How to Clean Jeep Plastic Windows
We’ve all seen older soft top Jeeps hazy or scratched plastic windows. This post will help you avoid the much too common issue of people damaging their Jeep’s plastic windows while cleaning them.
The haziness is typically caused by using a glass cleaner which contains ammonia or alcohol. Either one of these will dry out the natural oils in the plastic. Household cleaners are also a no-no since they often contain silicone or petroleum products.
If you don’t want to purchase a cleaning product you are safe with mild dishwashing detergent, warm water, and a terry cloth towel (do not use paper towels). There are advantages though to using a product specifically made for this purpose, as they often provide additional benefits and protection.
Before we get into the cleaners though let’s talk a little about the proper cleaning technique and what causes those scratches. Off-roading will cover both the inside and outside of your windows with a fine grit. Even using a microfiber cloth and a high-quality cleaner you risk rubbing that grit across the plastic and causing scratches.
If I have heavy grit, usually because I haven’t cleaned my windows in a while, I remove them and hose the plastic down with water before using a cleaner. For milder situations, I hose down the outside of the windows and blow-off the inside with a compressor.
Even after doing this you still want to apply minimal pressure when cleaning or you risk scratching the plastic. While a terry cloth towel is fine, a microfiber cloth is much better. The fibers generate a static electric charge when moved across a surface that attracts dust and contains it, rather than spreading it around and doing damage.
Note: You can clean microfiber in your washer but do use either low or no height in the dryer. And do not use fabric softener or you risk losing the static action of the cloth.
While it seems contradictory, you should not wipe in a circular pattern since this goes against the natural grain of the Jeep’s windows and can cause scratches. Wipe the windows back and forth from right to left (or left to right, if you’re left-handed).
Also, you should always clean the windows in the shade.
Here are a few products that will safely clean your Jeep’s plastic windows. The first two are not necessarily the best, but some people prefer to use OEM cleaners so I’ve provided information on them
Mopar Soft Glass Window Cleaner (Amazon)
Will remove fine scratches and clean plastic windows. Not sure why it has glass in the name. Other than it’s Mopar.
Bestop Vinyl Cleaner (Amazon)
Same as above plus a UV protectant. Bestop at least gets the name correct.
This is by far my favorite plastic window cleaner. It was developed for use in the aviation industry and is recognized as one of the most effective plastic cleaners, protectants, and polishers on the market.
- Removes fine scratches.
- Seals the pores in plastic surfaces with a layer of protective wax.
- Makes the plastic resistant to dirt, oil, and scratches.
- Its anti-static properties repel dust and lint.
- It provides UV protection.