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Best car glass cleaners 2020

An ability to cut through smears is vital for any glass cleaner

With paintwork gleaming, deep black plastics and sparkling alloys, the final job after sprucing up the interior is to clean the glass.

You can really lift an interior by removing the faint film that builds up on glass; and by doing this last, any overspray from other cleaning jobs is dealt with, too.

Start with the driver’s door window, remembering to drop it an  inch to clean the top edge normally hidden in the runner. You can spray cleaner directly on the glass or, if you’re concerned about overspray, apply straight to the cloth.

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Use two cloths, so you can have one loaded with cleaner to shift any grime, while the other polishes to a shine. After the driver’s door, move to the passenger side and then tackle the screen, which is easier to access from here. If there are rear doors, do these before tackling the rear screen. If it’s not a hatch, use the back of the hand to move the cloths across the glass. For cars with a rear hatch, open it and sit inside the car to wipe.

Smears caused by oils are the biggest problem when cleaning glass, and our test focuses on shifting these. We applied measured amounts of oil to the glass, then removed it with each cleaner using the same amount of wipes. We tested five rivals each time, so progress could be easily compared. Our verdict is the result of multiple tests, plus price is taken into account.

Verdict

  1. Armor All Glass Cleaner
  2. Autoglym Fast Glass
  3. Car Gods 54 Zeus Glass Perfection

Reviews

Armor All Glass Cleaner

  • Price: Around £5
  • Size: 500ml
  • Rating: 5 stars
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There’s a mix of the old and the new in our final four here, and this cleaner from US favourite Armor All is one of the former. It has been towards the top of our glass cleaner tests since 2015, and it takes a narrow win this time. It treads a fine line between performance and price, and just pips the very effective Autoglym to the post. A series of high (if not perfect) scores and a competitive price make it our go-to glass cleaner.

Buy now from Amazon here

Autoglym Fast Glass

  • Price: Around £9
  • Size: 500ml
  • Rating: 4.5 stars

Autoglym’s Fast Glass has been in tests for even longer than our winner and, like the Armor All, it’s always near the top of the results. It achieved better scores than any other cleaner, but the margins were small, and not enough to overcome Autoglym’s high price. Handily it can be used on materials such as Perspex, acrylic and plastic, and is also safe to use on in-car screens and sat-navs.

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Car Gods 54 Zeus Glass Perfection

  • Price: Around £10
  • Size: 500ml
  • Rating: 4 stars
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This is the first newcomer in our top four. It’s part of a new range of ‘craft’ car care from CarPlan maker Tetrosyl, and is designed to appeal to the enthusiast detailing market. It works well, which is no surprise because CarPlan’s Screen Clean is a two-time test winner – we wouldn’t be surprised if the formulas were very similar. Its high price is the only real downside.

Hellshine Pain

  • Price: Around £10
  • Size: 500ml
  • Rating: 4 stars
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Our second newcomer is this Hellshine cleaner from the Autobrite Direct line-up. With a high price tag, Pain earned its place in the final four with a series of top results in our tests. It’s a touch behind the top two, although it was very effective at lifting oil from glass. Like the Autoglym (above), it works on other materials, including Perspex, and can even be used to clean helmet visors.

Also tested

  • Angelwax Vision
  • Auto Finesse Crystal Glass Cleaner
  • Black Diamond Quick Glass
  • CarPlan Demon Glass
  • Dodo Juice Clearly Menthol Refill Concentrate
  • Gyeon Q2M Glass
  • Kenotek Glass Cleaner
  • McLaren 04 Glass Cleaner
  • Meguiar’s Perfect Clarity Glass Cleaner
  • Polished Pigs Glass Cleaner
  • Scholl ICE Cleaner Gel
  • Simoniz Anti-Glare Glass Cleaner
  • Stoner Invisible Glass
  • Turtle Wax Clearvue Glass Clean
  • ValetPRO Glass Cleaner
  • Wynn’s Glass Cleaner

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.

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That’s where these two products come in, Meguiar’s 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.

Meguiar’s Perfect Clarity Glass Polishing Compound

  • Price: Around £12 
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

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.

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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.

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Quixx Glass Scratch Remover

  • Price: Around £20 
  • Rating: 3.5 stars

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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