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What Causes Windshield Haze and How to Remove It!

Have a thin coat of haze or film on your windshield? This can be dangerous, especially at night and or when it is raining. In this blog, I’ll share a few common reasons for why this happens, and how to remove it using a few products you may already have at home.

Once you have your windshield crystal clear, I’ll share a few tips I have found to be helpful for me in keeping your windshield crystal clear.

So what causes windshield haze?

Believe it or not, that film on your windshield may not be what you think. While there are several common causes to haze forming on your windshield, both on the inside or outside of the windshield surface, some actually surprised me.  Here are a few common reasons:

Offgas from vinyl or plastic

offgas haze on windshield

Vinyl and other plastics, when heated can vaporize and eventually settle on the surface of your windshield, causing a smoky film from the inside. I’ve experienced this in my truck, and is a phenomenon I was honestly not aware of until recently.

This is usually more of a problem for new cars, but some say it may be a problem for up to 150k miles.

I began to notice after cleaning the outside of the windshield, there still appeared to be a haze on the inside. This seemed odd to me since I keep the inside pretty clean, and assumed it was overspray from using vinyl cleaners on the dash. When the haze continued to form, I later realized that offgas was the root of the problem.

Other possible causes in addition to a vinyl dash are vinyl seats or seat covers. You’re more likely to start noticing offgas haze during the summer, especially if you park outside in the sun.


Smoking may also be the culprit, and can actually be quite difficult to get off. It’s especially important to remove carcinogens, as they can be more difficult to remove over time.

Engine or heater coolant

It’s not unheard of for a leak in your engine or heater coolant to produce a green or colored haze on your windshield that enters your vehicle usually through the front vents. This is usually characterized by a strong smell and can leave a greenish or colored tint to the inside of your windshield.

You always want to address any leaks as soon as possible to avoid breathing in any dangerous chemicals.

Hard water, acid rain, dirt, or other substances on the outside

If your hazing is not caused by any offgas, but seems to only be a problem on the outside of your car’s vehicle, this can be  caused by a variety of substances like:

  • Acid rain
  • Tree sap or pollen
  • Hard water

This is probably the most common exterior haze that forms, and should be easiest to remove.

If you regularly deal with hard water spots, I outline how to remove and prevent them in this blog post.

5 products to remove haze from your windshield

Products to Remove Windshield Haze

There are several products you can use to remove windshield haze, that you can either make yourself or buy in stores. Depending on the type of haze, you may need to apply a little more pressure than you normally would when cleaning the outside of the windshield.

1. White vinegar and water [General multipurpose]

If you want a home remedy, mix white vinegar and water at a 10% vinegar-to-water ratio. You may want to up the percentage depending on how severe your haze is.

2. Ammonia-free Glass Cleaner Spray [General Multipurpose]

Armor All makes a pretty good glass cleaner that you can use to treat your windshield that is ammonia-free you can pick up on Amazon for about 7 bucks. It does the trick, it’s super affordable, and you can find it anywhere.

Glass Cleaner Spray

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Keep in mind, this is different from Armor All protectant, which you should never apply to windshields (since it can haze).

3. Invisible Glass or another aerosol glass cleaner [For Maximum Clarity]

This is one of the best products for making your windshield as clear as possible once cleaning has occurred. It’s the only glass cleaner I normally use.

Invisible Glass Aerosol Spray

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Invisible Glass cleaner aerosol

It’s a staple in the detailing community and the best I’ve ever used.

4. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser [For Removing Stuck on Substances]

When dipped in water, a Magic Eraser actually removes stuck-on substances like adhesives quite well; even though slightly abrasive, you don’t have to worry about scratching glass.

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

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For extreme cases where you have thick, visible film (especially in the interior), give it a try.

5. Rubbing alcohol  [For Hard to Remove Substances]

For smoke residue and other stuck-on substances, rubbing alcohol is a great option to try when traditional glass cleaners aren’t working.

Rubbing alcohol I would dilute about 5 to 1 to start; the alcohol will strip off basically any layer of grease, smoke, and other contaminants.

Tips when cleaning

  • Use microfiber towels if you have them in order to prevent streaking…glass microfiber towels especially. Microfiber towels won’t leave behind particles as paper or terry cotton towels will.
  • Avoid ammonia-based cleaners on tint. They can discolor tint, as well as cause it to peel and crack.

How to prevent windshield haze


  • One product that I like to use to prevent exterior windshield haze is Rain-X. It comes in a few different varieties, I prefer the liquid.  Not only does it help prevent water from drying and possibly forming a film, but it also repels other substances (like pollen) from sticking.
  • A haze will form when applying Rain-X which is normal. Once dry, simply buff with a microfiber towel to remove excess haze. Be sure to read the application instructions for best results and do not apply to the interior surface!


  • A good windshield sunshade is a great product to limit the risk of offgas if you park outside; plus it will help prevent fading over time. While haze may seem harmless, it can obstruct your view of the road (especially at night, or in the fog and rain). The best thing to do is to keep your windshield clean and protected at all times.

Ready to wash and detail like a pro?

Now that you know how to remove haze, why stop there? Getting great results inside and out isn’t difficult..but you do need to know some basic fundamentals. That’s why we created the Washing and Detailing for Beginners video course.

Ready to improve your washing and detailing skills?

This video course unpacks the fundamentals of washing and detailing. From exterior cleaning and blemish removal…you’ll learn the secrets that will give you spotless pro-level results!

Have any other ideas or suggestions that have worked for you on windshield haze? Let us know in the comments.

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