunlight). That is a big plus for the driveway detailer with no trees around.

And unlike other products, Meguiar’s has attempted to make a product that allows the cleaning cloth to “slide” over the glass by adding a lubricant. Yes, I said lubricant. The word conjures images of an oily, smeared windows, and I did find a number of complaints within the detailing community that there were some streaks and smearing. I would love to know what the lubricant they added to the formula is, but at this point it appears more likely that I will find the Colonel’s recipe for fried chicken.

However, with all that said, the trick I find is to use the product sparingly. When applied heavy, it tended to leave the streaks and smears. Used sparing you get improved results.

We also can’t ignore that Meguiar’s added a dust repellent into the formula to keep your windows cleaner, longer. The concept is sound, but as for increasing the time that the windows stay clean, time will tell. Reviews of the dust “repellency” are mixed, and if you use a water repellent on your glass, then it is a moot point in my opinion.

The smell was reported to be unpleasant by a number of customers, so you might want to use it in a well ventilated area if you have a sensitive nose.

And once again, we have an alcohol based product. So, yes, it is flammable and may irritate eyes and skin.

 

Shine Society Glass and Window Cleaner

Shine Society Glass and Window Cleaner,...
231 Reviews
Shine Society Glass and Window Cleaner,...
  • PROFESSIONAL GLASS CARE: Are you finding fingerprints,...
  • ANTI-STREAKING FORMULA: This glass cleaner was designed to...
  • DISINFECTANT: All too often we use window cleaners that only...
  • ALL-NATURAL FORMULA: Made with all-natural and sustainable...
  • EASE OF USE: Simply spray on, and wipe off in a circular...

Pros

  • Formulated with “natural” ingredients
  • No ammonia, safe for tinted windows
  • Contains a disinfectant
  • Premixed convenience, ready to spray and wipe
  • Cleans road grime and dirt
  • Intended for professional detailers
  • Available in kit with a microfiber cloth
  • Good reviews

Cons

  • The spray bottle can be difficult
  • On high end of price range
  • An eye and skin irritant

Shine Society Glass and Window Cleaner is ammonia free, and by now you realize it wouldn’t be on our list if it wasn’t. So it is safe for use on tinted windows and other surfaces, like vinyl and plastic. But Shine takes a different approach to formulating their products. They use all “natural” products and make products that are “safe for use around your children and pets.”

There is also a disinfectant in this cleaner. Shine Society claims it kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria on the surface of glass and windows. So, if kid/pet safety or germs are your main concerns, then you might want to consider this product.

However, I do need to note that the label cautions against eye and skin contact. While the formula is a well kept secret (I tried all my tricks to get a list of ingredients, but no luck), it would appear there is something in the mix that is an irritant. I don’t think it is alcohol because the label states that this product is not flammable. It may be the disinfectant, but I am guessing.

As far as cleaning goes, reviews are good. Out of 105 reviews, 93% are 4 or 5 stars (and there was only one 1 star review). Many of the comments were just glowing about how well the product cleaned.

The comments on odor or smell range from there is none to a mild, clean smell.

I noticed that the number of complaints about the spray bottle was at odds with Shine Society’s claim to use a professional grade spray head. Some had damage in shipping and others complained about things like the pickup straw being too long.

As for the price, it is on the high end of the price range for products on this list but it does include a microfiber cloth as listed on Amazon. So if you consider the value of the microfiber towel, it would appear to be in the middle of the pack when evaluating price.

 

Adam’s Glass Cleaner

Sale
Adam's New Glass Cleaner - Streak Free...
51 Reviews
Adam's New Glass Cleaner - Streak Free...
  • SAFE ON TINTED WINDOWS! Many glass cleaners do the job of...
  • STREAK-FREE, SPRAY AND WIPE FORMULA! When cleaning your car...
  • ECO-FRIENDLY, NO AMMONIA! Glass cleaners can have a pungent...
  • OPTICAL CLARIFIERS KEEP GLASS CLEAR FOR IMPROVED...
  • 110% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE AND USA MADE! We pride...

Pros

  • Formulated with “natural” ingredients
  • No ammonia or alchol
  • Safe for tinted windows and navigation screens
  • Contains optical clarifiers
  • Premixed convenience, ready to spray and wipe
  • Cleans road grime and dirt
  • Intended for professional detailers
  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Good reviews
  • Can be bought in 1 and 5 gallon containers for large detailing shops

Cons

  • Contains polymers, and the label cautions to use the product lightly
  • Not enough reviews to vet properly
  • MSDS was not available online

Adam’s Glass Cleaner is another product that put safety front and center, and they have released this “new and improved formula.” The product not only leaves out the ammonia, it has no alcohol. It is promoted to be safe around kids and pets, and the label did not warn against eyes and skin contact. They did however, have cautions about ingesting it, so do NOT drink it.

Adam’s Glass Cleaner also has optical clarifiers to “keep glass clear.” This is a claim that is hard to confirm, and more time and testing is needed to give the thumbs up or down to this attribute.

The one thing I am a bit leery of are the polymers they claim to use. Polymers can build up over time and create issues, like yellowing and haze. And the label cautions against heavy applications of cleaner, they suggest using a light touch. I am guessing and putting forth the worst case scenario, but I have to since Adam’s Polishes seems to go out of its way to hide the formula and material safety data sheet.

As for the smell, Adam’s Polishes seems to have got it right. There were no complaints of strong or unpleasant odor.

 

To Summarize

For an important task like glass cleaning, a good product is a must to successfully complete the job. We detailed eight products for your consideration, plus three additional mentions with links if you would like to explore more.

If you are running a large shop, and watching your pennies, you might want to take a good look at Meguiar’s D12001 Glass Cleaner Concentrate. It does a great job and is the most cost effective product on our list.

However, if you do not want to store a large container or you wish to skip the mixing needed with concentrates, then consider Stoner’s Invisible Glass Cleaner. It has been around for a while, and for a reason, it works well. It comes premixed, ready for use.

And for those where safety is of paramount concern, you can use Shine Society Glass and Window Cleaner. It is an effective automotive glass cleaner, without the alcohol and associated concerns.

Last, if you are willing to experiment, you can try Meguiar’s Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner. Because of unique ingredients, it may keep your windows clean longer with is dust repellent, and you may find the cleaning cloth slides over the glass easier while cleaning. But at this point we have to say “may” because we need to wait and see if the claims hold up with time. And use it sparingly, over wetting your glass may result in streaks and smears.

So there is a product out there for everyone, and it’s time for you to get out there and make those windows sparkle. Happy Detailing!

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