Tips on cleaning a Tesla Model S

By Steve Kirsch, updated 4/11/15

This page contains way too much info! When I have some time, I'll prune it down. I've moved the most important things to the front.

XPEL and 22PLE
The very first thing I do when I buy a new Tesla is to have it XPELed and coated with 22PLE. These are the two coolest products that few people know about. The work was done by Greg Simms in San Jose 1-408-691-6791 who is superb (and he's booked out >5 weeks in advance)  You can't do any better than that. It costs $7,000 to do your entire car, but no worries about spiderwebs, scratches, dents, keying the car, bird droppings, paint fading/peeling, headlights yellowing. I can simply wipe the dirt off the car (which I do with a light touch and a clean mf towel) and no have to worry about scratches because XPEL can't be scratched. 22PLE is safe for anything except glass. Bird crap can sit on the XPEL surface for days and not discolor it (there may be some very minor etching though after 2 days, but it will be hard to see unless you know where it was).

You paint will stay in perfect condition for the life of the car if you do this one thing.

If you don't cover your car with XPEL
If you didn't cover your car with XPEL, you need to remove the bugs, bird droppings, etc. ASAP, especially if your car is exposed to sunlight and gets hot. Spay on the quick detailer, let it soak, and wipe with a microfiber towel

Bird bombs in high heat (summer day) can eat through sealants and into regular clear coat within a matter of just 15 minutes if it is in the hot sun (that is the difference between a permanent and temporary stain). A friend with an expensive car saw a bird dropping on his car, it sat for just 15 minutes, but it could not be removed from the paint! This is why paint protection films (PPF's) are really great. However, the PPF can be etched as well, but I've never seen that happen. You can coat your XPEL with 22PLE or something equivalent but I think that it is overkill.

Best way to get rid of bugs etc. safely is take a MF towel, soak it in lukewarm water, place it over the insect for 5 minutes to loosen it. Then you should be able to wipe it away using a shampoo or quick detailer.

The second most important thing to remember
Close the frunk with two hands at a bit more than shoulder width apart. If you close by pushing down above the latch, even just a few times, you'll get a "bump" on the lid that will be really hard to get out.

Washing your car in <5 minutes
Here's the secret from a professional detailer.

Use the duster every day. It takes a minute to do the entire car. Use the quick detailer once a week. If you have XPEL/22PLE on your car, you will not scratch anything even if the car is pretty dirty.

  • Use a California Duster to remove the dirt. Use a microfiber duster to remove the dirt from the glass (the Calif duster has a wax coating on the fibers so it's not good for glass)
  • Then use microfiber with Quick Detailer sprayed on it. I use Garry Dean's Infinite Use Detail Juice.

This technique works as long as the dirt isn't stuck on, i.e. the car has spent multiple times outside overnight where the dew can collect and then dry which turns the dust on the car to more of a mud (or the car has been driven in the rain).

Cleaning windows
Forget the fancy cleaners. They always leave a residue you can see. I use a sponge with a very small amount dish detergent. You use this to clean the dirt off the glass. You can then just wipe dry with a paper towel or newspaper.

For extra cleanliness (so that even when inspected in bright sunlight at various angles it is transparent), spray with distilled water and wipe dry using squeegee, newspaper, or a waffle weave microfiber towel (or use a blower which is best of all).

If the glass is perfectly clean, water should sheet on it (hydrophilic). To get that level of cleanliness, I use a mild car polish on the glass. The polish won't scratch the glass but it will get rid of any crap on the glass and your glass will turn hydrophilic. The downside is hydrophilic glass attracts more dirt. So it's super-clean, but not for long. So you can put CRL TPC Surface Protectant on it to seal it and cause it to become hydrophobic.

NOTE: Do not use any hydrophobic products on your front windshield or your wipers will studder.

And if you have water spots on shower doors, try CRL Bio-clean (check out the amazing reviews at Amazon).

Treating the leather
Spray a microfiber towel with distilled water. Wipe on the leather. My detailer friend says that quick detailer work great for surfaces inside the car.

Parking sensors
On my original Model S that didn't come with parking sensors, I had mine put in by Sound Innovations. He uses Cobra parking sensors. Highly recommended. Get the lights option: you will not regret it. Call (510) 471-9062 and tell Ernie I sent you. The single best investment you can make in your Tesla.

Wiper blades
Open the frunk. You press on the button to slide them out. Then lift (and tilt) the part you just slid, and it will slide all the way off.

Clean with what you clean your windows with (e.g., invisible glass works just fine) or 303 wiper treatment. I think any rubber or leather conditioner would also work (since all leather conditioners work on rubber even though they don't say that but not vice versa so a rubber product may not work on leather). You will be astounded as to how dirty these get. I cleaned mine with a paper towel sprayed with Invisible Glass and had to run it through about 6 times until the towel came out clean!

If you want to keep your windshield from getting permanent scratch marks, I highly recommend cleaning your wiper blades every time you wash the car.


My Tesla feature wish list
Wipers are ridiculously hard to access for cleaning. How about a mode that puts the wipers into the "up" position to allow them to be easily cleaned? Dirty wipers scratch the glass. This should be easy to do.

A way to turn off the display for 60 seconds so you can clean the display without doing random things when you wipe with a microfiber.

An email address where you can email questions about the car or gripes. I can't believe you don't have this. Invaluable source of customer information.

They need to pick up the phone when you call Menlo Park. Everyone complains about this.

Front and back parking sensors each with 180 degrees of coverage: so two more than most manufacturers put in (i.e., add two more in front and back on the sides). This gives you side impact coverage in front and rear. Also, I think they should be placed low enough to detect you are hitting a bumper that is slightly higher than the car's clearance. I consider it a miracle I haven't dented the front of the car.

A front camera. Oh that would be SO awesome. Lines like on the backup camera would be a plus. I hate the lack of visibility in front.

"Guide Lines" on the screen like the Leaf has when you back up so you can see where you are going. Show the distance too. That would be cool.

A rear camera that is in the middle of the car instead of offset. Many people think it is centered and it isn't. This leads to goofs.

Fix the bluetooth sync memory so you can have 10,000 contacts and still sync.

Fit and finish adjustments. My hood doesn't align right and the guys at Fremont couldn't fix it. Also the left front panel juts out. That just shouldn't happen for a car this expensive.

An option to get XPEL over the entire car (I think this might be pretty popular if you explain why).

I wonder if people will pay for thicker paint then wet sanding the paint. Teslas like most cars, have orange peel on their factory paint. Only high end cars will be wet sanded to achieve a mirror finish on the paint. Not sure how many people would opt for this, but it would be cool. A lot of Tesla buyers aren't price sensitive.

Optional factory Vindico glass treatment (like RainX only lasts a year). I bet almost everyone would opt in for this. Coating lasts a year and water runs right off. Can be renewed at the annual service.

An organizer for the section in the front between the seats so you can store stuff without the ugliness of it being in plain sight.

Sleep mode so car isn't using 200 watts continuously.

Safe driving distance and collision preventer. Wouldn't it be cool if the car can't let you damage it at either low or high speeds. So at highway speeds it won't let you get closer than a car length. A parking speeds, it will cut down your speed if you get within a foot of something you are about to hit.

Coolest tools
I ended up being thrilled with my Bucket Head vacuum/blower purchase (plus accessories). This is super light to carry around (this is the biggest point because dragging a vacuum is always awkward), big capacity, and if you want wheels on your bucket, you can optionally add them in an instant using the bucket casters (5 wheel car wash dolly) at autogeek. There is nothing that can match this combination. It is made by Emerson Tool Company (which makes RIGID tools) for Home Depot. Best $20 you'll ever spend. I got a bunch of attachments for it too, but it also can use my Dyson attachments.

Seeing imperfections
The trick is to view at 45 degrees from normal and rotate an LED flashlight (with lots of LEDs) around the 45 degree cone in a dark room. As you sweep through all the angles you'll see all the imperfections of a surface if there are any such as dried gunk on the surface and/or scratches. Window glass and black plastic parts are the easiest to see. For an inspection light, what you want to get is high Lux (e.g., 1200 lux @ .5M or better for a 15 LED flashlight) which is a measure of how much you can concentrate the light.

Fluorescent lamps are ruthless, revealing flaws and swirls that will not show under normal sunlight so this is the light you want.

Polish grit
Mr. Clean magic eraser bars are equivalent polish grit of 3600. If it dulls the paint (since it is so coarse), you can use something finer like M105 (which can get out marks from #1200 sanding marks) and finish with M205. Car polishes have "diminishing abrasive" so they get finer as you use it. As far as polishing pads, yellow (severe), orange (moderate), white (final polish) and then use a red pad for wax or glaze (no cut).

In general, if you use wet sandpaper to sand the paint, you never want to go any less fine than 2000 grit or you will very quickly burn through your paint.

Paint cleaner (such as Pinnacle Paint Cleaner (Pinnacle Paintwork Cleansing Lotion) is even less abrasive than M205. Because it is softer than paint, it won't abrade the paint so if you have water spots that you can't get out, this is the second thing to try (your quick detailer is the first thing) because it can remove the water spots without messing with your paint.

SMAT = Super Microscopic Abrasive Technology
DAT = Diminishing Abrasive Technology

Also, many Optimum polishes use SMAT. Note one isn't necessarily better than the other, just options.

From my article list under

Compounds - Polishes - Paint Cleaners - Cleaner/Polishes - Pure Polishes - Glazes

The SMAT Pack - Everything you ever wanted to know about Meguiar's SMAT products...

The Aggressiveness Order of SMAT Products - This might surprise you!

A guy who does Ferraris swears by Blue Coral Revive It DB finishing polish. It is a one-step painted surface cleaner with carnauba wax. It was very effective at removing water spots from my ping pong table using a porter cable.

Wet/Dry vac
The bucket head vac at Home Depot is pretty intriguing because it is light and flexible. $22 for the unit, plus $2 for the bucket. Accessories will set you back some more money, but the 1.25" hose size is pretty standard so you can use the Rigid accessories they sell at the home depot. What's nicer is that you have a filter you slip on/off for dry vacuum... the wet filter is permanently in the unit so one less thing to worry about. 6 lbs.

Another option is Armor All AA256 which comes with lots of attachments, but you have to switch things out from dust to liquid inside (different filter). I like the range of accessories for this and it is compatible with the hose size of other vacs.

Vacmaster 5 gal.Wet/Dry Vac with Blower Function is 3HP and 223 ft³/min (which is very good), 9 lbs.

Paint cleaner
Pinnacle Paint Cleaner (Pinnacle Paintwork Cleansing Lotion) has fillers so use this to clean the paint and make swirls disappear, and then do the wax.

If you have a water spots, and a Quick Detailer won't take them out, then trying this is your next step because it isn't as abrasive as a polish. You can use with a Porter Cable. Here's a comment:

After not washing my vehicle for 4 months I had major water spots so I bought this product and a pad with slight cutting (White). It removed the water spots and made for a nice clean smooth slate to put the wax on. I used very little product, the bottle should last a long time.

Car care in general is an excellent resource. Clever marketing since they only recommend swissvax products, but the techniques and advice they give are excellent. is a fantastic video on common mistakes.

Touchless car wash
I went to in my Leaf and they did a pretty nice job. Very quick for about $14 with the coupon. The machines never touch the car, but the workers do (to loosen the dirt after they foam it and to dry the car after it is blown partially dry). Otherwise, you can't clean the car if you can't touch it. The coupon saves you about $4 (not the $10 mentioned on the website).

New way to wash your car

Garry Dean's new method to wash a car (no 2 buckets):

Do in shade or indoors ideally. Less than 10 gallons of water used.

