Cleaning Tinted Windows

cleaning tinted windows


I just had the windows on my car tinted. I heard that there are some cleaners you shouldn’t use on tint. My question is: What is the best way to clean tinted windows?


Many car owners choose to customize their vehicle with after market window tint. This is especially true in warm, sunny climates. It will make your car look great and provide some protection, but when it comes time for cleaning, you will need to take special care. Many everyday cleaners and techniques will actually damage your newly darkened glass over time.

What is it?

Window tint is actually a thin film that is applied to the inside of your vehicles window. There are several different shades to choose from, but all provide some degree of shade and privacy. This thin film is a plastic material called Mylar. Some characteristics of this material are that it is prone to scratching or tearing, and can fade over time if ammonia is used on it.

The most important thing to remember when cleaning this stuff is to avoid using any window cleaner with ammonia in it. This includes Windex and many other popular brands. After extended use, the ammonia will cause your windows to appear purple, and cause the film to weaken and become brittle. These traditional sprays also release tons of toxic fumes that are harmful if inhaled. It’s not really recommended to use in any enclosed area, and that would definitely include your vehicle. For these reasons, if you want to clean with something that is safe for you and your tint, you will need to use something different than your standard blue spray.

You have a few options when choosing effective and safe methods of cleaning. You can always run out to the auto parts store and buy a specialized spray that’s designed for tint and carries an expensive price tag. This method will probably work, but many of these fancy products are not that effective, cost extra, and are only good for this job and nothing else. Another method would be to use some homemade solution involving vinegar, mild soap or both. This can be effective too, but can also be extremely time consuming. If you don’t get the mixture correct, you could be trying to clean soap bubbles off your windows for a while. Soap can also leave a sticky residue which only attracts more dirt. Also, unless you are using newspaper, you run the risk of leaving behind lint when you wipe, and streaking is all but guaranteed.
window cloth

Is there an easy way?

Of course there is. The easiest way to clean tinted windows is also the easiest way to clean any glass in your home, office or vehicle, regardless of what’s applied to it. The ultimate window cloth allows you to clean any glass surface without chemicals, so it’s totally safe for tint. All you need is water to remove 99% of all dirt, dust, smudges, germs and more from your windows. This incredible cloth combines the cleaning power of microfiber with the absorption ability of a shammy. It has a two-sided design, and will leave your glass clean, streak-free, lint-free and polished.

How To Use It:

One side is made from microfiber so it is great for cleaning, while the other side is made of synthetic chamois material, so it is great for drying and polishing.

  1. To clean your windows all you have to do is get the cloth damp and wipe away. Wet under the faucet with regular water, then wring out until it is left damp.
  2. Wipe with the green side to clean and remove build-up. For best results, use one continuous motion, and work from one side to the other. All fingerprints, dog nose prints, dirt and other grime will lift off with ease, and you will be posing no risk to the material.
  3. To dry to a spot-free finish, simply  flip it over and use the shammy side to dry and buff to a polished, lint and streak-free shine. You don’t need a separate dry cloth because when damp, the orange side actually soaks up moisture better.
  4. Use this side in one continuous direction as well, and any residual wetness will be eliminated quickly to give your windows a professional look.
  5. Once finished simply toss in the laundry for washing. Each one can be cleaned hundreds of times prior to replacement.

This cloth is totally reusable and washable. Use it over and over for sparkling windows, mirrors, chrome, and more. Its dual sided design provides for unmatched cleaning power and drying ability. This amazing little cloth will allow you to clean sensitive surfaces with just water as a detergent. That’s right. No more window cleaner. Just add water to get your glass clearer than ever, and without a chemical residue or any kind of streaking or lint. And you certainly don’t run the risk of turning your windows purple. This is an incredibly simple and inexpensive way to ensure you always have the best looking surface possible. Just pay one low price to clean hundreds of times.

Another Way:

You could also use a regular microfiber cloth to get the job done.  We have many specialty microfiber cloths that are each suited for different cleaning jobs, but our Multipurpose Miracle Cloth would be the best choice for washing your tinted windows. It’s a lint-free cloth that cleans with only water just like the Ultimate Window Cloth. This one will be able to achieve a similar level of clean, but the downside would be the lack of a shammy underside for drying to a streak-free and polished finish. The advantage to this type of cloth would be that it is not as specialized, so it can also be used to clean other parts of your car too. Use it dry to dust your dashboard or GPS unit. Get it wet to remove grime and dirt build-up from your center console, arm rests and other notoriously dirty parts of your vehicle. It will still be absorbent enough to make the surface look nice, and because you only need a small amount of moisture to work with it, most water will dry in seconds all on it’s own.

