Tinted windows are great for increased privacy and decreased sun exposure while you’re on the road, but they do come with a few extra steps when it comes to long-term care. Special tinted window maintenance is essential to protect your investment and ensure they last. We suggest you follow a few routine steps every time you hit the car wash.
Extend Tinted Window Life With These 6 Maintenance Steps
- Don’t Wash Them Right Away: If your tinted windows are brand new, you’ll want to wait a few days before you clean them (this gives the film time to dry and set). If you apply water or cleaner before the tint has a chance to fully dry, it may be pulled loose and/or bubble.
- The Exterior is Fine: Because the window tint is applied to the inside of your car rather than the exterior, you should be fine to wash the outside of your car like you normally do. Automatic, self-serve, or DIY—you can go through most car washes without any problems. However, once you get to the inside, you’ll need to be extra careful.
- Don’t Use Regular Window Cleaners: There are specialty tinted window cleaners you can buy to wash your windows, but these can get expensive (and aren’t always necessary). The most important thing to avoid is any ammonia-based cleaner or those with blue or green coloring. The chemicals in these can break down the tint film and/or cause it to discolor (in fact, ammonia-based products are often used to remove tint). Instead, stick to chemical-free cleaners or the mild soaps that are offered at the self-service car wash.
- Wipe Away Smudges: In most cases, you can simply use a paper towel or microfiber to do the bulk of the cleaning for you. Avoiding the edges as much as possible (as this is where the tint peels away) and spot clean any smudges, prints, or other kinds of debris. If necessary, you can use water and/or mild soap for a deeper clean.
- Always Dry the Windows Well: Because water is a tinted window’s biggest enemy, it’s important to make sure the window is completely dry before you consider the job done. We prefer a microfiber cloth for maximum results.
- Take Care of Bubbles/Imperfections: Over time (or if the tint was poorly applied in the first place), you may find that bubbles and other surface imperfections arise. These can be taken care of by pressing the edge of a credit card against the bubble and pushing it out to the edges or, if that doesn’t work, by popping the bubble with a small pin and then pushing it out. Too many of these, however, and it might simply be a sign that it’s time to upgrade/remove the tint.
Taking care of tinted windows doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. The next time you’re at the car wash, give them a once-over and wipe off any smudges. By making this a routine habit, you can significantly extend the life of your tint.