  1. Hose down with pressure washer (Karcher)
  2. lather car up: foam cannon with "the perfect soap" (2 oz of perfect soap + 6 oz of water) by attaching the foam gun to the
  3. wait 5 min to let the foam do its work
  4. quick pressure wash down to wash of foam and the stuff the foam took off
  5. 7 big green MF towels 16x 16 600gm, thick nap on both sides and put in bucket of water . activate suds with the pressure washer.
  6. use first towel, do the top part using a different part of the MF towel each time
  7. Rinse the car
  8. dry it

How I wash

This is pretty good advice:

NO Always wash your wheels FIRST. You want to do this because of this: If you wash the car first, then take the time to really do the wheels, wheel wells and tires right, this gives the water sitting on your car ample time to start making water spots. So, you do the wheels, wells and tires first and then you do the car. This way when you finish your wash you can go straight to the drying process, not giving the water time to start spotting. As for the water blade, I have never been a fan of this device. To dry your car, first, after you wash, take the nozzle off of the hose and turn the water on at low pressure. Sheet the low pressure water across the surface and you will be surprised at how much water this sheeting removes, especially if you have a good coat of wax. After this, dry with a premium waffle weave microfiber towel followed by a pressuirzed air or leaf blower on all the nooks and crannies to get all the last bits of water out.

And, it is OK to use Dawn occasionally when you want to strip all the wax off of the car, but you should never use this on a regular basis

  1. rinse, foam, 2 bucket top to bottom going around the car in a circle, one section at a time, top to bottom. roll buckets around with you sponge for paint, mitt for wheel, brush for reaching inside.
  2. spray rinse, move in garage, blo dry, then waffle weave mf finish.
  3. on windows, can squirt distilled water, and use WW MF to dry
  4. glass master for interior front windows (but their bonnet is pretty useless for drying...drape a waffle weave MF around it for drying).
  5. put mf at end in rinse bucket, then wash bucket to clean it. then put all the used MF towels in the wash with 1/4 ounce of micro rejuvenator
  6. pour suds down sink (not storm drain)

Don't use newspaper or paper towels: they are abrasive to plastic (try it on a CD which is plastic and is generally softer than glass). Note that glass hardness varies fom 5.5 to over 7 on the Mohs scale whereas plastic is at 1 and thus very easy to scratch. MF towels won't scratch a CD. Use a clean MF towel folded into quarters and lightly draw it across your paint with no pressure, but even that can scratch. Best is to pat down if you aren't drying with a blower.

Car washing
Avoid car washes. Too many horror stories of scratches to the paint or the rims. I couldn't find a car wash on Yelp that didn't have incidents. If you don't do it yourself, look for a detailer that will come to your place and do it.

I use two-bucket system with grit guard. You rinse in the rinse bucket with grit guard before you put it back into the shampoo. Buy at I also bought this mitt: (and it is REALLY soft).

The Lowe's proline grout sponge is supposed to be the best thing ever for washing your car. $1.99. But people cut the sponge into squares, so might as well use the  Lake Country Foam Car Wash Sponge just use no pressure. Glide it over the surface. Rinse and reload often. Do a pattern like you mow the lawn.

The boar's hair brush (BHB) with a handle which makes things really fast. BHB's are reportedly gentler to your car's paint than wool and MF mitts; you don't trap any contaminants under it then take them for a ride on your paint under pressure. BHB's flick the contaminants off your paint. But you need to use the two bucket system with grit guard. Let it soak in the shampoo. And press *lightly* so you only use the tips of the bristles. But as that post shows, if you are in a hurry you may press down hard and that can cause problems. So I've avoided this.

If you don't use the bucket method, there is foam gun. autogeek has a nice foam gun. Rinse it all off so no detergent is on the vehicle. Do a section at a time to prevent detergent from drying on the vehicle. If using a pressure washer, use only detergent specifically for pressure washers and put only enough for your use, then run water through it to keep it from clogging, so you have to estimate correctly which is a pain. Do NOT wet the vehicle before you apply the foam!!! It just dilutes the foam!!! Tips here: The smaller jar is perfectly fine. The advantage of foam is it is like a pre-soak since it stays on the car. The best analogy is your dishes....if you soak them in water for 5 minutes, stuff is much easier to remove from the plates. Just like you use shaving cream on your beard. shows the steps (nice flow chart and tutorials are at the bottom). They basically say:

  1. do the tires first, then empty all your buckets
  2. rinse to remove all the loose stuff (makes sense). then start from the top half of the car, rather than doing a panel using two bucket system
  3. rinse with just normal pressure from a garden hose

Note that you will not be able to remove dirt with touchless no matter how much water pressure you use. You have to mechanically remove the road grime (just like you have to brush your teeth).

So here's what to me makes the most sense:

  1. Wash really early or really late to prevent premature drying of the detergent or rinse. Indoors is ideal.
  2. Rinse the car to knock off as much easy junk as you can so the foam is going to work on the "harder" stuff. If you use a pressure washer, be at least 3 feet from the car (if PPF).
  3. Apply foam gun from the top, then sides and wheel well. Let sit for 5 minutes. This then loosens everything (like soaking your dishes). Put 2oz and fill rest of reservoir with water. shake periodically. get the brass quick connects with the foam gun and the connector that turns off the water. At max foam setting (recommended), you'll use the entire container on a single car.
  4. Do not rinse. Leave the foam on then start washing your vehicle in the next step. It would remove some junk from the car if you rinse before 2 bucket washing, but the more suds you have the less surface tension you have and the lower the chance you have of scratching your vehicle.
  5. Shampoo: Now go in with your two-bucket system w/grit guard to mechanically loosen the dirt with the detergent in one bucket, rinse in another. Do a section at a time (top section first which is hoods and everything above). I use a blue cubed sponge. I use a mitt for the wheels since easier to get in to the crevices. I also have a special wheel brush to poke all the way into the tire. The wash bucket should be half way full and so should the rinse bucket. The wash bucket should have no dirt at all if you do it right. On the rinse, scrape the grit guard and wring it out before dumping into the detergent again. Do the tires/rims last with a SEPARATE wash cloth. Make sure the water doesn't dry on the car or it will spot up when you rinse. I use Lake Country Foam Wash Sponge as well as Supreme Micro-Chenille Wash Mitt which can get into tighter places like the wheels.
  6. Rinse: with high pressure to get the detergent off before it dries. Or Use pooling/sheeting method (low pressure water from hose done side to side to dry the car mostly. If you do this right and you have wax on the car, it should minimize the amount of time you spend drying.
  7. Finish up with the Master Blaster and MF towel after blasting (and be sure to open the car doors and trunk to dry them. Pat dry is better if you have the time. Water spots will etch into the finish. Start by blasting the crevices or you'll end up doing a lot of rework. Note: If you have filtered water (it's really cheap $100), then no worries since won't be water spots and you can just leave it in the garage to dry.  This isn't as safe as Master Blaster because you can scratch the car if you aren't careful, but if you have Xpel on your car, the squeegee is perfectly safe since the car cannot be scratched anymore because the Xpel is self healing. Most people use the blower and MF towel.
  8. This is pretty similar to the "junkman2000" video on youtube of the 2-bucket system to avoid swirls.  It's a long series but worth it. It makes total sense.

Here's a nice video of a shorter and simpler method:

  1. rinse,
  2. two bucket wash (your wash bucket never gets dirty)
  3. dry with a waffle weave MF towel.

I didn't go for the water filter or soft water. Need to be recharged too often and you still have water spots if you let it dry (they are less prominent but it doesn't make the water completely soft). So you still have to dry.

Optimum No Rinse Car Wash is excellent video for how to wash indoors (or in winter).

Car drying
Always dry the car after washing or you'll get water spots that will etch into the paint.

The less you touch the car the better. So I dry with a master blaster to get most of the water out and out of the crevices. Be sure to open all doors.

 then I finish with a waffle wave MF towel with a LIGHT touch.

Fold towel into fours (so have 8 sides).

The hose gets flexible when it heats up.

They will be coming out with a model with swivel wheels. For now, you can put on your detailing cart. There is no heater. The heat comes from the unit itself. If you plug nothing else into a 15A circuit, it shouldn't trip the breaker. Otherwise, it will trip about 15 minutes into using it if you have both motors on. So run with both motors to do a "quick" dry on the car, then use single switch.

The quicker way is a waffle weave microfiber towel such as the Viking Microfiber Waffle Weave Drying Towel - 9 Square Feet. Be sure you're using on a clean, clayed, waxed surface and it will work really well. Other options:

Cobra Microfiber waffle weave

Miracle Supra

Cleaning MF
After washing car, put mit, sponge, used MF in the rinse bucket, then put in the wash bucket and hand wash them.

Pour unused detergent down the drain.

Lint free paper towels
Scott Rags are supposed to be lint free, but they aren't. They are "relatively" lint free. Most people recommend the blue shop towels. surgical Huck towels work great.Use dedicated Lint-Free Surgical Towels (Huck towels). You can get a dozen for 8.99 on amazon.

Newspaper is lint free. are supposed to be lint free.

Cleaning glass / car windows

Here's the easiest technique:

  1. wash your car with car detergent
  2. Rinse
  3. Blow dry or use a waffle weave (I like the blue Viking waffle weave towels)
  4. apply Garry Dean's Infinite Use Detail Juice
  5. Use a dry waffle weave (I love the white Cobra waffle weave window towels from autogeek)

This other stuff is now obsolete....

There are three steps to getting perfect glass:

  1. Use a glass cleaner (almost anything works... SprayWay, Invisible Glass, detergent and water, etc) and wipe off with a clean paper towel, newspaper, or clean microfiber towel.
  2. Now get rid of the residue from the glass cleaner off by spraying with distilled water and wiping with a clean waffle weave microfiber towel or squeegee or newspaper (which is essentially a lint free towel) or use a blower
  3. This step, which I admit sounds redundant, is the single most important step to getting your windows super clean so there is no haze, etc. Now that everything is perfectly dry, use a dry clean waffle weave microfiber towel and go over it again. So clean dry towel on perfectly dry surface. Dry on dry. This removes any residual smudges smears, haze on the inside windows, etc.

This is all you need to know, but here are some other notes.
An ounce of prevention is worth everything. Rear view and side view mirrors are VERY sensitive. Best to keep clean in the first place and apply vindico or rainX to keep spotting from happening.

Here's the trick to cleaning glass so it is completely spotless

  1. Ppraying with water, agitate with wet sponge or MF, and dry with a sqeegee
  2. Test with hand in baggie...Rough spots? then clean it with rinse, car soap, agitate, rinse. Then clay the windshield. Then use a Porter Cable with a white pad (fine car polish is optional if you have lots of ) and water and go over the surface to remove water spots and surface imperfections.
  3. spray on your favorite glass cleaner
  4. agitate with a sponge
  5. squeegee most of it off
  6. Now you have to get rid of the residue of the cleaner.
  7. spray on distilled water
  8. squeegee it dry
  9. when dry wipe off all the imperfections with a waffle weave MF . This is the most important part. Both the surface and the towel should be dry before you start this. If you don't do this, you will have imperfections. The towel should go on the entire surface without catching anywhere.
  10. you can stop here
  11. Inspect with plastic bag before you apply the QD since the QD will hide all the roughness.
  12. If you want to go to the next level of perfection, spray on a quick detailer (very light coverage... do NOT over do it)
  13. Wipe off the QD with clean dry MF towel. At this point, the surface will be very uniformly slick and there will be no smears and your windshield should be easy to clean.
  14. wipe again with a new clean waffle weave MF towel (which isn't the same towel you used before). Surface should be slick and spotless at this point.
  15. inspect using a fluorescent trouble light. if you are standing at 6pm, put the light at 9 and 12 so you can spot imperfections that are horizontal and vertical.