How to use it

  1. Using this cloth is similar to the one above. To prepare for cleaning, simply wet with water and wring out all the way.
  2. Take your damp cloth and wipe the entire window. Use an up and down, side to side or circular motion. Work from one side to the other, or outside to inside to ensure total coverage.
  3. As you move across the surface, the tiny fibers will lift up tough grime, cut through greasy build up and completely remove all dirt and germs in a safe and effective manner.
  4. Once you are done with the windows, keep on wiping to clean any other surface in your home or vehicle as well.
  5. This one is also rated for hundreds of washings so when it gets dirty simply toss it in the wash and you are good to go.

So if you want the perfect cloth that is specifically designed to achieve  the absolute best looking tinted windows possible, then you want to go with the Ultimate Window Cloth. If you want one that would do a good job with your auto glass, but can also be used other places as well, then you should choose the multipurpose microfiber cloth. Whichever one you choose though, you are sure to be able to get those tinted windows clean without any risk of harming them. These are both totally easy to use, and completely reusable and washable. With only water added, and no additional sprays necessary, this is easily one of the best methods, and certainly one of the safest. Get the job done while guaranteeing that you will avoid drying, cracking and discoloration so your ride remains in top visual condition.

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  1. This is great advice. We had some very expensive UV Window Film installed and I would be very annoyed if it was ruined by the wrong cleaning technique so thanks for this

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  2. dawn dish soap, what does it do to tinted glass and could i add vinager to it to make it more sustainable

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  3. A mild dish soap is fine. It is the ammonia in most window cleaners that causes the discoloration and damage. Our window cloths are great because they clean better than windex and paper towels, and you don't have to worry about damage. It is a very low cost option too because one cloth can be used and washed hundreds of times before it needs to be replaced.

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  4. Scott Towels & a shot glass of baby shampoo in a quart spray bottle works great on tinting. No chemicals in baby shampoo.

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    • True enough. This method can work, and won’t turn your windows purple, but it is sort of a pain. You also run the risk of using too much soap, or being left with a soapy residue. If you leave a sticky film on your windows from soap, then they will just attract dirt quicker so you will have to clean them more frequently. That is why our window cloth is so great. No fancy mixtures or special steps to take. It is a quick and easy way to make sure you have clean windows in very little time and with a minimal amount of effort. This leaves more time to drive around that sweet ride instead of wash it.

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  5. Nice post. This is very useful method in cleaning window tints. Thanks for the info and tips.

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  6. I already used Windex on my tinted window! There’s a horrible fog on it now that won’t come off!! Suggestions please…..

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    • Yeah…. Unfortunately, the damage is usually permanent. You can attempt a cleaning with something safer in order to remove the haze, but most likely the harsh ingredients have caused damage that will remain until you replace the film. This is exactly why it is so important to use a tool or method that will not react with the surface. This and other off the shelf sprays are like Kryptonite to aftermarket, darkened windows. Turning a different color is common, but you can also get a foggy or scratchy look from the top layer being eaten away by the ammonia in the cleaner. Once it is no longer protected, lots of bad things can happen.

      You may get lucky if this is a new job because sometimes a similar look is caused by the soap used to install the tint. Some bubbles or moisture may remain trapped between the glass and film, but it should evaporate without intervention. If this is the case, give it up to a month to go away all on it’s own. Look very closely at the damage to determine if it is topical, or underneath. If under, leave it alone, if on top, there may be nothing you can do, but try washing with a damp cloth to reduce the ugly appearance.

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  7. Great post. We get this question quite a bit with our customers. I would definitely recommend some kind of microfiber cloth for this, as any normal cloth could cause scratches or bubbles if used incorrectly.

    Also, as tempting as it may be, don’t do the window tinting yourself. Hire a professional to ensure that your vehicle’s windows are going to be completed to the highest quality.

    – Jeff Cunningham from Alpha Tinting (

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  8. I have actually found that cleaning a tinted window correctly makes a difference. I love the look of tinted windows because they make a car look so much more classy. I am hoping that these tips help preserve the good look of my car.

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  9. I love how you describe what window tinting is. When I suggested to my dad that we tint his windows, he didn’t know what I was talking about. I realize now that it is important for people to know what we are talking about. I think if I took him to a professional, he would have understood better.

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  10. I like that you said to use microfiber cloths. When I was cleaning my car I found that I could not get all of the streaks off. Do you think that a microfiber cloth could get all of them off?

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    • Sure. A good quality microfiber cloth designed for absorption can be the perfect thing to dry the surface to a streak-free and spot-free finish. Just make sure to avoid thin, economy style cloths that are popular because e they won’t be able to soak up the water necessary to avoid the streaking.

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