Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How to Care For Tinted Windows

hand with sponge cleaning window

Getting your windows tinted is an excellent way to enhance your vehicle. Window tint provides:

  • Privacy because passersby can’t easily see into your car
  • Protection from the sun’s UV rays that heat or fade your car’s interior
  • Sleek, mysterious look from the outside

Some car windows come tinted from the factory. You can buy a used car that already has its windows tinted with film or you can do it on your own. There are professional tint shops all over the country in nearly every city that can do it for you as well.

Caring for your tinted car windows isn’t a complicated procedure but is one that has to be done right so your window tint will last as long as possible.

  • Note: Factory-installed tinted windows are not a film and can be cleaned with commercial glass cleaners.

Method 1 of 3: Clean your car windows naturally

Because window tint is a thin plastic film, it can be damaged by using the incompatible chemicals on it. You can use a completely natural cleaning method to clean your tinted windows safely.

This method is best for tinted windows that are lightly soiled or streaked, and for regular upkeep.

Materials Needed

  • Microfiber cloths or paper towels
  • Spray bottle of water

person spraying water to side of window

Step 1: Mist your car window. Spray the window with water from your spray bottle.

Just a light mist onto the glass will do the trick.

You can also spray your cloth and wipe the car window with the cloth.

Windows are tinted on the inside so the interior is where you need to be especially careful with the cleaner you use.

Step 2: Wipe the window. Wipe with your microfiber cloth or paper towel.

Wipe vertically over the whole surface of the window, then wipe in a horizontal pattern until all the water droplets and streaks have dissipated.

Step 3: Check for streaks or dirt. Because you are not using a cleaner, you are relying on the cloth to trap the dirt in its fibers.

If there are streaks still present, repeat the process but use a fresh side of the cloth to wipe the window.

Repeat as needed to get your window fully clean.

hand wiping inner part of rolled down window

Step 4: Roll the window down. Put the window down a few inches and wipe the top edge of the glass that goes into the window track.

If you don’t clean this edge, you’ll have an unsightly dirt line every time you roll down your window.

Step 5: Repeat for all your car windows.

Step 6: Clean the interior windows. After all your car windows are clean inside, clean the interior windows.

Method 2 of 3: Clean the car windows with glass cleaner

Select a glass cleaner that does not contain ammonia. Ammonia can damage the window tint over time, degrading it with each use. Many tint installers actually use ammonia products to remove window tint from glass, demonstrating why it’s not a good idea to use ammonia glass cleaners on your window tint.

  • Tip: Avoid blue-colored glass cleaners as they typically have ammonia in them.

Materials Needed

person spraying inside of tinted window

Step 1: Spray glass cleaner onto your tinted window. Use an ammonia-free product such as the foaming glass cleaner, Stoner Invisible Glass.

If you want to avoid spots on your car’s interior parts, you can spray the glass cleaner onto your cloth instead.

Step 2: Clean entire window. Wipe the glass cleaner all over the window, right to every edge.

  • Tip: Work quickly as glass cleaner tends to dry fast.

hand wiping inside of window horizontally

Step 3: Wipe in a pattern. Wipe in a vertical pattern, then in a horizontal pattern, until the glass cleaner dissipates completely.

Step 4: Check for streaks on the window. If you have streaks, it’s usually caused by excessively dirty windows or a dirty cloth.

Step 5: Repeat if necessary. Re-clean the window if you have streaks, making sure to use a clean side of your cloth.

Step 6: Clean all your interior windows in the same way.

You can clean your exterior glass with the same product.

Method 3 of 3: Cleaning your very dirty tinted windows

There can be instances where your car’s interior windows are very dirty. This can be the case if your heater core has leaked and you have coolant residue on your glass, and is common for those who smoke inside their vehicle.

Residue that sticks to your windows can take several treatments with glass cleaner to remove, so the best treatment is to use a soap and water mixture, then follow up with a normal glass-cleaning process to remove streaks.

Materials Needed

  • Bucket of warm water
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Soft sponge

  • Tip: Use a dishwashing soap that has a grease-cutting formula to remove cloudy residue from your windows.

Step 1: Mix dishwashing soap in your bucket of warm water. Use about a teaspoon of soap per gallon. It doesn’t need to be overly sudsy.

Let your sponge soak in the soapy water.

Step 2: Wipe off the car windows. Wring out your sponge until it is no longer dripping.

You don’t want the water running down your car windows.

Wipe your car window completely to all the edges.

Your sponge will collect the residue from the glass on it.

Rinse your sponge regularly and wring it out.

person wiping down with a microcloth

Step 3: Wipe down the windows. Wipe down your tinted car window with a soft and absorbent microfiber cloth.

The cloth will pick up the soapy water from your window as well as any bits of residue that remain.

Let the window dry. There will likely be some streaking.

Step 4: Repeat for all your car windows.

Step 5: Clean the windows. Clean your tinted windows with a safe procedure after they dry.

You can use either the water method or the glass cleaner method to achieve streak-free, clean tinted windows.

As you clean your tinted windows you’ll be paying close attention to your windows. If you find anything wrong with your windows, make sure to have a certified mechanic inspect them as soon as possible to prevent further damage. YourMechanic provides professional service at your home or office for your convenience.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.


Post a question and get free advice from our certified mechanics.


More related articles

How to Renew Your Car Registration in Oklahoma(DELETED)
Having your car registered with the Oklahoma Tax Commission is an important part of driving legally in this state. You will need to do this within 30 days of moving to Oklahoma...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...

Related questions

Q: Recommendation about window tinting

As for the window tinting--there are a million places to get window tinting. Ask your friends who they use and see if you like the job they did. People that do window tint come and go so often. You might...

Q: How do I adjust the courtesy wipe?

The courtesy wipe feature can help keep your windshield clean after using the windshield washers. A few seconds after the washers and wipers have stopped operating, the courtesy wipe will make the wipers wipe one last time, to wipe away...

Q: Window tint bubbling in rear window will I mess up defrost or antenna remove ingredients it

No, the defrosting mechanism is built into the window and should not be destroyed by removing the tint. As with anything, however, just use caution when taking the tint off.