  1. wipe squeegee with a sponge between strokes. Sponges are lint free and you don't want any lint on your squeegee.
  2. Test: plastic baggie test will tell you how clean your windshield is. QD will hide roughness, so use polish to get rid of the QD
  3. claying will remove most roughness, but a lot of that is QD.
  4. Polish after claying
  5. to remove dust, use a WW MF and brush the surface lightly in one direction off the surface (like you are a broom)
  6. if you use a window cleaner that removes QD, your surface will feel like a wax job where the wax hardened before you buffed it. To fix, apply QD or use polish and/or alcohol 50/50 to remove all of the you are either coated or not, and not half way. The surface is much slicker coated with QD.
  7. Try lubricating the clay with soapy water instead. that way, the true roughness of the surface is not masked by the QD


A less labor intensive method:

  1. Use a MF head on a window cleaner and wipe with water
  2. Squeegee it off, drying the squeegee between swipe
  3. Dry again with a dry WW MF towel to get all the water spots off but the squeegee should have removed most everything.
  4. spray on QD. wipe off with a MF towel
  5. Dry again with a dry WW MF towel

There are two methods that work well: ivory soap & water with a sponge to wipe it clean, then spray with distilled water and wipe, and then repeat. Blow dry if you are fast, otherwise it should dry without spots if you got all the detergent off.

the other way is to clean with soap & water, rinse it, dry it with a towel, then apply quick detailer and spread it. No streaks or smears. Very smooth glass and water will bead off it and it is very easy to wipe things off of it (things won't stick). Try Garry Dean's Infinite Use Detail Juice.

Claying: You can clay the glass to remove the grime and waterspots. If you do on an old car, bad idea because the clay can fill the pits and you'll never get it out (unless you are using those new type of clay rags where the clay does not "peel off").

Car polish: Car polish is much softer than the glass so you can't harm the glass. Good for getting stuff off your glass. If you really want to remove scratches from the glass you need cerium oxide. But if you are just trying to remove contaminants, then a car polish and claying should work.

If you want the finish to suitable for sealing with Aquapel or Vindico, then I suggest clay, polish, sprayway, rinse off with water, then blow dry. You can't beat blow dry because it's hard to get a good squeegee on a curved window and because a MF towel isn't going to uniformly remove all the water.

I use Sprayway glass cleaner. Spray on. Spread with a MF. Dry with MF. do one section at a time. For inside glass, spray on the wipe itself, not the winsheild. top to bottom inside.

At the car wash, they do a near perfect job with just spray and wipe with a newly washed dry towel (not even waffle weave!).

This video is excellent:

Cool tip on cleaning glass

TIP: Telling which side you need to fix: For outside use horiz motion. For inside glass use vertical. That way, if there are streaks, you can tell which side the streaks are on.

If your window is really bad, you can use the white side of scotchbrite, use a sponge saturated with car wash or mild detergent, etc.

People rave about Sprayway. First wash your car. That gets most of the stuff. Spray Sprayway in center of the glass. Use waffle MF to spread it around. Turn the waffle MF cloth over to dry side and dry. Sprayway is also safe for computer monitor cleaning.

To check, I usually use direct sunlight. You can also use a LED flashlight and observe at all angles. I find sunlight easier.

Why your glass isn't clean

Reason Fix
You didn't really clean the junk off it in the first place The stuff may not be soluble in the cleaner you are using. Try other cleaners (vinegar+water+ivory pure soap, alcohol+vinegar, ammonia (just not in your car), invisible glass, sprayway) as well as increasing the "dwell" time (time on surface) as well as adding mechanical motion to remove the gunk after it is softened.

For example, vinegar sitting on a shower door for a while can remove water stains.

For tiny pits (from road debris), none of these things will work; try claying, otherwise, live with it. There is really no good way to get it out short of going to a shop to polish your glass. Steel wool and razor blades won't work.

I clean my eyeglasses with the ivory soap sprayed on, mechanical wipe, rinse with plain water, and then dry immediately with a cotton towel and it always works great, so I suspect you can do exactly the same with window glass (perhaps using a sponge to apply the soapy water, then a sponge to rinse, and a cotton towel to dry).

When using a new chemical cleaner or abrasive always do a preliminary test on an inconspicuous spot! When using a familiar chemical cleaner or abrasive on a new surface always do a preliminary test on an inconspicuous spot! Be especially careful when cleaning outside mirrors. The mirrors on late model cars are usually plastic with the reflective coating on the viewing side. Even a mild abrasive will haze these mirrors.

Chamois are bad for cars (see

You left the cleaning solution on the window Wipe the product off faster next time; do a section at a time. By far the best is to rinse the window with water then dry.

Use the right kind of wipe. Newspapers absorb water and are fine to use if the cleaner is still wet, but they really do a terrible job if there is dried on cleaner on the window. Buffing with a dry cloth will get it out. But easier to spray with distilled water (which removes the crap) and wipe with a dry cloth.

if computer screen, clean with whatever solution you want. Then use distilled water followed by a cloth wipe to do another pass over the glass (so even if you miss removal it will dry without a streak). This ensures all product was removed. This two pass method gets you windows completely clean

Your MF towel had crap on it so you actually added streaks after you cleaned it Make sure to use a clean MF to wipe dry after you've removed the product.
You are using the wrong type of MF towel Waffle weave will get all the water off without streaking and without leaving link. "normal" MF towels are not absorbent and don't clean glass nearly as well. However, if you are using distilled water rinse after cleaning, then streaking isn't a problem regardless of the drying towel since it will always dry streak free *if* the surface is completely clean.
Your waffle weave MF towel isn't dry Use a new dry one as the final pass before the product is dried on.
The surface is damaged Cleaning your wiper blades helps reduce the chance of this but if something sharp lands on your windshield and your wipes go while the car is dry, you can scratch your windshield permanently.

Using distilled water will minimize any spotting (no mineral deposits). Sponges don't lint and retain junk so good for applying and wiping off cleaner with water. Water spots will etch the glass, but not the car's paint.

Sponges don't lint so good for applying and wiping off cleaner with water.

Nice tutorial on glass cleaning:


Advice from

  • do NOT condition your wipers. just clean like your glass.

  • Ammonia is a great glass cleaner for the home, but not for autos because ammonia is harmful to many car surfaces, including vinyl, rubber and leather. That is why there is special "auto glass cleaner" because it doesn't have ammonia.

  • The inside of the rear window is the most difficult to reach and should be done last. The best technique for cleaning your rear window is to use the back side of your hand to guide your towel down into the corners. Trying to use the palm of your hand will force you to be a contortionist. [I personally use glass master, but the padding on the surface is really bad so need to supplement that.]

  • If you're looking for a specific glass microfiber towel, generally the towels with a deep, plush nap do not work well on glass. The best microfiber towels for glass have a low pile and a tight weave. The tight weave gives them a little more scrubbing power.

  • Normal driving will coat your windshield with a variety of contaminants that normal glass cleaners cannot remove.


Glass cleaner formulas:

  • Make a great all-purpose window cleaner by combining 1/4 cup vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap or detergent, and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Shake to blend and spray on your windows. This is because the plain vinegar and water won't remove the wax buildup from other cleaning products. Read more:
  • Using alcohol (denatured or isopropyl?) and white vinegar together makes a quickly evaporating spray on window that can complete with the cleaning power

Is the glass really clean?

  • look at under light in a dark room where light is incident at an angle and look for fingerprints, etc. This is the most sensitive test you can do.
  • put your hand in a plastic bag, wet the bag and the glass with distilled water and run your hand over the glass surface. It is amazing what you'll feel. should be smooth. Note if there is printing on the bag, do this with printed side up because otherwise you'll rub the printing off
  • take a credit card and run it at a 45 degree angle to the surface like a razor blade and see if it stops anywhere (there will be a little scraping sound but the credit card is plastic and can't scrape glass)

Best way to test cleaning solutions is with a scrap piece of glass.

Cleaning computer monitor

  1. spray cleaner (vinegar + water) on a MF; wipe the display
  2. spray another MF with distilled water and clean off the residue of the vinegar
  3. wipe dry with clean and dry waffle weave

Method #1:

  • spray on the cleaner (soap, vinegar and water is a really good choice. shake it to create a foam)
  • scrub it with a small MF towel that is saturated with the cleaning solution (rubbing the spots off). Use low pile side for max scrubbing. If your MF towel sheds (shake it in the dark with a light from your flashlight to see), you have a cheap MF towel.
  • wipe with a clean small mf towel that is saturated in clean water (ideally distilled, e.g., for computer monitors)
  • ideally blow dry with a blower since no chance of contamination from an unclean wipe (else wipe with a CLEAN waffle weave MF or newspaper)

Method #2

  • Spray on sprayway
  • Work in with a sponge. Remove excess with sponge.
  • Use that same (now clean) sponge to rinse with water.
  • Remove most of the water with the sponge
  • Dry with blow dry or a clean and dry waffle weave MF (or newspaper) so no contaminants are added

Method #3 (windshield not dirty)

  • Spray on the glass cleaner
  • Wipe off immediately (before it dries) with a clean, dray WW MF

Note also lots of dust in the air (you can see with a high power flashlight at night) so it will be dirty right after you clean it.

Water spots on paint

Try a quick detailer first; that might remove the spots. If that doesn't work, try a paint cleaner (e.g., a pre-wax cleaner which is less abrasive than a fine polish but will remove all residue but not harm the pain).

See How To Remove Sprinkler Water Spots which also shows how to use a paint cleaner (which will strip the wax off a car).

Applying Vindico-N
Prep the surface with cerium oxide and rinse and verify it is 100% hydrophilic. Blow it dry to get a perfect surface.

Spray on Vindico-N and wipe with the lint free towel to spread it (I think you can use a polyfoam sponge too). Let it dry for 5 minutes. Now buff it clear with a MF towel.

Now wait for 12 hours before testing it to be safe (at least 4 hours if outdoors). Otherwise, it will rinse off.

You'll see water bead when it is sprayed on it. Also, when you tilt the glass and the larger drops run, when they run on the Vindico, they will be intact as a round blob, but as soon as they hit untreated glass, the drop stays over the surface as it runs (creating a line of water on the glass).

Applying TPC Surface protector
Clean your glass first: spray with detergent/water, agitate with white side of sponge, spray with water, wipe dry. Now that it is clean, make it really clean with M105 applied by machine (more uniform cleaning this way). You can also do M205 by hand if the surface is really clean. This will get out all the water spots, etc. Now test by spraying with water and seeing if it sheets when you spray with no breaks.

Once water sheets uniformly when you spray it on, saturate the surface with water and blow dry (or use a newspaper).

Spray on TPC. Spread it with a red polyfoam applicator sponge (it will turn blue!!!) and work it like a wax. Do ONE section at a time because it dries fast! When it dries (which is quick), then buff off the excess  (using water if needed (instead of a quick detailer) to make the buffing easier) to a nice clear finish.

You can also spray it on your MF towel and then wipe the surface.

You can test immediately by spraying with water. Water will bead on a flat surface, or run really fast STRAIGHT down (leaving a wake). It will also "blow off" really easily with a blower.

TPC vs. Vindico-N for making glass hydrophobic

Glass Treatment Result
Vindico-N Lasts longer, but less hydrophobic than TPC. Glass must be clean to bond. Dries fast but don't expose to water for 12 hours. If you don't perfectly buff it after you apply it (to get the haze off after it dries), don't worry because you can buff it with water after it dries to remove the haze. You must personally sign for it because it considered hazardous material.
TPC Surface Protectant Shorter time between applications (every 3 months), but much more hydrophobic than Vindico and no hazardous shipping. It's really inexpensive too. Glass doesn't have to be clean. Goes on just like a car wax with polyfoam applicator or MF towel. Let it dry. Use water, instead of a QD, to buff it off. It is cheap, it is easy to get (on Amazon). Smells for a day or two after you put it on.

If you want to dry your car with the pooling technique, this is just the ticket to do that. Pooling works great when this is applied to your glass (use 22PLE for the paint/XPEL).

When comparing TPC vs. Vindico, I made sure to use the same size water blob to compare. As you tilt the glass, you can see the water drops move much more freely on the TPC than on the Vindico.

TPC has a smaller run angle than Vindico, but Vindico, because it bonds to the glass, lasts much longer. TPC is like a wax, whereas Vindico is like 22PLE (bonds to surface).

To test the run angle, you make a big blob and then tilt the glass till the water runs down.

Only the big blobs run. Small blobs don't have enough mass to start going. This is why on a hydrophobic surface, you will see water bead up into small's because all the big dots roll down!

