How to Clean Smoke Residue off Car Windshields

by Contributor

If you are a smoker and you have a habit of smoking in your car (particularly with the windows up), then you have probably noticed a smoke residue built up on the interior windshields of your car. If you drive the same car every day, it may not be immediately apparent. Once you sit in a non-smoker's car, however, you can easily tell the difference. A hazy windshield not only detracts from the clean look of your car, it also poses a safety hazard, particularly when driving in inclement weather or at night. Here are some ways you can clean smoke residue off your car's windshields.

Step 1

Approach the interior front windshield from the passenger's seat to avoid obstruction from the steering wheel.

Step 2

Begin trying to remove the smoke residue using a household glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Microfiber leaves behind less lint than other cloths.

Step 3

Try a vinegar and water solution if the household cleaner doesn't take the smoke residue off. Many people advocate applying it with a black-and-white newspaper. The newspaper ink acts like a glass polisher and no lint is left behind on the windshield.

Step 4

Give rubbing alcohol or chrome polish a try if the traditional glass cleaners don't work.

Step 5

Take your car for a professional detailing if you can't resolve the problem. Talk to the detailers about your smoke residue issue beforehand.

Help prevent the problem by avoiding smoking with the windows up or only cracked slightly. If possible, avoid smoking in the car altogether.


  • Don't forget to clean the other windows in your car as well. The side window, rear windshield and even the sunroof can be clouded by smoke residue.
  • Almost any glass cleaning solution can be applied with newspaper with the same effects.
  • The more smoke residue you allow to build up on the inside of your windshields, the harder it will be to remove. Once you clean off your windshields sufficiently, keep up a regular weekly cleaning to prevent a thick residue from forming again with continued smoking.


  • Avoid using ammonia or ammonia-based glass cleaners on any windows that have tint in them. This can discolor the tint or remove it.
  • If you use any cleaning products with ammonia or other caustic agents in them, allow the car to air out after cleaning the windshield before spending time in the car to avoid breathing in the fumes.

Items you will need

  • Vinegar
  • Household glass cleaner
  • Newspaper
  • Microfiber cloth

More Articles