How to Clean Tinted Windows

Tinted windows are a popular choice among car owners and homeowners for many good reasons. They offer greater privacy, reduce sun glare, combat harmful UV rays, and add an element of sleek aesthetics to your vehicle or property. However, it’s essential to note that tinted windows require a special kind of care when it comes to cleaning to ensure longevity and maintain their optimal functionality.

Whether your tinted windows are installed in your car or your residential or commercial property it is important to keep them clean. Cleaning tinted windows may sound daunting given their sensitivity, but with some knowledge and the right techniques, it can be an easy and hassle-free experience.

We’ve been providing quality window tinting services since 1986, offering the highest-quality films and installation services in the Atlanta area. Our professionals offer not only their expertise and experience but also a dedication to customer satisfaction, and we’re proud to share our knowledge with you in this guide.

Remember that your tinted windows not only elevate the look of your car or property but also protect you from harmful UV rays, reduce heat, and provide privacy. They are an investment worth taking care of. 

Infographic for The Tint Guy showing the do's and don't's of cleaning tinted windows.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Tinted Windows

Cleaning tinted windows is not as simple as grabbing a cloth and a bottle of any ordinary window cleaner. The unique characteristics of tinted windows necessitate a different approach to cleaning, which also requires using window-friendly cleaning tools. Understanding what you can and cannot use to clean your tinted windows is the first step toward ensuring their longevity.

In your cleaning arsenal, there should be items like microfiber cloths and spray bottles, which are gentle and will not damage your windows’ delicate tint. Microfiber cloths are soft and scratch-proof, making them perfect for cleaning not just glass, but particularly useful when dealing with tinted windows. Equally important is a spray bottle for your chosen cleaning solution, which allows for an even application over the window.

On the other hand, there are items and substances you should avoid when cleaning your tinted windows. Hard scouring pads, steel wool, and razor blades can scratch the tint off your windows. Similarly, ammonia-based cleaners should be avoided as ammonia can cause discoloration or fading to your window tint over time. 

Another thing to keep in mind is the distinction between aftermarket and factory tint. Aftermarket tint is applied to the inside of the window glass and requires more delicate handling because of its sensitive nature. On the other hand, factory tint is a part of the glass itself and is less susceptible to damage from cleaning.

In addition to giving you an attractive, sleek, and private space, your tinted windows provide benefits like blocking harmful UV rays and reducing heat gain from sunlight. However, these benefits might be compromised if the window tint suffers damage due to incorrect cleaning practices. Thus, understanding the do’s and don’ts of cleaning your tinted windows is crucial for preserving its cutting-edge benefits.

Photo of a satisfied man doing the final touch with microfiber cloth on his car's tinted windows.

Step-by-Step Guide on How to Clean Tinted Car Windows

Following the appropriate method is the key to achieving a streak-free shine and ensuring that subtle films like car window tint don’t get damaged.

First, gather all the necessary materials around you. These include a microfiber paper towel or cloth that won’t scratch the tint, a mildly soapy water solution in a spray bottle, and a window tint cleaner if you have one at hand.

Start the cleaning process by spraying your cleaning solution on the inside of your tinted window. Instead of spraying directly onto the window, it can be more efficient to spray the solution onto your clean microfiber cloth and then wipe down the window in a circular motion. Remember to also clean non-tinted parts of the window since dirt can easily transfer from these parts onto the tinted area.

Once your window has been wiped, use a separate, dry microfiber cloth to gently buff off any moisture left on the window. This should help avoid streaks that can sometimes be left by cleaning products.

For stubborn dirt and sticky substances, a clay bar may be an effective way to ensure a smooth finish. Gently glide it over the window surface while using plenty of soapy water for lubrication. However, take note to not press too hard or overuse it to avoid the possibility of scratching the tint film.

These methods are most suited for aftermarket tint which is more delicate due to its application on the interior of the glass. Factory tint, on the other hand, is more resilient as it’s integrated into the glass itself during manufacturing.

Getting your tinted windows to gleam requires patience and the right technique. Do not rush the cleaning process; instead, be methodical and efficient.

Handsome young man cleaning tinted windows with cloth and spray bottle at home.

How to Clean Commercial & Residential Tinted Windows

Cleaning commercial and residential tinted windows can be quite similar to cleaning car windows. Still, there may be some slight variations due to certain factors such as the window’s size, height, and tilt. So let’s explore the process and tips for both scenarios.

Again, start by gathering the necessary materials. These include a clean and soft cloth, a spray bottle of warm soapy water, and a separate clean cloth or microfiber towel.

Begin by removing any loose dust or dirt from the surface with a dry soft cloth. After ensuring the surface is free of loose particles, spray your soapy solution onto the surface of the window. Use your cloth to then wipe the window, working from top to bottom in a side-to-side motion. 

Follow up with a clean, dry cloth to buff the window, ensuring to dry it thoroughly and avoid streaks. Repeat the process if necessary, particularly for areas with stubborn dirt or spots. An added tip: cleaning in the morning or late evening can help avoid streaks as the cleaning solution will not dry as quickly as it would in direct sunlight.

If there are specific stubborn spots or air bubbles, a credit card wrapped in a soft cloth can be used carefully to press these out towards the edge of the window. Be sure not to scratch the window or lift the tint with the card’s edges.

Remember, cleaning tinted windows is more of a delicate process than rigorous scrubbing. While you want to achieve commercial or residential clean windows, it’s essential to avoid damaging the film in the process. 

Male hand cleaning car side window with microfiber rag, wiping auto glass dry with cloth during professional vehicle washing outdoors. Car wash concept

The Value of Professional Window Tinting Services

We’ve covered how to clean tinted windows for automobiles, as well as commercial and residential properties. We’ve explored the do’s and don’ts and taken you through the step-by-step process specific to each type of window. With these tips, you can maintain the appearance and functionality of your tinted windows, ensuring their longevity and performance.

One of the benefits of window tinting is that the maintenance level required is low and anyone can clean their tinted windows with the proper tools. However, if you happen to damage your windows in the cleaning process, The Tint Guy is here to help restore your window film to its original shape, ensuring long-lasting clarity and protection for your windows.

At The Tint Guy, we recognized early on that our customers needed more than just high-quality window tinting services. They also might need help caring for their tinted windows afterward. That’s why we offer comprehensive service, from the installation of premium window tints to providing expert repair and maintenance services. 

With 38 years of experience in the industry, our professionals have the knowledge, skills, and industry-leading products to get any job done right the first time, ensuring the perfect streak-free shine on your freshly installed tinted windows. 

For more inquiries or in-depth advice on window tint cleaning, the curing process, or anything else, contact us!


Kusek, Meagan. “3 Steps for Cleaner, Clearer Windows.” Professional Carwashing & Detailing, 21 Oct. 2019,