TPC since it is like a wax, can be applied over an unclean surface and still work just fine. Vindico-N requires surface prep because it bonds to the glass.

Bottom line: TPC doesn't last as long, but is more hydrophobic, and requires less care on surface preparation.

Using a quick detailer and Klasse SG had no real effect.

Glass sealants
Lots of choices to get hydrophobic glass: Rain-X, Duxback, XtraVue, Aquapel, Aquartz Reload, Nanolex Ultra Glass Sealant, Vindico-N, CRL TPC Surface Protector, Invisible Shield Surface Protectant, G-Techniq. Rain-X doesn't last very long. Nanolex is supposed to last a long time.

Recently released Gtechniq EXO v2 Coating (Ultra Durable Hybrid Coating version 2 (EXOv2)) works on Paint, GRP, plastics, uncoated metal, fabric, glass, stone. Water contact angle: 115 degrees (higher is better); water run-off angle: 15 degrees (lower is better). EXOv2 has a slew of improvements including more slickness, increased chemical resistance and greater hydrophobic properties. The water contact angle has been bumped from 110 degrees to 115 (and run angle went from 17 to 15 degrees). With most waxes, sealants or coatings water appears to simply slide off the surface, whereas with EXOv2 the water appears to be sprinting in fear from the surface. It is similar to 22PLE and applies in a very similar manner. Very little product is required. Durability of inorganic top layer: 2.5 years; durability of organic top layer: 1.5 year!! Immune to car washes up to pH 11.

As far as hardness goes... EXO doesn't have much. EXO is the best at dirt repelling, hydrophobicity, and gloss. The best combination for maximum protection is Gtechniq C1 overcoated with EXOv2. Advertised durability is 2 years but with good maintenance practices it will last up to 4 years. Note you need to buff it clear using short pile MF towels.


22ple is a nice product but I sell it less than my C1 or EXO services. C1 from what I've seen leaves a better look than 22ple all by itself. But C1 is always overcoated with something else. C1 overcoated with something like C2v2 (or the new C2v3) trumps 22ple in terms of gloss & 'self-cleaning' properties. C1 overcoated with EXO... well, there's really no comparison to any product I've seen.

C1 provides the hardness and scratch resistance while EXO provides the super slick feeling and self-cleaning properties.C1 applies just like 22PLE.

The C1 application is a bit tricky: you need to apply and remove right away ( Caution: C1 is tricky to apply and if you do it wrong, it is painful to fix.

Vindico N® has an initial contact angle of > 105° and a run-off angle of < 20°, so you can see that Gtechniq is better.

Aquapel is 115 contact angle. Duxback is 110.

A superhydrophobic surface is >150 degress and run-off angle is <10 degrees. So EXOv2 is excellent.

WP-0NP - Nano Coating - "Hard Body" is impressive. Check out the scratch test on the bottom of this page (right half has the sealant).

Gtechniq C1 Crystal Lacquer has similar protective properties: scratch resistant and hydrophobic.

Hydrophobic coatings

Higher contact angle, lower run angle is better.

Glass Treatment Contact angle Run angle Other
Aquapel 115    
Duxback 110    
Gtechniq EXOv2 115 15 Min/max panel temp: 5/35C

Durability of inorganic top layer: 2.5 years; durability of organic top layer: 1.5 year
Resistant to ph11
Shelf life: 1 year

This is very comparable to Nanolex

Nanolex Ultra Glass Sealant 120  

The durability  at least 18 months or 30000 km.

The product can be applied easily and efficiently, 3-6ml already suffice to coat a windshield.

You can remove it with Nanolex Glass Polish (which has cerium oxide) using a rotary or DA.

It is very easy to apply (people say easier than the Gtechniq glass sealant). Just make sure to buff it properly after you apply. If you wait more than an hour after application to buff, it will be very hard to buff off.


Vindico-N 105 20  


Paint Treatment Contact angle Run angle Other
Nanolex Premium Paint & Alloy Sealant 120    

Gtechniq EXOv2
Must use it all within 2 weeks of opening the bottle. Similar to 22PLE in application.


See and manufacturer instructions for EXOv2 for detailed application instructions.

Best if used to overcoat C1. See Gtechniq C1 Crystal Lacquer.


Note use short fiber MF towels to remove residue and buff. More plush don't work as well.

Dawn dish soap
Use the original blue stuff. Good for stripping wax on a car (which is why they say not to use it on cars, but it is perfect for a pre-step prior to application of a wax or sealant).

A drop in water makes a great cleaner for removing most greasy stains (which water will not remove).

So using this (or sprayway or invisible glass), followed by spraying with water and drying is the best way to make windows super clean.

Water spots on glass
My indoor shower has water spots that are 10 years old. I tried vinegar, CLR, EdFred, etc. No difference.

The only thing that worked safely to remove old water spots without harming the glass was Sorbo.

Products that can be used to remove general contamination and leave the glass hydrophilic:

  1. M105 (a scratch remove for car paint). This did the best job and is easy to work with and non-toxic and you don't have to wipe off in 5 minutes like Sorbo. It should be awesome for cleaning car window prior to Vindico. Glass is hydrophilic after M105 so it makes it very clean. However, test the area by scrubbing with the white sponge. In my case, M205 made no difference and the M105 was required to take off the 10 year water spots. You may be able to get away with M205 so try that first in a test spot.
  2. Sorbo (a mild sulfamic acid powder). This is pretty safe and did an excellent job, but the sorbo tends to "clump" when mixed with water. Not sure how to avoid this.
  3. Liquid Diamond Polish (essentially cerium oxide which is a glass polish).

This page confirms using car polish to clean glass and remove scratches and another page discusses using products like Sorbo to clean water spots.

VitraClean (which is cerium oxide) should also work but I didn't try it.

Shootout results on shower door water spots (15 seconds of hand scrubbing with white pad with same pressure on each product)

Glass Cleaner Result
Sorbo #1 Completely removed 10 year water spots on my glass. No collateral damage even if left on. If you scrub for less than 15 seconds using a white pad, you'll leave stuff on the glass so 15 secs was about right for my glass. if you use a light, you can see when you are done.
VitraClean #2 . It cleaned the water stains, but when you scrub, it leaves the surface permanently cloudy (which you can see under fluorescent light in the dark), as if it is a very rough polish. By contrast, cerium oxide, m105 and m205 do not cloud the glass.

CAUTION: Will permanently scratch and cloud XPEL Ultimate (unlike cerium oxie and M105).

M105 car polish Virtually no impact in 15 seconds on my water spots, however, in general is a great glass cleaner to get it to to be hydrophilic (clean). However, makes the glass smooth and hydrophilic so perfect other than water spots.
Cerium oxide Sane results as M105 after 15 seconds. This is great for cleaning glass in most cases and making it totally hydrophilic. Clean with this, rinse and then blow dry and you have a perfect setup for Vindico.
VitraNova #3 far less effective for water spots than VitraClean. but one oz per gallon of water is an effective glass contamination cleaner (to prepare glass for a Vindico-N treatment).
EdFred did nothing for these water spots

I also tried 1 part vitraNova to 4 parts distilled water. spray or wipe on and start scrubbing with a white sponge. Rinse off within 30 seconds just to be safe. The chemical will soften things so the scrubber can work. BEWARE: Only use on clear (not tinted) glass because it can strip the tint, e.g., if you have green colored shower doors, stay away because you'll see a color change. This is why you always do small test spots if you are unsure. After it dried, it did not seem nearly as optically clear as the M105 or Sorbo.

All were applied with the white part of a sponge (the sponges that are listed as won't scratching glass) and required elbow grease. M105 on an orange foam pad by hand did nothing.

If CLR or LimeAway doesn't do the job, try EdFred, BarKeepersFriend, or Sorbo.

Use EdFred Shower Stall & Tile Cleaner at Orchard. Can also use this on auto paint, but remove immediately! Use with a scotchbrite pad and elbow grease and you'll remove water spots from glass; old stains will not come off just with the chemical. Then coat with Aquapel to reduce the chance of future spotting.

I ordered the EdFred glass shower cleaner shown on Muchfun's link and tried it. It took a lot of elbow grease and I had to go over the shower door and wall a couple of times. Applied it with a Scotchbrite pad. I can't believe it actually worked. It was 10 years of hard water build-up. I tried everything imaginable to clean it and nothing worked. I even tried, over the years, using a razor blade to scrape it off and that didn't even work.

I've seen reports that Tabasco sauce works great. Haven't tried it.

Sorbo worked for me and it was clearly better than EdFred. It is a mild abrasive (see . So she trick is you must rub it in with a soft applicator. If you just let it sit there, it will do virtually nothing. Just mix the powder with water to make a paste and apply it to the surface using a soft wet towel or white nylon scrub pad.

Winsol Crystal Clear 550 is nicer but super dangerous due to etching of the tin side. It is a chemical so you do a lot less work. However, Gloves, Goggles and Protective clothing must be worn while using Crystal Clear 550. Video: . More info: However, CC550 contains hydrofluoric acid so NEVER apply it to the tin side or you will get hazing and that will be very painful and expensive to fix:

Neither OneRestore or CC550 can burn glass. It's just not an etching compound, so it's a really important distinction that it is not the glass that is damaged-- it's the tin. See This can be fixed with

Plate glass is manufactured by floating the glass on tin. So it is not symmetrical at all. See: and see how under UV light you can tell which side has the tin: . So this is why CC550 can haze some windows and not others: the person didn't understand which is the tin side. you can actually feel the difference ... the tin side is rougher (see )

Cerium oxide on a polisher is another approach. Cerium oxide will also get out the scratches if they aren't too deep. This is very labor intensive however, but often much cheaper than replacing the entire windshield. See

avoid using Green scotchbrite.  it will  easily scratch glass if you rub hard enough (or if you use the "heavy duty" version). Use the white pads instead.

Here is another product for really hard water spots on glass. If you have really bad water spots or hard water stains ( well water rust) you can also use Cerium Oxide paste to clean it alll off and polish the glass crystal clear. You can get it at Hobby stores that carry telescopes or at Camera shops. Mix a little powder with water and make a paste. Put on like wax, scrubbing as you apply . let dry and them buff off and rinse well

Alternative is Black Diamond or Mr. Clean bathroom & shower erase but I haven't tried these.


XPELsurface tests

Glass Cleaner Result
Sorbo Scrubbing will permanently scratch and dull XPEL Ultimate, much worse than vitraClean. However,  won't stain if just let it sit on the XPEL.
VitraClean Will permanently scratch and dull XPEL Ultimate. It will stain XPEL as well as glass if allowed to sit on the glass. Scrubbing makes it somewhat worse.
M105 car polish OK
Cerium oxide OK
VitraNova ok
EdFred ok
TPC ok
Vindico-N ok

Cerium oxide to clean glass

Polishing glass is a longer process that can generate enough heat to warp the optical quality of the windshield if not cooled properly with water. The Cerium Oxide is mixed in a paste (to peanut butter consistency), water is liberally (also the pad is denser than a paint polishing pad and needs to soak in water prior to use) applied while polishing. It can make a lot of mess/splatter. I eventually just sprang for a new windshield, because the deep pits were still there.

Use cerium oxide and a Griot's glass polishing pad... there you are really polishing the glass. a real good idea to wear a dust mask at a minimum and safety glasses and gloves wouldn't hurt either.

Note that even Mike Phillips at AutoGeek hasn't used cerium oxide. Cerium Oxide is the main compound used for removing marring and scratches in glass. But it also takes a lot of experience in order to use it correctly and safely! see

The techniques that we have been working on for glass involve the use of a rotary polisher, a 2" backing plate (Ben at Carnaubawax Shop has them ), and 2" Rayon pads (again, Ben has these, or use the ones in the kit). The pad is primed with the watery polish, and a region of about 6" square at a time is polished as follows:

  • Spread at 600rpm
  • Begin to work at 1200rpm, light pressure and maintain this speed until polish well spread to avoid splatter later
  • Work at 2000rpm, light to medium pressure, slow machine movements for a minute or so
  • Work at 2500rpm, medium to heavy rotary pressure*, slow machine movements monitoring the heat very carefully until polish starts to dry a little
  • Finish at 1200 - 1500rpm, light pressure and faster machine movements

* Be very careful not to bow, or break glass with too heavy pressure and at all times monitor the heat. It should never get too hot to tap by hand, perhaps a little too hot to hold for a while.

