At some point during the course of vehicle ownership, you’ll probably find a bit of sticky gunk clinging to your ride. And while that gunk is no doubt unsightly, when it’s on one of your vehicle windows, you must exercise caution when removing it! If you don’t, you could very likely end up with an express appointment at your local auto glass repair shop.

Although auto glass is quite strong and resilient, it’s still sensitive to damage with improper care. And yes, careless or forceful cleaning techniques can absolutely create scratches, chips, or cracks in your windshield, side windows, or rear window.

In this blog, we will share a few of the most notoriously difficult substances to remove from auto glass and how you can get the job done safely.

Chewing Gum

Chewing gum is a total pain to remove from any surface, but with the right approach, you can get it off your vehicle window without scratching the glass. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Put on some gloves (you don’t know who’s mouth that gum came out of).
  • Pull up as much of the gum as you can.
  • Grab a few ice cubes, toss them in a sandwich bag, and hold it against the remaining gum until it solidifies completely.
  • Peel the remaining gum off the glass.
  • Use a bug remover or diluted alcohol solution to clean up any residue and finish up by washing the glass with soapy water.

Spray Paint

Finding a random spray of paint on one of your vehicle windows might be enough to make your stomach drop. But when you know how simple it is to remove this stuff, you might feel differently! Spray paint is actually very easy to lift from glass, but the process does require some finesse. Here’s how to do it safely:

  • Grab a plastic blade and use the edge of it to gently scrape the paint from the surface of the glass.
  • Make sure you use long, steady strokes and only scrape in one direction.
  • Pour a small amount of acetone nail polish remover on a microfiber cloth and gently rub the area you just scraped. Be careful not to get acetone near your vehicle’s paint or near the edges of your windshield where the seal is!
  • Rinse the area with water and thoroughly wash the vehicle.

If this process sounds a little nerve wracking, don’t’ hesitate to leave the spray paint removal to the pros. Contact your local auto glass repair shop for situation-specific advice and if you’re lucky, they might even be able to help you out with the removal. 

Wiper Tracks

Do you feel like you’re always seeing streaks where your windshield wiper blades move? Those marks are likely due to one of two things: residue or glass damage. If you know the marks are simply residue, you can clean them up with a soft, lint-free cloth and an alcohol-based cleaner.

Make sure to clean the glass where the wipers usually rest and clean the entire wipe blade as well. Examine the blades for signs of damage and replace them if you notice deterioration. Fresh wiper blades can make all the difference in the world.

If you’ve repeatedly tried to remove wiper marks to no avail, you’re probably dealing with etched-in windshield damage caused by the metal components of the wipers. To determine if that’s the case, gently glide your fingers over the areas where you notice marks that won’t seem to go away.

If you detect shallow scratches in the glass, call a windshield repair specialist to schedule an inspection. Although minor, this type of glass damage can compromise the integrity of your windshield and potentially put your safety at risk. The earlier you tend to any necessary windshield repairs, the better off you’ll be.

Stickers Or Decals

If you need to remove an old decal from one of your vehicle windows, whatever you do, do not use a metal scraper or razor blade! Metal can scratch the glass with even a hair too much pressure, and for safety’s sake, window scratches always require auto glass repair.

To remove a window sticker without causing glass damage, apply a generous amount of warm, soapy water to the sticker and let it sit. You’ll probably have to do this several times to get the adhesive to loosen to the point that you can scrape at it.

When the decal softens and the adhesive starts to appear a little gooey, grab a plastic scraper and gently scrape away the sticker. Use an adhesive remover or rubbing alcohol to clean up any remaining residue and finish the job with a thorough soapy water wash.

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