How to Clean Plastic Windows

October 11, 2010

Just about everyone has their special method for keeping their plastic windows sparkling clean. Whether it's the flexible vinyl of your Jeep or convertible soft-top or the durable storm windows of your home, read on to learn some great ways to keep the light flowing through your plastic windows.

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Automotive Vinyl Plastic Windows

Flexible vinyl plastic is a special material. Vinyl plastic windows contain natural oils that can be leached out by certain cleaning products. For instance, never clean your automotive plastic windows with bleach, no matter how stained they might look. Also, beware of common household cleansers and stain removers which may contain silicone or petroleum solvents that will damage or dry out the plastic material.

The most recommended substances for cleaning automotive plastic windows are dish detergent in water or a 1:4 mixture of white vinegar to water. Vinyl plastic windows are made with a crosswise grain, so be sure to wipe them side to side when cleaning or drying to avoid clouding your view with tiny scratches. Also, use a soft, clean terry cloth or cotton towel to clean your vinyl plastic windows. Paper towels have too coarse a finish and will be harmful to the window surface.

Household Plastic Windows

Rigid plastic windows are less delicate than flexible automotive variety, but precaution should still be taken. It's still important to use a soft cloth and avoid paper towels. Dish soap and warm water is also recommended but a wider range of cleaners is safe for the surface. You'll still want to avoid petroleum solvents and bleach.

There's also a quick trick for filling scratches in your plastic windows. Brasso, a brass cleaner, applied to a microfiber cloth and wiped gently on scratched plastic windows, can remove unsightly nicks and scrapes and restore your windows to like-new translucency. Although you shouldn't need to repair scratches if you follow these cleaning tips, it can't hurt to know how, just in case.

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