Essentially a high-speed Zenith Point technique, with a typical set lasting three or four minutes. Care was taken throughout to monitor the heat of the glass

Using cerium oxide on glass:

Caveats on cerium oxide: unless you know what you are doing, you will leave convex and concave areas so looking through the glass will be clear, but the images will be distorted!

More on glass

Here's another cool way that works on glass that I discovered: take a qtip in water and run it over the place you are looking. If the "spot" is on the side you put the water on, it will "disappear" then reappear when the water dries. Or use your finger to smudge the surface you think the spot is on. If you have the right surface, you'll "modify" the imperfection.

To tell when glass is clean you can see if you can "paint" it with your sponge (even a loofah). If the glass surface is clean and not treated with a water repellant, you should be able to use a sponge to "paint" a thin film of water that just stays on the glass without "breaking" even if the glass is vertical. You'll see tiny airspots that will emerge like pimples, but that is it. there will be no "breaking" of the nice thin coat. When the glass is clean, that water coat you painted with the sponge will stay a thin coat and then just dry evenly.

Green scotchbrite will absolutely scratch glass. Use the white version (e.g., scotchbrite "delicate care"). That won't scratch glass.

rocks go into your windshield at high speeds from highway driving. there is no way to prevent that or to get those tiny specks out (unless you are lucky with claying).

For hardwater stains, try these steps in order:

  1. first try LimeAway or CLR. These are the weak cleaners but they work on a variety of stains that are not set in.
  2. Else try EdFred Tile Cleaner, Bar Keeper's Friend, or Sorbo. Sorbo and Bar Keeper's requires elbow grease to get the stain out. You apply it like a foam car wash: you apply the stuff, let it sit to loosen things up, then scrub it off and rinse. Always Wear gloves and do not expose skin. Check out this horror story with Bar Keeper's Friend who didn't protect his skin. EdFred doesn't require elbow grease. If you can reliable tell whether it is the tin side or not, you could also use Crystal Clear 550 which chemically etches the stains off.
  3. If you get here, then you have to go to cerium oxide which is going to take a while but always works.

I found Bar Keeper's Friend to be about equivalent to Sorbo and a step above edfred and CLR. Both BKF and Sorbo work best when you create a paste and rub it in. It is the rubbing action, and not the time to work, that is by far, the difference between success and failure. I've used BKF and Sorbo to clean water spots on my Ping Pong table and BKF did the job without leaving marks that indicated the direction of scrubbing (but I may have been using a white scrotchbrite pad with the Sorbo so that might have done it). It is also much easier to work with whereas Sorbo is more "gritty." BKF can leave micro scratches on glass if you rub hard enough so be careful to use light pressure. You can also use BKF on plastic lenses on cars.

BKF is abrasive. It will scratch glass.

Sorbo is very gentle on glass. if you use it on a white pad, scratches are hard to see. If you use with a sponge, no scratches.

Vindico ultrasclean seems safe.

Vindico Vitranova won't scratch glass, but it will very quickly permanently frost it if you use at full strength.

You want to seal glass just like you seal your paint so you no longer get water spots again:

For sealing glass, the best products are from Vindico. It can last for 5 to 10 years inside; lasts for 15,000 miles on your front windshield and about 3 years on side and back windshild. The N version is what you want. TheVindico HP1  is for solar panels (and is hydrophilic which is the opposite of what you want). Lasts forever to keep water spots off, make it easy to clean, and drive easily in the rain.

About Vindico:

Watch how it is applied and Order Vindico for shower or auto (includes the video links to the Clear View Kit and bathroom kit): Also see for more videos.

However, they will refer you in the US to their distributor

Here's a demo of a vindico treated glass jar showing how water doesn't stick to the sealed surface:

Vindico works on vitreous products only: glass, porcelain,  polished stone.

Ultra Ever Dry is really amazing. It is super hydrophobic (watch this TED video). It only lasts 2 to 8 months in direct sunlight. You can use air sprayers, pump sprayers or even finger trigger sprayers. It is translucent, it is NOT transparent. So you can't use it for car window glass like Vindico. It is also for industrial use only, not for personal use. The surface will lose it properties if treated with detergents, soap, some solvents or high pressure water. Due to the natural oils in the skin, excessive handling with bare hands of treated materials can cause a reduction in performance as can severe abrasion

A second best solution is a sealer that doesn't last nearly as long CRL TPC Surface Protectant which is better than doing LimeAway or CLR all the time. The fumes are toxic so be careful. Don't get on your skin. It lasts 3 to 6 months and costs $10 for 16 oz on Amazon. An oz covers 15 square feet of surface. So this is just the thing to use in your shower and on your bathroom fixtures (like my plated faucets) so you never have to wipe it and leave scratch marks on it.

CRL TPC Surface Protector will actually seal the pores of glass, porcelain, ceramic, plastics, polished metals, fiberglass and marble to make the surface water, soil and stain resistant. The clear coating guards against the adhesion and build-up of dirt, grime, mold, mildew, rust and mineral deposits. Environmentally friendly and non-toxic, CRL TPC Surface Protector facilitates preventive maintenance, reducing costly cleaning, repairs and replacement. Simply spray on and polish off. One fluid ounce (29 milliliter) of TPC Surface Protector protects approximately 15 square feet (4,572 square millimeters) of glass.

For polishing glass, cerium oxide is the way to go to restore glass. Here's a great video from a glass cleaning professional: Window Cleaning Tips: Hard Water Stain Removal - YouTube using a scotchbrite pad (the white one) to apply the cerium oxide. Here's advice from amazon purchaser who used it on a machine (which is the best way with a pad like Griot's Garage 10614 6" Glass Polishing Pad, (Set of 3) because it is much faster, but there is a lot of splatter):

I had scratches from a scotchbrite pad on the windshield of my Avalanche. I used this product along with my Porter Cable buffer and sponge type pad. I had a spray bottle of water ready, and placed old bedsheets on the hood, roof, and tucked inside the top of the closed doors on each front side so almost all exposed surfaces were pretty well covered. Made sure I did the work under a shade tree to minimize heat on the windshield on a 95 degree day. I found that using the lightest touch, maximizing the RPM's of the buffer, quickened the job. It took about three hours straight and admittedly I was discouraged and a bit frustrated that after 30 minutes there appeared to be no difference, but I pressed on and the end results are fantastic. No sign of any of the scratches and there were A LOT of them. In fact, after final clean up I noted that there appeared to be no glass in front of me at all! Even with careful covering I got speckles of the Cerium Oxide on auto body, chrome mirrors, etc., but they come of easily with water and light scrubbing. Be patient, use your water spray bottle often, and you will get out this type of scratch from windshield glass and be very happy with the result. In all I used about a quarter of the bottle to clean a very large windshield to perfection. Highly recommended product that did exactly what it was supposed to do. 

Vindico info (from Sean Lanigan of Applied Surface Technologies, LLC (920-478-2969)


  1. Do not let the cleaner dry on the glass. At full strength, you need to wipe it off immediately after you scrub. DO NOT LET IT DRY. Otherwise you will permanently damage your glass. This is why it is not sold as a consumer product. Because consumers do not read instructions. Without clean glass, the product will not bond well at all (not surprising). And you need a strong chemical (acid in this case) to really clean the windshield because they are typically very contaminated (which you can tell because they are not hydrophilic).
  2. If you get on paint, flush asap. It shouldn't hurt the paint.
  3. Lasts 15,000 miles on front windshield (more dust and wiper blades), 3 years on sides. About 10 years indoors on shower doors
  4. Vitranova is the cleaner. Chemical based. Will clean all the crap off so your windshield is clean for the application of the Vindico N. It will not fix scratches. For normal cleaning, you'd use 1 oz. per gallon. For stripping a window so it is clean, you use full strength. For glass that appears cloudy or stained from rust and mineral deposits – mix Vitranova at a ratio of 1:1 with warm water.
  5. Always test the glass. Could be a bad reaction with the contamination (this is rare).
  6. Wash the glass with the Vitranova solution and agitate using a window-washing scrubber (‘T’ Bar). Rinse with fresh water and squeegee dry. For harder to clean surfaces, use a glass safe scouring pad – scrub the glass surface, let dwell 30 – 45 seconds re-agitate and rinse with water. This process can be repeated as necessary.
  7. You know it is clean (and suitable for application of Vindico) when you can "paint" water on the glass with a sponge and not have it "disintegrate" at all (like is will on most car windshields).  Or look at light in the night. shouldn't be a halo. That is why you first must clean with vitranova to get that really clean glass for the product to stick to.
  8. Aquapel and RainX do not last very long
  9. Vitranova has ethyl alcohol (ethanol aka alcohol) so considered a hazardous product so there is a $27 adder to the shipping so they don't make much money at the price they are selling it for
  10. 25 square feet (enough for front windshield and rear window) - $39.95 + $10.00 Shipping

    50 square feet - $59.95 + $10.00 Shipping

  11. Order by phone or email to sean. they take credit cards and paypal.
  12. above 35 mph you won't need wipers
  13. Most car glass is pretty corroded and contaminated. Water will "break" immediately on it. That is why cleaning first is essential.
  14. Green and blue scotchbrite pads will scratch glass. the white pads will do microscratches if you press hard enough and the glass is contaminated. the white pads they include in the kit will not scratch glass (you can't buy these in the US).
  15. Glass starts corroding 28 days after it is made
  16. VitraNova (a liquid) can't pull out stuff below the surface of the glass. use full strength only right before the application of the Vindico. Use 50/50 dilution for cleaning hard to clean glass (e.g., cleaning water spots) and much more dilution for normal cleaning. It is chemical and will stain the glass if you leave it on, so be sure to rinse the cleaner off immediately.
  17. VitraClean is abrasive paste (messy to use). not acid based. Have to use elbow grease. will get white spots off the glass. So if your spots are <1 year old, it can remove them. Use this if you glass isn't hydrophilic after cleaning with VitraNova.
  18. The reason your windshield isn't hydrophobic to begin with is that it's not possible to make permanently hydrophobic glass. You have to treat it after it is made to make it phobic.
  19. Clean glass is hydrophilic. RainX will make it somewhat hydrophobic.
  20. RainX is difficult to remove using consumer grade removers (which are not nearly as strong as vindico's remover).

Bottom line: use Vitranova diluted by at least 1:4, test it first on scrap glass, and stay away from Vitraclean due to to the cloud (this could be de-polishing the glass need to test just putting it on then off).

I used VitraClean to clean XPEL and it permanently clouded and scratched the XPEL!!! This didn't happen with cerium oxide or M105!

Vindico alternatives
3 Star Barrier Protectant (super easy to apply) and Invisible Shield.

Caring for PPF (like Xpel Ultimate)

  • Do not use a pressure washer
  • Remove stains, bugs, etc. ASAP with quick detailer or they will stain the film
  • These are all OK:
    • blow dry the car
    • Quick Detailer
    • Claying

A pressure washer has a tip pressure of around 1500psi, if you use it on a car with rock chips it can and will get under the chip and start to lift the paint! You have to stay at least 3ft back from the vehicle which sometimes people forget to do, remember pressure washers are used to strip paint off of houses and clean driveways, do not use on it a car with a clear bra, it will find an edge and start to lift just like a house. Air drying is ok, not enough energy even with heat. The latest thing in cutting think steel is pressurized water not lasers, that give you an idea of what pressurized water can do.

