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How to Clean Your Windshield With Steel Wool

How to Clean Your Windshield With Steel Wool

There’s a rumor going around that cleaning your windshield with steel wool can provide you with professional-looking results.

The Internet is full of life hacks that can save you time and money. However, some of them are just complete nonsense and cause issues or damage for you.

So we researched to find out if steel wool really is a viable way to clean your windshield.

Let’s take a look!

Can You Clean Your Windshield With Steel Wool?

Cleaning your windshield with steel wool sounds like a bad idea, but it’s not as crazy as you’d think. Using the Mohs Hardness Scale, we can compare the hardness of glass and steel wool.

Glass has a hardness rating of 5.5, while steel has a lower rating of 4 to 4.5. This would tell us that there’s a very low risk of steel scratching glass.

While the damage risk is low, it’s a good idea to start with the least aggressive option.

We recommend using a high-quality glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth. If that doesn’t do the job, you can work your way up using more aggressive approaches to scrubbing your windshield.

Try at your own risk!

What You Need to Clean Your Windshield With Steel Wool

If you want to get the bugs and other gunk off of your windshield, you can give steel wool a shot. To clean your windshield with steel wool there’s a couple of things you’ll need to have on hand.

First, you’ll need super fine “0000” steel wool. This type of steel wool is typically used to refinish furniture.

You’ll also want to have your favorite glass cleaner on hand. Some of the best auto glass cleaners also contain rain repellent and make a significant difference in the rain.

How to Clean Your Windshield With Steel Wool

You’ll first want to park your rig in a shaded spot. This is the best place for you to see your windshield and avoid streaking from your cleaner drying too fast.

With your vehicle parked in the shade, use the super fine steel wool to scrub away the bugs, pine tar, and other road gunk from your windshield.

If you’re worried about scratches, use an inconspicuous area as a test area. Once you’ve scrubbed off the gunk, spray your favorite cleanser on the windshield. Then, wipe it off with paper towels, newspapers, or a clean rag.

If you used a glass cleaner with rain resistance, you could test it out by spraying your windshield with water. You’ll see the water instantly bead as soon as you stop spraying it. This is how you know your windshield is ready for the next rainstorm.

Close up of steel wool on a white background

What Kind of Vehicles Can You Clean This Way?

You can use this method on any vehicle windshield. This includes passenger vehicles and RVs. Having a clean windshield is very important to keeping you and your passengers safe while on the road.

It’s crucial that you only attempt this on glass windshields. Any vehicle with plastic or non-glass windshield would be more susceptible to scratching.

When in doubt, consult your dealer or an auto glass shop to confirm you aren’t going to ruin your windshield.

Are There Any Risks to Cleaning a Windshield With Steel Wool?

Some people refuse to try this method in fear that it might scratch their windshield. If not done correctly, you could very well damage your windshield. If you were to scratch your windshield, there’s no repairing it. You’ll need to replace it.

This is why it’s important to ensure you have the correct type of steel wool and do a test spot on your windshield. This can help you avoid ruining your windshield and needing to replace it.

Is Using Steel Wool a Smart Plan?

If done correctly, this method can be a great way to keep your windshield clean. If done incorrectly, it’s a great way to meet your local auto glass sales department.

You should only use new steel wool to avoid any issues with contaminants. A spotless window can help you enjoy the landscapes as you travel on your epic adventures. What tips do you have for keeping your windshield squeaky clean? 

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Judy Powell

Sunday 16th of January 2022

A used dryer sheet and water works wonders on glass and bugs. No glass cleaner needed. Amazing results. No scratches.

Christopher Lewis

Sunday 16th of January 2022

Worked in custom collision body shop in the 90s. Used this method to remove any accidental paint or primer over spray.


Thursday 13th of January 2022

The greatest thing I have found to wash a car and glass with is a scrub daddy scrubber. Its the best thing since sliced bread for washing a vehicle.


Wednesday 12th of January 2022

Steel wool makes a mess. Small shreds of steel get everywhere, In your vents speakers and every crevice. Newer cars may have coatings on the glass that will be ruined. It works in a desperate situation but should be avoided in most cases.


Monday 10th of January 2022

I just finished using 0000 steel wool on my 2018 Crosstrek to rid the windows of stubborn water spots . I'm very happy with the results. ,4000 will not scratch your glass.

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