Maintaining Car Window Tint FAQ
Alongside the other challenges of owning a vehicle, adding window tinting creates a further responsibility. There’s a lot to consider, but you can start by finding professional installers like Perfect Reflections Window Tint and asking them for advice on maintaining car window tinting.
Our 5 Most-Heard FAQs On Window Tint Care
1) How Long Will My Window Tint Take To Set?
Most window tint films are installed with an adhesive, meaning they might need a week or more until the glue sets and cures into place. In some areas and climates, the adhesive can require up to a month. Whoever installed the tinting should give you a more exact estimate. During that time, also avoid touching the window tinting.
If you clean or roll down the tinted windows before fully set, the adhesive might end up weaker or take longer to set, along with other potential damage. If water gets on the tinting – or between the tinting and the glass – then the moisture may get stuck there permanently, which creates something like a hazy layer or other imperfections such as bubbles.
2) How Should I Clean My Tinted Windows So They Stay Clear?
Dirt and oils can make seeing out of windows more difficult, so you will need to eventually clean your tinted windows – yet moisture can end up trapped beneath the tinting or peeling away at the edges. This is why the process for cleaning tinted windows is both a bit more complex than other windows and also far more important.
a) Where and When you should clean Tinted Windows
Clean your tinted windows roughly once every week or two. Wash other sections of the vehicle first, so that dust from other areas won’t drift to the window tinting. Before cleaning, bring your vehicle into a dark area away from the sun, because that sunlight might make the cleaning solution partially evaporate before you can wipe it off and leave behind streaks which tend to show up more on tinted windows. Only clean after checking for damage to the window tint so you can avoid any such area.
b) Safe products and solutions to use on Tinted Windows
Any cleaning solutions with hard water, ammonia or other abrasive chemicals will likely change the color of your window tinting or dig into the film, and cause even more damage. For this reason, you should use cleaning solutions specifically formulated for tinted windows, yet you don’t need to buy anything expensive. Simply mix together warm water and any mild ammonia-free soap, such as a drop of dish soap. Another good mix is enough distilled water to fill a bottle, then three to five drops of baby soap and two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, swirled together. Using rubbing alcohol is best at removing grease and oil, as well as disinfecting the window tint surface. Or try equal portions warm water and white vinegar, which is best at removing smells and smudges. Additional information.
c) The best cleaning tools for Tinted Windows
Always use clean microfiber cloths, with two or more so that you can use a fresh one to dry the surfaces off. Another good tool is a clean and soft rubber squeegee, or a Mr. Clean sponge with a little water. Never use rough cloths and kitchen towels, as these can make the window tinting start to peel or leave behind scratches and streaks of fiber.
d) How to safely clean your tinted windows
With cleaning solution and tools in hand, fill a fresh spray bottle and dust the surface you want to clean, then gently wipe away the moisture with a microfiber cloth. Occasionally spin or turn over the cloth to use every section. If this wiping starts to leave streaks, change out the cloth for another. When using the squeegee, spray again and slide either from top to bottom or horizontally until the surface is dry. Avoid getting a lot of your cleaning solution on the window tint edges and always completely dry the window with a second microfiber cloth after cleaning. Also avoid pulling at the edges of your window tint, which could cause the film to begin peeling away. To check for any moisture or material left on the window tint, walk around the outside of your vehicle, or drive your vehicle back under full sunlight and look out from the inside.
3) What Are The Best Ways to Maintain My Tinted Windows?
Keeping your tinted windows in the best possible condition is a sound investment in helping them last for years. Along with the considerations for cleaning them, there are many useful tips to consider in terms of maintenance.
First, clean the outside of your vehicle as usual, since window tinting should only be on the interior surfaces. Take care and use a cover when cleaving a vehicle with tinted windows under trees, since otherwise falling pollen and sap will force you to clean the windows more often.
On the inside, use your microfiber cloths from cleaning when you need to remove dust from window tint. Roughly twice a year, wax your car windows to prevent dirt from sticking to them. Avoid steam cleaning your vehicle when you have window tinting, or at least roll down the windows if you do, because the steam can really hurt the window tinting. To remove the sticky residue left behind if tape or glue is applied to your window tint, apply a little acetone to a microfiber cloth and wipe clean. Another great article.
4) What Should I Do If The Window Tint Forms Bubbles?
Some products for cleaning window tinting will start a process of bubbling and peeling if you fully soak the edges, so avoid that vulnerable area. Additionally, washing your car too soon after installation or rolling the windows down when the tint still needs time to set may cause bubbling. Whoever installs the tinting should give you exact instructions, but generally you should wait at least one week.
When you spot a small bubble starting to form, try wrapping a microfiber cloth around any small plastic card. A razor blade or anything too sharp would cut and damage your window tinting, so avoid them. Use the soft scraper to slide against the bubble from one direction, moving the bubble towards the closest edge of your window tint cover. This should be done gently so that no harm comes to the tinting in the center of your window. Then lance the bubble at the edge with the sharpest thin needle you have and let the air inside escape. The bubble should almost vanish from sight over time.
If one bubble grows too large or many bubbles start to form, you might need to return to the window tint installer for help. Once any bubble grows large enough to crack open, the only thing left to do will be to replace the tinting. An open bubble will cause the film to start peeling away.
5) Will My Window Tint Fade Over Time?
Window tinting can fade or get scratched if owners don’t use safe care products (see FAQ 2 above) or if the window tint is improperly installed. You can further prevent tint from fading by parking your vehicle in naturally dark areas such as indoors or under dense shade, keeping away from unnecessary exposure to the sun. With these steps, the product should last for many years while remaining effective at filtering out the majority of UV rays. How long exactly depends mostly on window tint quality.
Summary of Do’s and Don’ts For Window Tint Care
- check for damage, bubbles and other imperfections that might grow over time
- use cleaning solutions specifically formulated for window tinting
- use two soft and clean microfiber cloths and / or a soft and clean rubber squeegee
- clean the outside of your vehicle as usual, since window tinting should only be on the interior surfaces
- make sure your window tinting installer tells you when the adhesive will be set and what cleaning products they recommend
- don’t clean or roll down your windows for a week or more after installing the tinting
- don’t use cleaning products with ammonia on tinted windows, because these harsher chemicals can hurt the window tint, make it brittle or change its color
- don’t clean with scouring pads, paper towels or newspaper
- don’t use sharp scrapers or razor blades on your window tint
- don’t leave any moisture or residue on window tinting after cleaning
Window tinting is certainly more complex than normal windows, from needing time for the adhesive to set and requiring special cleaning considerations, to maintenance issues like parking in the best places or handling bubbles and fading.
Yet the costs of window tinting are often outweighed by the many benefits, starting with protecting the occupants and interior from almost all of the harmful ultraviolet rays in sunlight. These UV rays damage your skin in the same way as a sunburn while causing the upholstery to fade. Window tinting also gives you more privacy and looks great, and some window tinting will block heat energy, keeping your vehicle more comfortable in summer. To learn more about all of these advantages, click here.