How wax works
Many waxes are solvent based. So you spread them on the surface, wait for the solvent to evaporate, then you buff. When you buff, you are removing all the peaks by shearing them off leaving a surface that is smooth. Once the surface is smooth, there is nothing to catch your towel and be sheared off. In a way, waxing and buffing is really the same as you are doing to paint with a polish; the only difference is that here it is the wax that is being removed rather than your paint and the wax is much softer and easier to remove than your paint.

To make buffing the wax easier, use a quick detail spray which keeps things from sticking (sort of like using wet sandpaper).

Minimizing amount of product applied with a sponge
Wet the sponge with water, squeeze it dry (that is how you get to "damp"), then apply product. This way, the water is absorbed by the sponge, so when you put the product on the sponge, it will not be absorbed and it available to be transferred to the car. The second reason is that it makes it easier for the product to be spread. This is why instructions for applying way say to use a damp applicator. The polyfoam applicators are great.

You can dampen the sponge with water or a quick detailer (depending on instructions). Dampening a sponge with a quick detailer makes applying much easier (and buffing is easier if you spray you mf with a quick detailer).

Swirl remover
Adam's swirl & haze remover with a Porter Cable is a great way to remove swirls. Or use M105 followed by M205 for a fine finish.

Claying (paint, glass, chrome)
Process is: wash, clay, use WW MF to dry area, polish, seal) has excellent video.

Clay is good because it removes contaminants, but not paint. the plastic bag test after washing the car will tell you if you need to clay. Clay will remove wax and sealants so need to reseal after claying.

do 2 sq. ft section at a time.

roll into a ball, flatten it, spray both the clay bar and surface with quick detailer. when done, should be able to feel and hear it. Use MF towel to remove the clay lubricant.

Store the clay bar in its original case if possible, or in an airtight plastic bag. Spray it with lubricant to keep it moist.

clay very lightly (little to no pressure). it will scratch if you apply pressure.. u will feel it 'stick' as it passes over junk..keep going softly until it glides smoothly.

you can tell when you dont need to clay by using the back of your fingers over the car. you can feel areas that need clay (if any).
another way to do this is to use a plastic sandwich bag and put your hand in it and rub over the surface... you can feel any contamination through the bag (without getting your fingerprints on the car and it is smoother

when i clay, i just use moderate pressure in the palm of my hand. not too hard, but hard enough to get whatever you are trying to remove. as amartin says, when it glides smoothly you are finished with that area.

Detailing clay does not remove oxidized paint or fill in blemishes. If your paint is mildly oxidized, clean the paint with clay and then use a polish to remove the oxidized paint. If the oxidation is severe, polish first because the oxidized paint may flake off as you clay and ruin the clay bar. (See our polish how-to.)

MF towels
At autogeek, the waffle glass towel is awesome. I love the purple towels. They are really plush.

junkman claims the borderless blonde towels are the best:

Waffle weave for drying, quick detailer, etc. Anything that runs (liquid)

For wax and polish, use a Zaino borderless blonde for wax and polish. Is better than any MF towel.

quick detailer
Garry Dean's Infinite Use detail juice is highly concentrated so very affordable.


Using a squeegee to clean glass

The three things to remember for a perfect cleaning:

  • Put no pressure downward on the squeegee. Just let it drag
  • Overlap strokes
  • dry with a towel beween each stroke.

Porter cable DA car polisher

This is a fantastic link: Machine polishing tips

alway prime the pad, apply product, spread it around quickly, then go to work with light pressure.

Clean it between sections. clean DA polisher foam pad between sections with a terry towel as if you are buffing the terry towel.


You apply polishes using a foam pad, and typically use a MF towel (spritzed with a QD) to buff it after it dries. You can also buff using a MF bonnet (placed on top of a lambswool levelling pad).

wash, clay, (ideally wash again to remove any clay residue).

cord over shoulder. wipe off with MF between steps (correct, polish, wax).

orange pad: more aggressive: faster speed, wool pads. 6 for correction. Use 15 lbs pressure (light pressure). work a small area (18x18).

white pad: less aggressive: slower speed, foam pads (final polish is 1500 rpm; defect removal is 2000 rpm). 5 for polish. Lighten up the pressure as you complete the final passes (usually 6 passes...1 up, 1 down, 1 up, etc). can work

Use green pad for 1-step polish

Use red for wax (4 setting). can work on a large area. for this one, can do one handed since no pressure and move much faster. Let it dry.

use brush to remove residue if gets caked on the pad.

make sure the car is clean and dry before you start polishing. You don't want to grind in dirt.

Use plenty of lubricant on the clay and on the car (soapy water is fine).

Must be done indoors.

Trick is not to do these: car isn't clean, using too much polish, working outdoors or direct sunlight, on a hot surface, working the polisher at the wrong speed or with too much pressure (should be 9 to 14 lbs), or some combination of those issues.
Instructions for using:

Junkman video on polishing:

Results are all in the technique as long as you are using a good product, e.g., for sealant, you want to spread product on the surface with the polisher turned off to spread it over the pad as well so when you start working everything is there.

If use extension cord, make sure it is the right gauge.

Need to buy a backplate (e.g., 5 inch backplate and 5 inch pad since easier to work but counterweight is for 6 inch). But if you use the right technique you don't need to worry about the counterweight match. backplate has velcro. Pad color tells you how the pad cuts. Look for Hex logic pad (5.5" for 5" backplate. Get orange and white. Clean the pads IMMEDIATELY after use. White is less aggressive (polish). Orange is most aggressive (remove swirls). Get 3 white pads (for shining the car), 2 orange pad (for removing damage). Wax doesn't change the shine. Shine is all about polish. Put wax on to protect the shine.

autogeek recommend using a 5 inch backing plate with 6.5 inch pads to leave a larger margin of foam between the plate and the edge of the pad. an orange light cutting pad, a white polishing pad, a gray finishing pad, the 5 inch Flexible Dual Action Backing Plate and of course, the Porter Cable 7424XP. My strategy is 1 orange (for swirls), 2 green (all in one), 2 blue (apply sealer) by ordering this kit:

For removing swirls: Maguiars 105 (ultra-cut compound) on orange pad to remove damage from the paint. M205 (mirror glaze) polish on the white pad. shake before use. use detailer and WW MF to finish it. Polish is like soap. You want to remove all the polish off as soon as you finish applying.

Use on speed of 5 for polish. 4 pea size drops to prime the polisher. then move slowly. Better to underwork than overwork. Use very little polish. Mist pad after putting on polish. Overlap as you move. go slow.

Foam composition, stiffness and pores per inch are largely what governs cut, not hex logic pattern vs. lake country.

Plastic headlight lenses

To maintain your plastic headlight lenses and taillights, I recommend regular use of Detailer's Pro Series Plex-All. It is a combination cleaner, polish and protectant. When used regularly, Detailer's Pro Series Plex-All will protect plastic lenses and windows from UV damage.

I already have Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze so you can use that on plastics rather than buying a second product. Klasse creates an elastic, non-chip, shrink-proof, heat and scratch resistant - protective seal against ultraviolet rays, salt water, acid rain and industrial pollutants for up to 12 months. Use this glaze on all paints with or without clear coats, glass, fiberglass, Plexiglass, plastics, metal surfaces, enamel, tiles, Formica and all non-porous surfaces. It is anti-static, non-abrasive and contains no ingredients harmful to paint, metal or plastic.

Cleaning the wiper blades
open front hood, lift the blades off the surface.

Although rubber dressing helps preserve, protect and beautify the rubber and vinyl parts on your car, you should not use dressings on your wiper blades. Rubber dressing on your blades will cause streaking and smearing, impairing your vision. The best overall maintenance of your blades is keeping them clean. If you want to protect your blades, use a product like 303 Wiper Treatment. If you have expensive after-market blades, 303 Wiper Treatment will make them last twice as long. I suspect that Lexol is just fine as well.

Removing wax
Dawn is THE recommended soap if you want to remove your wax without paying a ton of $$ for a specialty auto product.

Melting ice
Dawn dish soap diluted in a spray bottle. (Make sure you use one of the versions without bleach.). Melts ice. But will also remove wax from the car.

Water spray
I use a sprayer of distilled water. If I miss wiping it up, there are no water spots. And it's cheap.

Interior cleaning
Wipe periodically with a damp microfiber cloth (sprayed with distilled water) is all you really need. this cleans and hydrates the leather. Do it regularly.

Other options (but see section on leather care)

Prestine Clean every 90 days on the leather. einszett to maintain the leatherette. See Maintaining Leather with Prestine Clean, Einszett 1Z Cockpit Premium or Meguiar’s Quik Interior Detailer

1z einszett Cockpit Premium  is a good choice. spray on MF towel, then use other side to remove the product.

Paint protection
Xpel Ultimate. Then use 22PLE for the parts that you didn't cover with the Xpel as well as covering the Xpel since that way you absorb the UV. The UV absorber breaks down in time in these products so that's why it is over the Xpel.

You can tell that the 22PLE is still on the XPEL because it will make the surface shine more than just plain Xpel film.

You could put Klasse on top of the Xpel instead for less protection. According to the Xpel website, "Unlike most paint protection films on the market, XPEL ULTIMATE Paint Protection film can be waxed and sealed just like your paint. Though XPEL Flawless Finish Paint Protection Film Sealant is still the preferred product, Any automotive wax or sealant may be used."

This makes it easier to clean and protects the Xpel film itself which I've heard can be damaged by bird droppings, etc (if you look really closely).

Glass paint nano coatings 22PLE info
22PLE is the well known and credible and offers the best protection. is very convincing. Basically, 22PLE hardens and you can see it on the applicator.

In particular, bird bombs wipe right off and don't leave a stain. One person wrote:

I had some birds attack it yesterday and it wiped right off after spraying a detail spray to soften the bombs up and no spotting whatsoever.

Be sure to do an IPA wipedown using 10% alcohol. This is because the normal recommendation of 50% alcohol is a strong solution of IPA can stain and even soften some clear coat paints. High Solids Clear Coats paints are "Glycol Friendly", meaning products in the Glycol Family, which includes Isopropyl Alcohol, can and will penetrated into, soften, wrinkle and/or stain the paint. Spray it on, wipe it off with a MF towel (waffle or regular weave). It is ok to let it evaporate on the won't stain it. So you 1) don't have to worry about using a completely dry towel and 2) you don't have to worry if you spray areas other than just the paint (and plastic and chrome trim). So should take 20 minutes to wipe down the car.

From Mike Phillips: To remove any previously applied wax or paint sealant, I recommend using a light paint cleaner or a light polish applied by hand or machine and NOT an IPA wipedown. A light paint cleaner or abrasive polish will effectively remove any previously applied wax or paint sealant AND leave the paint looking clear and glossy. I call this working forward in the process because the goal is to create beauty. Chemically stripping the paint (using IPA) will tend to dull the paint; it certainly doesn't increase gloss and clarity. You don't see the dulling effect unless you're working on black paint and repeat the process multiple times. Since not everyone works on black paint, and you're not going to make stripping your car's paint a daily routine, it could be you won't see the dulling effect on your car's paint but it does take place.

According to Esoteric, a 50% dilution is what the manufacturer recommends because too light of a mixture would not remove all polish residue, which results in a poor bond with the surface. This wasn't as much of an issue with simple waxes, but is for the new coatings segment.


So there you go... damage the paint or get good adhesion...So it might be useful to test a 20% mixture on your car and see if that removes wax by testing using water on the surface.


To see if 20% is enough, do a strip with 20% and a strip with 50% on the same place (e.g., front hood), and look at water beading angle and the run angle. If they are the same, you probably got all the wax off.


If you're referring to something like prep-solv, that would probably work as well.

