Does the interior of your windshield always look foggy no matter how many times you clean it?


Or maybe you’re dealing with some stuck-on grime that refuses to come off your windows no matter what kind of cleaning solution you try?


If so, you may have heard or read that you can use steel wool to clean auto glass. But should you really try to clean your vehicle windows with something that abrasive?


Read on to learn whether it’s a good idea to clean auto glass with steel wool.


Can You Use Steel Wool to Clean Auto Glass?

Technically, yes. You can clean auto glass with steel wool (or with any number of other cleaning solutions and/or materials for that matter).


But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should.


As you likely know, steel wool is highly abrasive. And that’s precisely why it’s capable of eliminating any tough-to-remove grime from your auto glass.


But because steel wool is so abrasive, it can also damage your auto glass, and that’s likely something you’re looking to avoid.


Isn’t Glass Tougher Than Steel Wool?

Technically, yes. According to the Mohs Hardness Scale — which measures the hardness of various objects — glass measures 5.5, while steel wool measures lower at 4 to 4.5.


So in theory, steel wool won’t scratch glass because glass is slightly harder than a steel scouring pad. In practice, however, you’ll find that isn’t true.


Just like sand can etch tiny scratches in a windshield over time (this is called sandblasting) because it’s abrasive, steel wool can do the same thing. But with steel wool, you can scratch your auto glass in a single cleaning session because you’ll apply force to scrub and get the job done.


Unfortunately, if you end up with a bunch of tiny scratches in your auto glass, they can’t be repaired. Worse, they can refract light and cause glare, which may interfere with your ability to see your surroundings on the road.


To continue driving safely (and to maintain your vehicle’s value), you’ll need a windshield replacement, which insurance may not cover because you caused the damage out of negligence. 


How Should You Clean Your Auto Glass?

The safest way to clean your auto glass is to start with the least aggressive option, which certainly isn’t steel wool or anything abrasive. If that doesn’t eliminate the stubborn grime you’re dealing with, only then should you try something more advanced.


Here’s what you can use to clean your auto glass without scratching it:


●        A quality automotive glass cleaner and a microfiber cloth

●        Rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth

●        White vinegar mixed with water and a microfiber cloth


If there’s still grime on your auto glass after you clean it with any of the above safe cleaning methods, you can apply a polishing compound formulated for use on auto glass. These products contain gentle abrasives that can successfully remove stubborn gunk but that aren’t hard enough to scratch the glass.


Check out Cleaning Your Auto Glass: 3 Costly Mistakes to Avoid for more helpful info.


Get a Free Auto Glass Repair Estimate in the Twin Cities

When you need quality auto glass repairs from technicians you can trust, look no further than our team at Only 1 Auto Glass! We operate multiple auto glass repair shops throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro and offer mobile service to make auto glass repairs as convenient as possible.


We’ve proudly served thousands of Twin Cities vehicle owners since 2008 and hold accreditation and a long-standing A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. To schedule service or get a free auto glass repair or replacement estimate, call us at 651-789-1111 or request a free estimate online, and we’ll get in touch!