June 25, 2024
Car Maintenance

Cleaning the Interior of Your Windshield: A Step-by-Step Guide

There are many issues you can overlook with your car’s condition and cleanliness, but a dirty windshield is not one of them. A dirty windshield can make it difficult to safely navigate obstacles day or night, and it can be just plain annoying. This guide will walk you through the basics of cleaning the inside of your windshield and provide you with a starting point if you are unsure of the process.

Why does the interior of your windshield get so dirty?

You may not be touching the inside of your car’s windshield regularly, but it still manages to get dirty. One reason for this is the off-gassing from the new car smell and air fresheners, which can leave a residue that looks oily and cloudy. Smoking, dust, pet dander, and road debris can also contribute to clouding the glass, making it difficult to see through.

Even if you do not drive the car regularly, the off-gassing from interior materials and other dirt inside the vehicle can still cloud the windshield. For example, my 2024 Toyota GR Corolla, despite being driven only occasionally, requires the interior surface of the windshield to be cleaned before each drive due to off-gassing from the materials.

How to clean the inside of your windshield

Before you begin, ensure that you have the right cleaners and materials to protect your vehicle’s interior. Opt for lint-free or microfiber cloths to avoid leaving residue behind. Use a glass cleaner that is safe for your dash and interior finishes, along with rubbing alcohol and distilled white vinegar.

There are a couple of options for diluting the cleaners or mixing chemicals. One option is a 50/50 mix of rubbing alcohol and water with a teaspoon of white vinegar, while the other is a 70/15/15 mix of water, glass cleaner, and alcohol. Whichever solution you choose, place a towel on your dash to prevent drips or chemicals from reaching soft-touch materials.

Have all your materials ready before starting. Wipe the glass with a clean microfiber cloth, then spray your mixture onto the cloth. Clean the glass from side to side using up-and-down motions, ensuring that the cleaner is cleared with each wipe to prevent streaks. It may be a bit awkward to reach all areas of the windshield, but contort as needed. Once you have cleaned the entire interior surface, go over the glass once more with a dry microfiber cloth to remove any remaining lint or streaks.

Best practices for cleaning the inside of your windshield

Cleaning your windshield may not be the most challenging DIY job, but it does require some care to get it right. Here are some best practices to follow:

  • Clean your windshield last to avoid dirt and debris from other areas of your car dirtying the glass. Also, prevent splashes from other parts of your car washing efforts.
  • Use a clean cloth to avoid scratches or smearing other cleaning chemicals on your clean windshield.
  • Choose cooler times of day to clean your car’s glass surfaces to prevent the cleaner from drying too quickly and causing streaks. Some sunlight filtering through can help you see streaks and smudges better.

If you have tried cleaning the inside of your windshield with limited success, consider seeking professional help. In some cases, damage to the glass can make it cloudy, and a home cleaning job may not improve the situation. If professional cleaning does not work, you may need a windshield replacement, so check with your insurer for possible options for a cost-free replacement.

For additional car-cleaning tips:

Check out our Autoblog Details series of videos for numerous tips on making your car shine inside and out.

Watch the episode on window cleaning:


1. How often should I clean the inside of my windshield?

It is recommended to clean the inside of your windshield at least once a month to maintain visibility and prevent buildup of dirt and debris.

2. Can I use regular household glass cleaner on the interior windshield?

It is best to use a glass cleaner that is safe for automotive use to avoid damaging your vehicle’s interior finishes.


Keeping the inside of your windshield clean is essential for safety and visibility while driving. By following the tips and best practices outlined in this guide, you can ensure a clear and streak-free windshield for a more enjoyable driving experience. If DIY cleaning does not yield satisfactory results, consider seeking professional help or a windshield replacement for optimal clarity.

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