My tips on using 22PLE

  1. use it sparingly. you'd be surprised at how far a few drops will go on the red foam applicator sponges. it will sit on the surface and go right to the paid.
  2. you'll "feel" it "squeek" when there isn't enough product. It will be a smooths glide when there is adquate coverage on the surface.
  3. place cap over the top when not putting on the sponge so as to reduce vapors
  4. LIGHT touch for putting it on with the foam applicator and taking it off with the towel
  5. Covering plastic and wheels is fine. keep off of the glass (just wipe if you get on the glass)
  6. wear gloves
  7. don't really have to do exact timing to take it off. Make sure you have it on for at least 3 minutes, but whether you take the excess off 10 minutes later, it really doesn't seem to be that critical.
  8. I put 22PLE on my faucet and it color shifted the look of them. Would be interesting to do a test section of the car and compare color. If you need a paint repair, you need to polish off the 22PLE and then match the color under it.
  9. To see if it is still effective, you can use the hood or hatch and see what angle the water droplets will start to move (hydrophilic behavior). For my Leaf, I had to raise the front hood all the way to see some droplets start to run.
  10. Check your work. Look at a reflection of the light in the paint before you put it on. How sharp are the edges? do the edge "move" if you move the light? It should be a straight edge with no shimmering as you move if the surface is flat. Then you can look at it after you apply the 22PLE and remove the product. Is the same amount of shimmering there? The more the lines are sharp, the better. It should look just like glass reflection both before you apply the 22PLE and after you are done.
  11. do NOT test with water until 12 hours after application. Surface must be dry for 12 hours.
  12. If you get it on glass, it it won't bond properly so wipe off ASAP. If dried on glass, use a regular car polish to remove it from the glass (you will not scratch the glass).
  13. To check if 22PLE is still effective, most surfaces are hydrophilic when clean (e.g., with detergent and water). So if water beads on the surface after cleaning, good indication that 22PLE has bonded well. I've seen it wash off of metal easily. So try to wash it off in an area (with detergent and water) and see if there is any difference in beading with the surface that wasn't cleaned. The cleaner surface should bead better than a dirty surface with everything beaded.


  • Yes, you can apply VX1 over XPEL Ultimate. You can apply VX1 on plastics and wheels, but for the wheels, it won't provide the same level of protection as the VM1 (VM1 is harder, and it is high-temp resistant).
  • I've used 22PLE over XPEL Ultimate on my personal car starting a year ago, and lots and lots of client cars. We use XPEL Ultimate here.
  • After you open the bottle, you should  use it within a couple of months. Clean the dropper in warm water after use, and re-install the plastic plug into the bottle (keep the dropper in a safe place). Also clean off the bottle threads and inside of cap before putting it back on (e.g., with a qtip).
  • Use on a complete dry applicator. Do not use QD or water to dampen the pad. only wet the applicator with VX1.
  • To remove the stopper at the top, Just use your fingernails to pry up an edge, then gently pull it out. It's in there tight so the air won't dry it out. (what I did was use my surgical clamp and clamped on the edge and pulled it up a little and worked my way around the perimeter doing this and gradually lifted it out. Then you push the spout (with the pointy end into the bottle) in to replace it.
  • On seeing the difference on top of XPEL Ultimate: As long as you prepped the surface with alcohol before, and let it set 3-5 minutes, it's on there. Once fully cured and hit with water, you should notice a difference in water beading between a treated area, and a non-treated area.

  • if you need to remove it (e.g., you didn't prep the surface right), polish it off until you remove the imperfection that is under it. A regular paint cleaner (which is slightly abrasive will remove all wax) will not remove 22PLE.

The rubber stopper at the top was a real bear to get off. I'm not the only one who had this problem:

Take utmost care using dust free foam applicators and lint free MF wipe off towels that have been through at least one wash cycle using MF washing detergent.

Other products: Nano diamond shield hardens to 4-H while Opti-coat hardens to 9-H, which is why I chose it for the paint. It's more resistant to fine scratches which is a must for black cars. Read more: has very mixed reviews. Diamond shield is like rain-x on steroid. Apply it correctly and it'll last longer. looks very interesting and from a credible source and very easy to apply, but it isn't very hard (protects against light scratches).

Paint Sealant
Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze should last a year. It is easy to apply using a polyfoam pad that is sprayed first with a QD. be sure not to use more than a nickel size dot for each panel, you let it dry for 30 minutes, and then you buff it (using a MF towel wet with a QD will make this much easier). Application instructions for Klasse Sealant Glaze.

You could also use Klasse on glass and plastic (it is only recommended for painted surfaces though), but aquapel is really the proven product for front windshields and vindico is even better than aquapel. if you are going faster than 35 mph, you will not need wipers! It is much better than RainX.

Use Wolfgang Instant Detail Spritz to make the application (spray on the polyfoam) and buffing (use the plush side of the MF and spray with the Detail Spritz) easier. Use polyfoam sponge to apply since lint free. See for instructions

These are the best instructions I've found:

There are other products like C1, Opti-Coat, and CQuartz but since Klasse is just once a year, that's hard to beat. See for a comparison of these products.

But 22PLE is much better protection.

Paint chip repair
Chipex and

I like the Dr. colorchip kit a bit more, especially the squeegee optional accessory which is really clever for not spreading the paint all over the car (see  )

Do polish, do not wax, then do Dr. Colorchip. See . let paint sit for 5 to 10 minutes.

See also this FAQ before doing the repair: The paint has a 1 year shelf life. Do not wax for a week. Prepare surface by washing and then with rubbing alcohol. Need a clean dry surface.

I think the key is to prep the surface (removing all the wax residue, etc...) and wipe the newly applied paint immediately until it is smooth and flat and then give it ample time to dry. Then, using their finisher liquid, you can't rub or you will take off your new paint..just gotta wipe gently until the excess comes off.

See for caveats (works less well on silver paint or if the chip is larger than an eraser head).

My color color for my 2013 Silver is PMSS Starlight Silver Metallic aka SAN SIMEN SILVER. See is a review of ScratchWizard (someone using it).

Scratches (like keyed cars) claims Quixx is the only one that works on deep scratches (just not down to the primer).

ScratchWizard claims to be great, but I couldn't find any reviews anywhere.

Dents & Dings in Campbell, CA is very highly rated shop if you want professional results.

22PLE products: glass coatings for paint (alternative to full paint armor)

See People are raving about this. This is the cheaper, but less protective alternative to Xpel Ultimate. Last 2 years. 30ml will cover the entire car easily.

Use for paintwork, rims, metal trim and plastic trims.

One reviewer wrote:

As previously stated - this product is fantastic. I was overdue for a new layer of protection and was very intrigued by this new 22ple VX1 Pro Glass Coating. I figured it would be a great test to apply it now and see how it holds up through the upcoming Midwest winter. It claims about 2 years of protection, so I'm very hopeful that it will still be perfect after the winter months.

The application of this product was a breeze - far easier than I had anticipated. Simply pour a small amount onto a foam applicator, then apply to a section of the car using straight line motions, wait 3-5 minutes, and it buffs off as easy as any sealant (probably easier!) that I've ever used. It took me about an hour to coat my entire car initially. I then waited 6 hours and then applied a second coating to all horizontal surfaces. I used about 70% of the 30mL bottle so I still have plenty left. If this product lives up to it's durability claims, then this is truly a game changer in the detailing world. With such ease of use, I can't imagine ever going through the struggles of maintaining my paint any other way.

After the product was fully cured (5 days), the gloss was absolutely amazing. The car had not been washed (or cleaned in any way) for the 5 days of curing and it still looked perfect. Reflections were like looking into a mirror. The water beading capabilities were fabulous as well. I drove the car in the rain and when I got home it was nearly dry because the water simply glides right off of the surface.


22ple is revolutionizing the way cars are being protected. As an authorized installer, I've seen extraordinary results on my client's vehicles. The deep gloss and wet-look results are just as impressive as the unmatched long-lasting protection. 22ple VX1 is undoubtedly at this time the easiest, long-lasting protection available. I highly recommend it, unless insanely glossy cars are not really your cup of tea.

The high silica-content glass coatings are applied to the paint in a thin layer as a liquid, and once cured, 22ple literally leaves a hardened glass barrier between the paint (or other protected areas) and the harmful elements. So not only does this glass barrier provide a brilliant gloss and shine, it offers a level of protection to your car that can’t be equaled by any wax or sealant. While most carnauba waxes last only a month or two, and sealants upwards of 4-6 months, you can expect 18-24 months durability with 22ple Glass Coating!

Paint armor (paint protection films PPF)
You can actually paint armor the entire car. Just have someone who is a professional do this since it must be dust free, perfectly done, and you need four people to apply it.

StarShield is the installation company Tesla has contracted with to install the clear protector. Avery is the film used on the Tesla.

Surprisingly, you want to put sealer over the paint armor

Avery Nano Fusion film is what they use.

many owners are going for the Xpel Ultimate. I paid $1395 for full front coverage - XPEL Ultimate, full hood, full fenders, full bumper, full nose cone, and side mirrors. All edges fully wrapped. XPEL Ultimate is self healing. If you scratch it, come back 20 minutes later it is gone. Best product on the market. It carries a 10 year warranty against, yellowing, cracking, peeling, staining, and hazing, covering both film and labor. XPEL ULTIMATE is truly the most revolutionary Paint Protection Film ever invented! Depending on how the film is cared for, the clear coat can last indefinitely. Regular washing and waxing will keep the clear coat in top condition for years to come. If ordinary car wash or soap and water will not remove a stain, there are a variety products available to do the job. In most cases simple isopropyl rubbing alcohol will remove anything on the surface of the film. See for a list of dealers.

In my case, Force Field, he's local in San Jose, his name is Greg Simms 408-691-6791. He does wraps for the local Ferrari dealers! He only does Xpel Ultimate because NOTHING else comes close for a paint protection film (PPF). $6500 to wrap the entire car; $2000 for just the front end. So if money is no object PPF's are clearly the way to go (unless you spend your time showing off your car at car shows). But a more practical option would be to Xpel the front end, and use 22PLE for the rest of the car.

Here are the questions I had:

Do most ferrari’s have a full wrap or just the front section? If not full, what is the rationale for not doing a full wrap?

Advantage to not doing a full wrap (other than cost)? Might be a line on the trunk.

What if someone “dents” my car (actually deforms the metal)? Do you have to remove film, pull out dent, and then restore film? A: have a professional remove the PPF, fix it, reapply the PPF.

Once the PPF is on, is there really any value at all to adding a sealant like Klasse Sealant Glaze on top of the film? Or is that overkill because everything is easy enough to remove including bird droppings, tree sap, bugs, etc. or will a sealant make it easier to clean? Do you apply  sealant over your own PPF or leave as is? Yes, you can apply a sealant include 22PLE.

How long do you have to have the Tesla for to complete a full wrap? A few days.

Read more:

Most films on the market are around the same thickness. Between 8-8.5mils(.008"). And very few of them can resist yellowing. Yellowing is caused when contaminates get into the pores of the film giving it a yellowish hue. The solution for yellowing is to prevent contaminates from sticking to the film. The two ways Ultimate accomplishes this are with having low surface energy and solvent resistance. Having low surface energy makes the film slippery and resistant to things sticking to it. It's similar to the way teflon pans work. And, like Stealth 993 said it's also solvent proof. If something does happen to stick to it you can use practically anything to remove the contaminants or debris including acetone or lacquer thinner.

Unlike most paint protection films on the market, XPEL ULTIMATE Paint Protection film can be waxed and sealed just like your paint. Though XPEL Flawless Finish Paint Protection Film Sealant is still the preferred product, Any automotive wax or sealant may be used.

The 3M crystaline will yellow over time. The Avery will not. The Avery film comes with a lifetime warranty against the yellowing. For installers, see:

Paint protection films are meant to be applied and left on the vehicle as a shield for up to 5 years.

Most paint protection film is UV transparent so the rate of fading on the paint below should be the same. It's also why it's important to put wax or paint sealer on the whole car, including the wrapped parts, to add UV protection and to make sure that the paint fades the same (no tan lines).

Advice on caring for PPFs in general, although XPEL is self healing (very impressive if you key it):

  • Don't go through car wash
  • Handwash it
  • Don't use pressure washer
  • Remove stains, bugs, etc. ASAP with quick detailer or they will stain the film
  • Do not use potent chemical degreaser, tar remover or brush
  • After drying the bra after a wash, simply spray polish on its surface (quick detailer is fine or Plexus plastic polish and cleaner is ideal)
  • You can clay it if you are using clean clay
  • You can use a porter cable on it without any restrictions. You can also use a rotary, but if you don't keep it moving, you will burn through the XPEL (just like you will destroy paint with the same bad technique).

