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Windex is one of the most popular and widely used cleaning products for glass surfaces around the world. It efficiently removes grime, dirt, and other contaminants from glass and other reflective surfaces, leaving you with a streak-free finish.
In addition, you can use it to clean the car windscreen, giving you better visibility when driving your car.
However, while this cleaning product is ideal for home use, some experts don’t recommend using it around car paint. Why? Is Windex not safe to use on car paint?
This post will help you find out as we explore some potential effects of using Windex to clean your car. First, here’s something you should know about this cleaning solution!
What is Windex?
Windex is a water-soluble glass cleaning solution made of water and Isopropanol (Isopropyl alcohol). It’s specifically formulated to remove first from various glass surfaces without leaving stubborn stains. In addition, most drivers use this general cleaning solution to clean plastic and vinyl parts in their cars.
However, this product is not ideal for use on wood surfaces. Most experts recommend the use of water and car shampoo to clean car windows instead of Windex for various reasons. Unfortunately, most working drivers find this option to be too time-consuming, which is why they prefer Windex!
Here‘s how Windex works!
For starters, Windex contains a multitude of agents and chemicals mixed together in their 8 oz spray bottle. These chemicals have an exceptional ability to remove grease, dirt, tree sap, oil, and dirt from glass and window surfaces.
When you spray the Windex solution on a piece of a glass surface, the chemicals loosen the contaminants, making it easy to wipe them away.
Since glass surfaces are made from limestone and sand, they can withstand the harsh chemicals and products contained in Windex. But, can we say the same about car paint? Read on to find out!
Before we get there though, let’s look at some of the chemicals contained in Windex glass cleaner!
What are the ingredients of the Windex cleaning solution?
Since its inception back in 1933, Windex has always believed in transparency with its formula to help homeowners choose safe & effective products. According to the manufacturer, Windex cleaner contains water, Liquitint Sky Blue Dye, fragrance, and Sodium dodecylbenzene, which acts as a wetting agent.
In addition, the formula contains cleaning agents such as; Ammonium Hydroxide, 2-Hexoxyethanol, Lauryl Dimethyl Amine Oxide, and Isopropanolamine.
Is Windex Safe to use on Car Paint?
Isopropyl alcohol and Ammonium Hydroxide (Ammonia), two of the ingredients contained in Windex, are not safe to use on car paint. Specifically, these chemicals dissolve the car wax and clear coat, exposing the car paint to harsh elements like acid rain, chemical spills, and UV radiation.
As a result, your car’s paint job will start experiencing common car problems like drying out or chipping away after some time.
Therefore, Windex should not be used on car paint as it will ruin the paint job. Although the signs of car paint damage will not show immediately, you’ll certainly see them, especially if you continue using Windex to clean your car.
For that reason, the best option is to avoid using Windex on car paint altogether.
On the bright side, you can use this product to remove any streaks, grime, and dirt on glass surfaces since they’re much stronger than car paint.
What if I use Ammonia-free Windex on car paint?
Now that we’ve established that Windex is not safe to use on car paint due to the presence of harsh chemicals like Ammonia, what if you use an Ammonia-free version?
As the name suggests, Ammonia-free Windex doesn’t contain as many chemicals as the original formula. For that, it’s not as harsh as the one with ammonia if you are trying to clean your car.
However, we still wouldn’t recommend it for use on any painted surface unless you want to strip the paint. That’s because the formula contains other harsh chemicals like isopropyl alcohol that are too strong for car paint.
Secondly, Ammonia-free Windex still produces strong fumes that tend to irritate car paint. So, while you may not see damage on your car’s paint job right away, it will chip and dry over time if you clean it with Ammonia-free Windex.
However, you can use Windex Ammonia-free glass cleaner on certain parts of your car such as; car windows, vinyl surfaces, mirrors, plastic, stainless steel, and chrome.
Car paint repair jobs can be quite costly. For that reason, it’s important to stay away from Windex and other cleaners that may ruin the paintwork. Instead, look for cleaning solutions that are safe to use on car paint.
For instance, a bucket of water and a little dish soap will get the job done, without damaging the paintwork. Alternatively, use car wash soaps that are specifically designed for use on car paints.
Even better, car wash soap can effectively remove grime and dirt from your car surface without stripping away any car paint protective coating.
Read next: Can you use Simple Green on your car?