How to Clean Motorcycle Windshield (Without Scratching It): A Quick Guide With Dos & Don’ts
Here’s a question for you.
What makes a motorcycle windshield different from the other accessories?
The simple fact that you have to see through it at all times.
Keeping the motorcycle windscreen clean and maintaining it in the right way is extremely important. Riding with a windscreen that doesn’t offer clear visibility through it is a dangerous choice.
As some veterans say: accidents do not happen, they are caused. So, don’t let your motorcycle windscreen turn into a cause!
The Best Way to Clean Motorcycle Windshield Using Common Household Items
The easiest way to clean a motorcycle windshield is to use warm water and mild soap or shampoo. Use a microfiber towel or a soft cotton rag to wipe it clean.
The problem with dead bugs stuck on the windshield is, they will smear if you try to remove the residues when wet. In case they get too dry, they might scratch the surface.
I prefer using microfiber as they are super effective in removing the top layer of dust and road grime. Besides, they are cheap and readily available. In case you want to clean the bug splatters while on the trail, a wet microfiber towel is the best option.
Moreover, since the headlamp covers are made from the same material, you can use the soap-water mixture for cleaning it too. Another advantage of mild soap is it can be used on acrylic as well as polycarbonate.
The best way is to place the towel on the windscreen for a few minutes and let the water soften the residues. Once they are soft, you can wipe them off with a towel.
No matter whether you are using an aftermarket or OEM windshield, they are vulnerable to dirt, grit, and remnants of deceased bugs. To clean up this stubborn yuck, you can also use the right cleaning agent, depending on the material of the windshield.
What’s the Best Cleaner for My Motorcycle Windshield?
Since most motorcycle windshields are made from polycarbonate or acrylic, they are more prone to damage, unlike car windshields. In fact, acrylic or plexiglass is more prone to damage than polycarbonate. For that reason, pick a material-specific cleaner that’s free from harmful chemicals and abrasives.
Cleaners that contain alcohol, ammonia, kerosene, or petrol can cause damage to the windshield coating. They can cause mist formation and reduce windscreen transparency. It’s best to check the manufacturer’s instructions on the subject.
If you’re not sure, choose the mildest cleaner you can find. Or else use a combination of soap and warm water.
Generally, there are two types of motorcycle cleaners:
- Plastic cleaners – These are specially designed to prevent any harm to the plastic material of the windshield. They are available in the form of sprays and creams. Since these cleaners are milder, they are not so effective on non-plastic surfaces.
- All-Purpose Cleaners – These cleaners are more versatile and can be used for glass, metal, and plastics. Since they may contain harsher chemicals and mild abrasives, they are not the best choice for acrylic surfaces.
Picking the best cleaner for motorcycle windshields can be tricky. The easiest option is to check the manufacturer’s recommendations and stick to them. If you are planning to try an aftermarket product, consider how easy to use it is on the road.
How to Clean a Cloudy Motorcycle Windshield: Step-By-Step Guide
Basically, cleaning the windshield is a simple process. However, cleaning it the wrong way can cause damage to the material.
Rinse the windshield thoroughly with plenty of water. This will soften up the dirt and remove the top layer of dust and grime. You can also use a leaf blower to remove any dust on the surface.
Use the combination of a mild soap or shampoo and warm water to wash the windshield. Gently, (spotlight on the word “gently” here) use a wet towel to wipe the surface. Spray additional water to keep the surface wet. If you are using a cleaning agent, follow the instructions for use. Repeat the process as required.
Once the surface is clean, rinse it with clean water to remove all the residual gunk and the cleaning material. Rinse thoroughly to ensure that the surface is spotlessly clean.
Wipe the windshield with a dry and clean cotton cloth or microfiber towel. Don’t let it dry as that might form spots on the surface.
Common Cleaning Mistakes to Avoid If You Don’t Want a Scratched Windshield
A word of caution: it’s common for newbies to scar the windscreen with a careless scratch while trying to clean it. (One of those scratches you cannot itch, eh? Or maybe you can, up to a point.)
Here are a few other don’ts:
- One big mistake that many newbies do is using a car windshield cleaner on a motorcycle. Since a car windshield is made of glass, it can resist harsh chemicals or even a can of cola effectively. With a motorcycle windshield, you may not be so lucky.
- Use a clean cloth that has not been used for any other purpose for motorcycle windscreen cleaning. Any dirt or residual chemicals in the cloth can damage the windscreen. Avoid using paper towels as they are stiff and can contain residual chemicals. And never clean the windshield by using a dry cloth.
- Avoid circular movements while cleaning the windshield. Always move the wet towel or cloth from the center to the edge. This will prevent the rubbing of the leftover dirt on the surface and cause scratches.
- It’s best to clean the windscreen in a shade. Firstly, the chemicals in a cleaner work best when the temperatures are cooler. Also, it is easier to see the steaks and stains in shade than under direct sunlight.
- Use plenty of water during the cleaning process to wash off the gunk and abrasive particles. In fact, the dirtier the windscreen, the more volume of water you should use. Change the rinse water frequently or use a source of running water to prevent the reintroduction of dirt particles on the windshield.
- Don’t scrape the surface to remove the stubborn marks. Use a wet towel and rub it softly. Make sure to wipe the top and bottom edges.
- Apply a polish or a spray wax that’s good for the windshield after the cleaning is done. The polish will keep the surface clean and also prevent scratches.
- It’s best not to wear any gloves while cleaning the windshield. You never know what invisible abrasive particles are sticking to the surface of your gloves.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I use to clean a motorcycle windshield?
The best way to clean a motorcycle windshield is to use warm soapy water and a clean microfiber towel. However, you can also use windshield cleaners as long as they are safe for the windshield material. That means they should be as mild as possible, without alcohol, ammonia, or petroleum!
How do you clean a cloudy motorcycle windshield?
A motorcycle windshield can get hazy or cloudy if it gets scratched. You will need to follow a step-by-step cleaning process to remove scratches. In the worst-case scenario, you may have to replace the windshield. In case the windshield is cloudy due to the accumulation of dirt, mud, or insect splatters, a normal cleaning process will help.
How to clean acrylic motorcycle windshields?
Acrylic motorcycle windshields can be cleaned with a soap and water solution and a clean microfiber cloth. If you want to use chemical cleaners make sure that the composition does not damage the acrylic surface.