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How to Clean Windshield Wipers in 5 Easy Steps

close up windshield wipers

There’s nothing worse than when it starts to rain or snow and you don’t have windshield wipers working properly. If you turn your wipers on and you’re left with streaks or weird patterns, there are two possibilities.

First, the wiper is cracked or worn out and needs to be replaced. But if not, it may just need a good cleaning. Below we detail five easy steps to clean your windshield wipers, and we’ll also drop a few maintenance hacks for you.

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How to Clean Windshield Wipers (5 Steps)

The nice thing about cleaning windshield wipers is that it takes no special knowledge, and simple materials that you probably have lying around the house already.

1. Prop Windshield Arm Up

woman propping windshield wiper up
Image Credit: Dmitriy Os Ivanov, Shutterstock

The first step to cleaning your windshield wipers is to get them off your windshield. Most arms have a hinge that allows them to stand straight up. Sometimes it’s easier to turn the car on for a second and change the position of the wipers.

If you turn the vehicle off while they are up, that’s where they will stay. This can make them more convenient to work with.


2. Wet Rag With Cleaning Agent

man cleaning windshield wiper with microfiber cloth
Image Credit: admin_design, Shutterstock

There’s nothing specific you need to use to clean the wipers. Depending on their condition, it might be best to start with soap and water to get most of the dirt and grime off. Then follow up with rubbing alcohol, vinegar, or a window cleaner. If they aren’t really dirty, you could skip the soapy water.

Any clean rag will do, but if you use a light-colored one, you’ll be able to see the dirt you’re getting off so that you know the wiper is clean.


3. Clean Entire Length of Blade

close up hands holding windshield wiper
Image Credit: Dmitriy Os Ivanov, Shutterstock

By rubbing back and forth, work your way across the length of the blade. If you’re using a light rag, you’ll be able to see the marks as you clean. In most cases, you’ll want to keep going over the whole blade until your rag comes off relatively clean.


4. Wash Hinge

man holding windshield wipers
Image Credit: admin_design, Shutterstock

Dirt and debris can build up in the arm’s hinge, where it attaches to the blade. So, while you’re in there cleaning, it only takes a moment to remove the blade from the arm. Once you do that, clean the hinge mechanism thoroughly with soapy water.

This ensures that the pivot in the hinge stays free, and your windshield wiper will potentially last longer because of it.


5. Wash the Windshield

smiling woman cleaning windshield
Image Credit: kryzhov, Shutterstock

One of the primary reasons windshield wipers get dirty and wear out is from the dirt and grime they collect off the windshield. Now that you’ve cleaned your wipers give them a fresh start by cleaning the windshield with a clean, soft rag and that same window cleaner you used on wipers.

While you’re washing your windshield, a great finishing touch is to apply a water repellant. This causes the water to bead up on the surface of the windshield. This way, the water collects less dirt. Your wipers will last longer, and you’ll be able to see better in the rain.

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Maintaining Windshield Wipers

You can only do so much cleaning for a windshield wiper before they’re toast. If you notice the blade cracking or hanging from the frame when you clean it, it needs to be replaced. Although, if it doesn’t need replacing yet, you can certainly do some things to help maximize the wiper’s lifespan.

Maintenance Hacks

  • Avoid letting your vehicle sit in the sun as much as possible because the UV rays break down the wiper blade material.
  • Keep your windshield clean of debris, ice, and snow.
  • Replace wipers as needed—this will vary wildly depending on where you live and what kind of use they get.
  • Apply a water repellant to the glass. This helps prolong the wiper blade’s life.

car and road divider

Closing Thoughts

Unlike many things car-related, cleaning your windshield wipers is a pretty easy and inexpensive part of maintenance. Regular cleaning can help prolong the life of your wiper, and it also gives you a chance to inspect the blade closely to determine if it needs to be replaced.


Featured Image Credit: Dibjo, Pixabay

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