If you have to clean your windshield often, you may be looking for different kinds of fluids to use.
Or, you might not have enough windshield wiper fluid and want to know what you can use instead.
You can always use something to clean the glass. Or can you?
Even though glass cleaner can be used to clean your windshield, you shouldn’t use it instead of windshield wiper fluid all the time. This is mostly because windshield wiper fluid has some useful chemicals that regular glass cleaners don’t have.
Even though glass cleaners are great for use inside, they might do more harm than good when used on your car.
This article explains why that is and gives you recipes for safe windshield wiper fluids you can make at home. So, keep on reading!
Why shouldn’t glass cleaners be used as wiper fluid?
The fact that most glass cleaners contain ammonia is one of the main reasons why you shouldn’t use them instead of windshield wiper fluid.
This shouldn’t be used on either the outside or the inside of the car.
If you clean the inside of your car with cleaners that contain ammonia, the leather will wear down and crack.
If you use it as windshield wiper fluid, it might leave streaks on the windshield and ruin your window tint, if you have one.
Ammonia will also hurt the washer fluid reservoir, and your spray nozzles will wear out over time.
Using cleaners that contain ammonia on your car’s paint can also be bad, since the ammonia will start to remove any wax you may have put on the car.
If the ammonia was used in a higher concentration, it could also hurt the paint.
Normal glass cleaners and weather
Unlike washer fluids made for cars, normal glass cleaners can’t handle colder temperatures and will freeze when it’s cold.
This can cause the washer fluid reservoir to crack and can also damage the lines that carry the fluid to the pump.
On the other hand, different kinds of alcohol are mixed into car washer fluid, which keeps it from freezing in cold weather.
Homemade alternatives to glass cleaners
Instead of pouring Windex or another glass cleaner, you can use one of these recipes to make a washer fluid that is safe for your car.
1. Vinegar wiper fluid
Vinegar is a great cleaner that works well in warmer temperatures, but it has a strong smell that you will have to deal with.
You can make a useful cleaner by mixing one part distilled white vinegar with three parts water.
If you want this solution to be safe in the winter, all you have to do is add some methanol or alcohol to it, and it will become antifreeze washer fluid!
2. Castile soap with rubbing alcohol
Mix one gallon of distilled water with eight ounces of rubbing alcohol.
Then, put some castile soap in. In the end, you’ll have a great homemade washer fluid that won’t freeze.
How to properly clean your windshield
If you don’t know what to do about a dirty windshield, don’t worry. Start by cleaning the windshield by hand first.
You can use a paper towel or a cloth made of tiny fibres.
Use one of the home-made recipes I listed above, or go to the store and buy a liquid that will clean your car.
After you’re done cleaning the windshield, clean the washer fluid reservoir if it’s dirty.
If you put ammonia-based glass cleaner in it, you need to completely empty it and wash it with water.
Use a toothbrush to scrub the inside of the tank to get rid of all traces of ammonia.
Once this is done, fill it with car washer fluid from a store or one of the recipes I listed above, and test the spray nozzles and windshield wiper.
As long as the wipers and nozzles work well, you’re good to go.
Final Thoughts on Glass Cleaner as Windshield Wiper Fluid
To answer your question, you shouldn’t use any kind of glass cleaner that has ammonia instead of washer fluid made for cars.
Household glass cleaners are usually more expensive than car cleaners, so you’d be wasting money and hurting your car at the same time.
Make sure to clean your windshield by hand before using your wipers and wiper fluid. If you don’t, your wipers might skip or not clean as well as they should.
I hope this article was helpful and that you choose the right cleaner for your windshield after reading it.