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How To Easily Clean A Tacky Film From Your Vehicle's Windshield

If your car has developed a tacky film on the windshield try this easy solution.

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During summer, you may find an unhappy surprise awaiting you if you park outside. As trees go through their normal routine, some trees sweat to keep cool and to have a healthy existence. The scientific term is transpiration. The tree sweat is not entirely water. Some sap is included. If you park under or near trees that are transpiring, your vehicle may become coated in a thin film of a tacky substance. On your windshield, this film can be very difficult to remove with ammonia-based (Windex) and vinegar-based automotive glass cleaners that otherwise work very well.

To remove the film, we tried a few different things. What we found worked the best was a cleaning first with glass cleaner and then two applications of rubbing alcohol. Just the standard stuff in your medicine cabinet. We thought of rubbing alcohol because we have used it to remove bugs and sap from clearcoat paint on our vehicles successfully in the past.

We applied the alcohol liberally to a clean high quality (Bounty Select-A-Size) paper towel. We then rubbed the windshield and let it dry. There was still a hit of cloudiness on the windshield, so we did that a second time. Followed by a liberal dose of glass cleaner and some new paper towels.

This does the trick nicely. We've used the method without any difficulty, but as with all cleaning jobs, we suggest avoiding direct sunlight and to always try a small section first in case something unexpected happens.

For the inside of a windshield, we have found that Armor All auto windshield cleaner and clean paper towels are hard to beat. Two applications usually result in a great result. Here is one trick we suggest for newer vehicles. Before you spray the inside of a windshield, cover any sensors or apertures related to head-up displays and auto lighting and wipers. That will avoid any difficulty. Also, keep your spray and your hands away from the auto-braking cameras in the area of the rearview mirror.

If you have any advice on cleaning auto glass, please feel free to offer it below.

Note: Torque News did not receive any compensation from the brands mentioned in this story.

In addition to seeing him here, John Goreham can be followed on Twitter at @johngoreham.

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Larry G (not verified)    August 8, 2019 - 8:15PM

Sprayway glass cleaner in the spray can and crumpled newspapers are my go to windshield cleaner. If I have sap or bugs, some dish soap added to blue windshield washer fluid used with a gas station type sponge /squeegee does the trick. I use the scrubber to apply the solution twice,
let it sit a minute and responge and squeegee clean.