It’s something that might be easy to overlook, but clean glass can be a boom to any workshop – or indeed a business of any kind.
At its simplest, glass cleaner is just a good way to clean vehicle windscreens and useful if you have a lot of cars sitting on an outdoor parking lot, but it’s also a quick and easy way to take surface dirt off any part of a vehicle.
Magazines will use it to polish up a car for an outdoor photoshoot (don’t tell anyone), but it’s also useful if you want a clean surface for sticking things on to, like decals or a replacement rear- view mirror.
Aside from a quick polish on cars, premises tend to have a lot of windows and, with most formulations being kind enough for TV/monitor screens, a good glass cleaner is something you can’t really do without.
How we tested them
Naturally, a good glass cleaner gets glass clean, so our tests have involved taking before and after light meter readings on patches of glass we’ve cleaned with the various products here. You’ll also want your cleaner to protect against future dirtiness, so we revisited the glass after a few days exposed to the elements and measured again after a quick wipe-over with a damp cloth.
Halfords Glass Cleaner
How much: £3.50
Where from: halfords.com
The Halfords cleaner impressed us – not only because it scored well on the light meter, but for the minimal amount of effort needed to polish up really rather grim panes. It might be the thinnest of the fluids here, so when using it on angled surfaces like the inside of a windscreen you’ll need to be careful not to let it run off, but, by and large, it’s a very solid choice.
Autoglym Fast Glass
How much: £9.47
Where from: andrewpage.com
Autoglym may well be a default choice for many but, like the TurtleWax option, while it does a fair job and won’t leave you with any disappointing smears and streaks, it’s not quite up with our leading trio. While not the worst on the light meter readings for the first pass, it’s a little poorer after the dirt has built up again so you’ll need to reach for the cleaner a second time instead of a wet cloth.
How much: £10.00
Where from: meguiars.co.uk
Meguiar’s product is undoubtedly the best, but it’s also the most expensive. On the initial wipe, it foams up ever so slightly – to the point where you might think it would leave a smear – but it buffs away to leave an exceptionally clean piece of glass. It scored the highest on the light meter readings for the first pass and is noticeably more fragrant than the others, too.
How much: £4.00
Where from: asda.com
One curious aspect of the Rain-X cleaner is that after use, the glass was noticeably squeaky to the touch, as opposed to the smoothness with the others. The reason for this became clear on the second cleaning pass, where any additional dirt wiped away quickly and easily. While it didn’t score the highest on the light meter readings overall, the fact is, you’re not going to need to use it quite as often as the others.
How much: £5.50
Where from: halfords.com
The TurtleWax product is the only one that suggests it should be left on a surface (for around a minute) after the initial application, though this didn’t seem to make too much of a difference to anything except really baked-on bird droppings – though it was rather effective for that. It didn’t do quite as well as the others for either the initial clean or the follow-up.