Best car glass cleaners 2018

Clear windows are vital if you’re to remain safe on every journey, so we've hunted down the best glass cleaner on the market

Glass is the final step in car cleaning, because it can be completed without affecting the finish on other surfaces. Shampoo can get most of the grime off the outside of windows, but the inside still needs doing, plus those often-forgotten strips tucked inside the glass runners will need tackling.

If your windows have tough-to-shift marks such as baked-on bugs or tree sap, consider using a polish. Try working top to bottom on one side of the glass and left to right on the other to help track down smears – the shape of the mark should then make it clear which side of the glass needs revisiting. 

And it is those oily smears that were the focus of our test of glass cleaners. We used a smear of oil on a side window painted black on one side to reveal any traces left. We made multiple attempts with each cleaner using limited wiping, assessing how much residue was left. Price played a minor role in the results.

Verdict

  • 1. CarPlan 
Screen Clean
  • ReviewsCarPlan 
Screen Clean

    Price: Around £5
    Size: 750ml
    Rating: 5.0

    As so often with glass cleaners, the results were very close, even after multiple tests to ensure repeatable results. In the final reckoning, price swung it for Screen Clean. There was very little to choose between CarPlan and outgoing champion Dodo Juice on the test glass, but Screen Clean edges ahead once price is taken into account. The big pack with a price around a third of its nearest rivals’ secures the win in this close-fought test for CarPlan.

    Buy the Carplan Screen Clean from Amazon here

    Dodo Juice 
Clearly Menthol

    Price: Around £8 
    Size: 500ml
    Rating: 4.0

    Former champion Dodo Juice has to settle for a recommendation this time around, but it remains a superb cleaner. The jokes on the label about Oliver Reed’s mouthwash are gone, and no bad thing, as this is no jokey cleaner trading on a minty, if a little harsh, perfume. It edged the results on the window glass, but at more than twice the price for a smaller pack, it was always going to struggle to top the cost-effective CarPlan contender. It’s our money-no-object choice.

    Buy the Dodo Juice Clearly Menthol cleaner from Amazon here

    Autoglym Fast Glass

    Price: Around £8 
    Size: 500ml
    Rating: 4.0

    This veteran glass cleaner has long been one of our favourites, regularly finishing at the top of the results, and this year is no exception. It pushed Dodo Juice hard on the test glass, often leaving little or no traces of the oil, despite limited wiping. Like Clearly Menthol, it is not the cheapest on the market and was always going to find it tough when results are so close against much more cost-effective rivals. It can also be used on sat-nav screens. 

    Buy the Autoglym Fast Glass cleaner from Amazon here

    Armor All Glass Cleaner

    Price: Around £5 
    Size: 500ml
    Rating: 4.0

    Just as with the Autoglym, we’ve seen good performances from Armor All’s glass cleaner in previous tests. It falls somewhere between our winner and the top-performing Dodo Juice, cleaning well, but usually left a little more oil than the other recommended products here. Still, combine an overall performance that topped other rivals’ with a great price and you get our final glass cleaner recommendation. 

    Buy the Armor All Glass Cleaner from Amazon here

    Further glass care

    Keeping a car’s glass clean helps you stay safe on the road. But, sometimes, glass cleaner isn’t enough for screen and windows.

    That’s where these two products come in, Meguiar’s new Glass Polishing Compound and Quixx Glass Scratch Remover. Both do what they claim. Quixx made progress on the scratches, but it was slow, and although Meguiar’s left a smooth finish, heavy damage was beyond it.

    How we tested them

    We masked off sections of a screen with light and deep scratches from wipers, and then used each product according to the instructions. Each was applied to different levels of scratch, with control sections to monitor progress.

    Meguiar’s Perfect Clarity Glass Polishing Compound

    Price: £12 
    Rating: 3.5

    This was launched with a new glass sealant to give the ideal prepared surface, so our test focused on the finish it left on the screen.

    Application is much like paint polish, with the thick, white solution put on in overlapping circles a section at a time. It’s then wiped off, and a conventional glass cleaner used to remove any residue.

    It doesn’t claim to shift scratches, so the deep marks were untouched, but we did see improvement on the lightest damage. This was really noticeable when we applied the compound with Meguiar’s DA (dual action) machine polisher, which sped things up.

    We also rated the finish on unmarked areas over a regular glass cleaner – the compounded section was far smoother – but this would take a while to achieve by hand.

    Quixx Glass Scratch Remover

    Price: £19.95 
    Rating: 3.5

    The Quixx kit is designed to tackle scratches on any glass, including phones and watches. It comprises two slender applicators, each with half a gram of compound, plus a polishing rod and 12 strips.

    Mask off around the scratch, fold a polishing strip over the rod end then work the repair compound into the scratch. This should be done in 3-12 minutes, depending on the depth of scratch. Clean then repeat with the finishing compound and strips.

    It’s not quick, and it’s hard on the hands, but we were impressed to see it had some effect on our heavy marks. It would probably take many attempts and several kits to remove our heavy multiple scratches, but a single line could be done with patience.

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