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How To Remove Road Film From Car Windshield?

Are you beginning to notice a film developing on the windshield of your vehicle? This "road film" can turn into a real distraction, and can even obscure your visibility, especially at night. If you are wondering about the best way to remove road film from your windshield, we can help you. We researched the best methods from the experts so that you'll know for sure how to rid your vehicle's glass of this pesky substance.

You will be able to easily remove road film from your vehicle's windshield by using one of the following methods:

  • White vinegar and water
  • Ammonia-free glass cleaner
  • Invisible glass
  • Magic erasers and water
  • Rubbing alcohol

Now that we know the methods you can use to remove traffic film from your windshield, we'll take a closer look at each one so that you'll know which one will work best for you. You might also be wondering what causes road film, or if cigarette smoke will create a film on the inside of the glass. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

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Windscreen wipers clearing away washing fluid for better visibility on a journey, How To Remove Road Film From Car Windshield?

The five best ways to remove road film from your vehicle's windshield

There is more than one way to get that pesky film off your windshield. Each of these methods is pretty easy to use and relatively inexpensive.

You'll want to remove the film as soon as you notice it. The haze from travel film makes it a lot harder to see at night, as the glare from outside lights reflects off of it. The road film can also make it precarious to drive through the rain.

White vinegar and water

Chemical free home cleaner products concept. Using natural destilled white vinegar in spray bottle to remove stains. Tools on wooden table, green bokeh background

You can use white vinegar's acidity to remove travel film. A ten percent solution of white vinegar and warm water can be mixed inside a spray bottle.

Liberally spray the solution on the windshield, then use a cloth or a sponge to scrub away the road film. This can take a bit of elbow grease to get the job done.

When you're finished, carefully inspect the surface of the windshield. Repeat if necessary.

Ammonia-free glass cleaner

If you want something already pre-mixed, you can use an approved glass cleaner on the windshield. Make sure that it is ammonia-free, as the ammonia in some cleaners can create a haze itself.

After spraying the cleaner on the windshield, vigorously scrub it with a cloth or sponge. Rinse and inspect. Repeat if necessary.

Invisible glass

When you have the glass clean, consider using Invisible Glass on the surface. This will help rid the glass of any residual travel haze. It will also help prevent the buildup of the chemicals that can cause the haze.

Magic erasers and water

Magic erasers work wonders on a seemingly unlimited variety of surfaces. So you might not be surprised to know that they can be used to clean your vehicle's windshield too.

Clean the windshield using the magic eraser and a liberal amount of water. You will need to scrub the surface. This will not only get rid of any bugs, dirt, and other debris, but will work to remove the road film that has built up.

Rinse the windshield and inspect it. Repeat if necessary. 

Rubbing alcohol

If the road haze on your windshield is particularly stubborn, you might need to resort to something a bit more powerful. Rubbing alcohol can be used in a pinch to get rid of the haze.

Using a spray bottle, liberally spray the rubbing alcohol onto the surface of the windshield. Let it sit for a few moments. This substance tends to evaporate quickly, and letting it do so will help loosen up the road film.

Spray it on the windshield again, and go to work scrubbing away. When you are satisfied, you can carefully rinse the windshield with water and an approved windshield cleaner.

What causes road film to appear on a windshield?

Men smoking in car.

Road film doesn't just magically show up, obstructing your view from the driver's seat of your vehicle. This substance builds up over time, making it necessary to go through the steps to properly remove it. You might be surprised to learn that many things can create a travel haze.

Hard water

The biggest culprit for road haze is the water that comes into contact with your windshield. If you are using hard water to wash your car, the substances in the water will stick to your windshield. Over time, a hazy film begins to develop.

Pollutants in the rainwater will also leave behind a film. Rain with higher acidity, hitting your windshield in drops or from puddle splashes, will contribute to travel film.

If you drive in snowy or icy conditions, the road salt will combine with the elements. The resulting slushy water that sprays onto your vehicle will also leave a film on your windshield.

Engine coolant

Refilling the windshield washer system antifreeze

In the heat of the summer, fluids will evaporate from your vehicle much faster. The evaporation of radiator fluid will contain certain chemicals that will leave traces of themselves behind on your hood and your windshield.

This will be accelerated if the vehicle ever overheats. The chemicals that are evaporating are quickly dried on your windshield, sticking to the glass. These can be among the most stubborn of hazes to remove, due to their tackiness and thickness.

Off gas from plastics

The plastic pieces under your windshield are susceptible to heat. You might be surprised to know that plastic and vinyl will emit traces of gas when they are heated up. This gas contains particles that settle and stick on your windshield.

There is no one cause for the travel film on your windshield. Chances are, that haze you find yourself staring through is from a combination of several of the causes we listed above. Clean your windshield when you begin to notice the film, as this will make the task quicker and easier.

Does cigarette smoke create a film on the inside of the windshield?

Woman smoking a cigarette at the wheel of a car.

If you use cigarettes in your vehicle, you will notice that a film will begin to appear on the inside of your windshield. The particles of the smoke you exhale will stick to the glass, creating a hazy film that will get thicker the more you smoke. This film can be removed by employing any of the same methods used to remove travel film from the exterior.

Cigarette smoke will do more than just create a hazy layer of film on your windshield. It also damages your cabin air filters, forcing them to be replaced more often. This will interfere with your air conditioning and heating.

If you smoke in your vehicle, you will also risk damaging your onboard computer and other electronics. These sensitive parts should never be subjected to smoke of any kind, as it can reduce their functional lifespan.

This not only includes the smoke from a cigarette or a cigar but the chemicals from e-cigarettes and vapes as well.

Final thoughts

Road film will accumulate on the exterior of your windshield over time, reducing your visibility at night or in the rain. This film can be easily removed by using one of several tried-and-true methods. Make this a part of your routine maintenance so that your vehicle stays clean. Drive safe!

We hope this post on windshield cleaning answered all of your questions. For more helpful information, we recommend reading the following automotive posts:

Can Your Car Pass Inspection With A Cracked Windshield?

Driving with a Cracked Windshield: Should You Be Doing That?

How To Defog Your Windshield Without Using The Heater