Windshield wipers perform a critical role in maintaining visibility. If it’s raining or snowing,
they can be the difference between you staying in your lane and an accident.
Dirt and grime can get in the way of this critical role. Unclean wipers will leave streaks instead of removing water. When that happens, you might start thinking about replacing them.
But you can clean them yourself and save a few bucks while improving your safety. It’s important to do this in the right way with the right products. This article will walk you through the process.
What Are the Best Ways to Clean Windshield Wiper Blades?
Cleaning windshield wipers is easy and something you should do regularly. Three minutes of effort can improve your visibility and save you money.
Prevention is always the best cure. In the case of clean windshield wipers, that means keeping your windshield clear from debris and cleaning it occasionally with glass cleaner. You should also apply a coating. Rain Shield is a popular one.
Every three-to-six weeks, you’ll want to clean the wiper blades themselves. It’s easy and quick.
First, lift the wiper arms off the windshield. Most windshield wipers can lock in the up position for ease of replacing either the wiper blades or the windshield.
You’ll need a towel or rag. Microfiber works well. Apply cleaner to it. You can use either dish soap or denatured alcohol. White vinegar is always an effective earth-friendly cleaner.
Wipe the towel or rag down the length of the blade. Change the location of the towel you use to wipe. When you wipe and the towel comes up clean, the wiper blade is clean.
If the wiper sticks to the windshield, the hinge area where the blade is held in place by the arm might need a cleaning. Remove the wiper blade and clean it.
Once reassembled, place the blade – don’t let it snap – back down onto the windshield.
Sometimes a simple cleaning isn’t enough. Sometimes your windshield wiper blades need a little additional TLC. As the blades are rubber, you want to keep them soft enough that they keep a snug fit to the windshield.
You can do this with a towel and a can of WD40, a kind of silicone spray used to prevent water damage.
Lift the wiper blade away from the windshield. Clean off the blades with a damp cloth to remove dirt and grime.
Spray the WD40 onto a different towel. Don’t spray it directly onto the blade to ensure it doesn’t get on the windshield. While holding the wiper arm with one hand, run the towel down the length of the blade. Do it a couple of times to ensure complete coverage.
You’ll also want to inspect your wiper blades monthly. While inspecting them, you can rub them down with denatured alcohol to clean and maintain them.
If you can, park out of direct sunlight. That will cause rubber wiper blades to dry out and crack.
Can I Use Rubbing Alcohol to Clean My Windshield Wipers?
The great thing about cleaning windshield wipers is that you can use products you probably already have in your home. One of them is rubbing alcohol.
While denatured alcohol is better because it is pure, rubbing alcohol will work just fine on wiper blades.
Using rubbing alcohol on your windshield wiper blades is simple. Soak a cloth in it and wipe down the blades. It evaporates quickly, so there’s no need to follow up with a towel just wet with water to wipe away the excess.
Can You Use WD40 to Clean Wiper Blades?
Most people think of WD40 as a lubricant, which is a bit of an urban legend. In reality, it’s a silicone-based spray. The WD stands for “water displacement” and it is intended to reduce water damage.
You can use WD40 not only to clean your wiper blades but also to add a protective coat.
Pull the wiper arms to the up position. This allows you to clean the blades without getting cleaning materials on the windshield itself. Give the blades a quick visual inspection for cracks and tears.
Spray the WD40 onto a towel and wipe it the length of the blades. Do this until the towel comes up clean. Follow this up with a damp towel to remove the excess WD40. You don’t want that streaking across your windshield.
How Do You Clean Windshield Wiper Blades With Vinegar?
Vinegar is one of the most effective cleaning solutions you probably have in your home. It’s also all-natural and eco-friendly. White vinegar also works great on windshield wiper blades.
There’s no trick or secret technique. Start by wetting a towel – microfiber works great – white vinegar. Don’t use cider or some other kind. Damped a second towel with water.
Lift the wiper arm to the up position to provide better access to the blades. Inspect the blades for cracks or tears. If they’re cracked or torn, you’ll need to replace them.
Hold the wiper arm with one hand, while using the other to wipe the vinegar-dampened towel the length of the rubber blade. Use a different spot on the towel each time. When it comes up clean, the rubber blade is clean.
Follow it up with the water-dampened towel to remove excess white vinegar.
With the right products, you can save yourself time and money by replacing windshield wipers that leave streaks. Odds are pretty good you’ve just got some dirt built up along the blade that is preventing them from working properly.
You don’t need special cleaners. You probably have the stuff to do the job already in your home. Some rubbing alcohol or WD40 will work. If you’d prefer something environmentally friendly, white vinegar is always a good cleaning option.
We hope you learned something of value in this article. If you did – or have something to add – we’d love for you to start a conversation with a comment down below. You can also share this article on your social media networks.