Clay Magic
Buy on A
mazon for $9 Simoniz S57 Perfect Finish Detailing Clay Bar. Wash the car first before you clay. Use quick detailer sprayed on the surface as a lubricant. This is the best clay to buy.

Lubricate first, then apply clay while lubricating. Do not use water.

After clay is dirty, fold the clay in.

Press hard only if you need to. Stop when feel smooth. Wash car after claying.

wipe off with waffle weave.

Clay removes water spots (early), bird poop, other contamination.

wash, clay, (option wash). Use hand in plastic bag to check. polish will not remove the same kind of stains.

some people use polish afterwards because clay can mar the surface since it is slightly abrasive.

clay is abrasive and while not as abrasive as polishing by machine, it can indeed remove some of a wax or sealant. Just consider your rubbing something against your paint. It is best to wash, clay, polish (or paint cleanser on well kept paint) and protect.

Paint cleanser is like a very fine polish.

Mounting front license plate options
But I used the stock Tesla mount. I think it looks about the same.

Cleaning cloth seats in my Nissan Leaf
303 High Tech Fabric Guard & Cleaner Combo (i.e., 303 FVC (fabric/vinyl cleaner). The Guard is supposed to be better than ScotchGuard. Rinse off the cleaner after cleaning! See: Alway spray into MF, never directly on the surface.

Use1:1 for engine degreasing, 10:1 for carpet cleaning, 20:1 for cleaning interior plastics/trim, you name it. Very versatile, the gallon jug will last a LONG time.

A cheaper and perhaps better alternative is: Tuff Stuff Multi Purpose Foam Cleaner for Deep Cleaning.  When it foams it pulls dirt out. We finalize it with a little spray of water and wet/dry vac so we don't leave any soap in the vehicle.

Using a spray detailer to remove Light Dust, Fingerprints and Smudges

Leather care instructions from Swissvax manual
From Swissvax: Most people only buy clean and milk. Use in this order: cleaner, glaze, milk. Only need to glaze areas that need it, but over glazing over glaze won't hurt. Clean, glaze, milk because if you milk before the glaze, it will seal in too much moisture. Milk is designed to go through the glaze. Do NOT over apply the glaze. The cleaner is pH neutral and will not damage the glaze. The glaze does seal the leather but the leather milk has oils which the glaze allows through, the milk also keeps the glaze looking as it should. If you apply the milk first it can make the leather oily which could hamper the bonding process for the glaze.

The glaze will not cause water to bead, but it will prevent water and oil from soaking "into" the leather. First try to wipe off oils, etc. with damp MF, or use the cleaner. If the oils don't come off, it's likely time to clean and re-glaze.

The Swissvax heavy duty cleaner will strip the glaze, but the normal light duty cleaner will not.

Glaze depending on usage. If you use car often and have oily hands, you might need to re-glaze the steering wheel every 3 months and the seats every 6 months.

Glazing need test: sprinkle a few drops of water, let sit for 5 seconds, then wipe the surface dry.  Uncoated leather will absorb the water pretty quickly and there will be a dark spot in that area. With coated leather, the water pretty much stays on the surface and either evaporates (if thin layer), or you wipe it right off leaving no trace at all on the leather.

Clean: 1. Shake the bottle thoroughly before use.2. Spray Leather Cleaner onto a clean cotton cloth or directly onto the surface to be cleaned. Applying medium pressure, wipe the surface in one direction only. 3. Clean stubborn soiling by spraying on Leather Cleaner and working it in with a Swissvax Cleaning Brush in a circular motion. 4.Wipe dry in one direction with a soft cotton cloth. Do not rub! 5. Allow leather to dry completely and then treat with Leather Milk.

Milk: 1. Remove dirt with leather cleaner 2. Shake the bottle thoroughly before use. 3. Apply Swissvax Leather Milk evenly with a dry cotton cloth or a Swissvax Cotton Applicator (white). 4. Leave to soak in and do NOT BUFF it. See

Glaze: 1. Clean the leather with Swissvax Leather Cleaner. Degrease and clean areas to be treated with leather ben - zine (orlighter fluid). 2. After cleaning or dyeing the leather, apply a thin coat of Leather Glaze carefully using a clean sponge applicator, working from seam to seam. 3. Repeat the above step, if necessary. 4. Staining from clothing may still appear, but it can now be easily removed as it is left on the Leather Glaze coating and not on the leather itself. 5. The next day, treat the leather with Swissvax Leather Milk (unless you already did because these instructions are meant for standalone use; the order really doesn't matter but it is interesting that the manufacturer isn't consistent about the order). DO NOT BUFF.

Leather care
Myth buster - many leather products market themselves on how they feed or condition leather. In fact your car's leather seats are first coated with a very fine emulsion (pigmentation) to give them the desired color and then a clear urethane coating. So for best longevity you should be keeping that coating hydrated and as well protected as possible. For example, Lexol won't work for auto use because it can't penetrate the topcoat which is why it isn't listed in the auto care section of their website.

Tesla uses Nappa leather on the Model S with a protective coat. Nappa leather is a kind of aniline leather, so an aniline leather maintenance kit would be perfect to care for your Nappa leather goods.

Manufacturer Regular Clean More clean (for stubborn stains) Moisturize (after clean) Protect (to renew the clear coat)
Leather Master Soft Clean Strong clean Vital Protection Cream (or Barrier Cream for light colors to also protect against dye transfer)
Swissvax Leather cleaner ($49 for 250ml) Leather Cleaner Forte Leather Milk ($59 for 250ml)

Use after cleaner. Also works after Glaze. Apply every 6 months.

Leather Glaze (protects against dye transfer just like Barrier Cream)

So since I don't get stuff dirty, I'll just start with cleaner, Milk, and Glaze. per Swissvax manual:

Swissvax Leather Glaze leather seal ensures that new leather remains as good as new. It dries within minutes, leaving no shine or change in colour. With the application of Leather Glaze, wear and tear on leather can be greatly reduced, because the colourless protective film minimises the effects of friction. The driver’s seat, steering wheel and gearstick are the areas most exposed to noticeable wear, which even becomes visible soon after the purchase of a new car. These areas should be treated early on with Leather Glaze. Leather Glaze is also ideal for protecting light-coloured leather from denim marks. Even though they will still appear, they can then be easily removed with Leather Cleaner and cause no lasting damage, as is otherwise the case.

Note the instructions in the Swissvax manual for the Glaze say to apply Milk after the Glaze, but the instructions for the cleaner say to appy after the cleaner and before the Glaze. I think this is because they always want you to apply the Milk, but it's going to be easier after cleaning and before sealing.

These three articles are the best I've seen (written by Togwt):

Hydration of finished leather says you want to keep the leather moist. That is the #1 thing. You don't need any product to do that other than a fine mister and distilled water (since only water vapor will penetrate the urethane coating). And you never want to over hydrate the leather (like leave the window open when it rains). That will destroy it. This is why Tesla is right about using a damp cloth with water. This is key!

Ensure that the surface of the finished leather is clean and dust-free. Fill a fine mist atomizer spray bottle (Kwazar Mercury Pro) with distilled water; lightly mist the surface and then using a damp 100% cotton towel wipe the surface.

Monthly leather hydration of cars in Florida, Texas and Arizona, especially during the summer months, would not be out of line. In a northern climate or during winter months the interval between conditioning could be extended 90 to 120 days.

Do not overhydrate (leave the window open in a rainstorm or leave wet). hen they dry they may not shrink back and revert to their original form and so become more brittle and distorted. Unfortunately at this stage it may be impossible to rectify. Although water (hydration) is good for leather and is what keeps it in good condition generally when its fibres become over soaked they swell and become deformed. When they dry they may not shrink back and revert to their original form and so become more brittle and distorted. Unfortunately at this stage it may be impossible to rectify.

Hydration occurs from an elevated moisture level in close proximity to the leather. Leather likely absorbs more moisture through the back side than the top side. Moisture is the lifeblood of leather and the elevated humidity level in the vicinity of the leather is what restores the softness and suppleness of leather I don't for a minute think any oils or waxes penetrate that topcoat.

Leather is severely stressed in automotive use. It sees temperatures from below zero to over 150 degrees F. When it gets hot it loses moisture. When it dries out it shrinks and when it re-hydrates the fibers swell and return to normal. This process causes wrinkles, creases and after a while cracks in the topcoat.  Avoid heat and the sun as much as possible, is about all one can do

Note that the water vapor makes total sense. This is why Leatherique works so well: they tell you to leave it in a HOT car. That's so the water vapor penetrates. I wonder if you could put distilled water in a water vapor machine and achieve the same effect?

Leather restoration: tells you how to restore the color and to restore the topcoat. Basically:

  1. Kwazar Mercury Pro + spray bottle with distilled water to hydrate the leather on a regular basis (due to the fine mist).

  2. Leather Magic DT-152 or Leather Master Color Prep & Cleaner to remove oils and topcoat

  3. Swissvax Leather Healer if you need to apply color

  4. Swissvax Leather Glaze (Colorless) is the urethane protective coat very useful for keeping steering wheels new

    Use after renovation of finished leather’s pigmentation, this clear top-coat has a dramatic impact on leather, reducing signs of wear. The colorless, clear protective layer provides a matte finish and protects finished leather, keeping it looking 'as new'. It's a must-have product particularly on areas which get the most use, such as steering wheels, leather seats and gear stick knobs.

Removing stains from leather has various products such as:

  1. Leather Master Rapid S Cleaner or Super Remover ((P-Protected / Coated) is a concentrated cleaner specifically designed for automotive leather (including Nappa and Perforated) that have accumulated dirt, soil, and dye transfer and suntan or body oils.  Dispense foam onto the car seats, work foam into the surface with a dampened sponge, allowing it to sit for one minute and wipe the foam away with a clean 100% cotton micro fibre towel, and then protect with Protection Cream once dry do not allow a leather protection product to dry as it can leave spotting  But this is strong stuff. Leather Master Soft Cleaner or Leather Strong Cleaner is more routine cleaning.

  2. Leather Master Protection Cream: to protect the surface after it is cleaned.

  3. Leather Master™ Refinish (Leather Clear Coat)...  not sure about this.

Leather Master Leather Barrier is like the Protective Cream, but it provides additional protection against dye transfer so perfect for light colored seats. Amazon reviews confirm it works.


The soft cleaner isn't much better than a damp cloth according to Amazon reviews, so if the leather isn't dirty, can just use a damp cloth.


The Leather Master Universal Cleaner is especially made for p type "protected" leathers.

Leather cleaner and conditioner (this is old. see Leather care)
Confusing because leather has a coating on it so presumably the conditioners don't penetrate. However Zaino Z9 and Z10 are supposed to work.

You can tell if it is real leather because you will (eventually) be able to cracking in real leather. Fake leather doesn't crack.

Easiest to use a damp MF towel as tesla recommends.

Good idea to use a leather cleaner (to get off the oils of your hands, etc) and conditioner (to keep the leather from drying out and cracking). You an use a leather conditioner on vinyl, rubber, tires, wipers, But not vice versa.

Lexol conditioner seems very popular. Unlike most, doesn't eat the stitching. The non-light leather (like the dash) isn't real leather. But it doesn't matter much since you can use all the leather products on vinyl safely (you may just be wasting your money if you use leatherique on vinyl though).

Lexol: most like it; a few think it leave sticky residue, but it didn't for me.

Leatherique: tricky to put on: cover your seatbelts with cling wrap film and cover your carpets with old towels as this stuff will stain belts and carpets. Needs to bake for many hours at a high temperature. People love the results. Restores really bad leather.

Zaino Z-9 and Z-10: seem very easy to use and inexpensive. Unless your leather is in bad shape,Zaino should be fine.

Here's the confusing thing:

All leather equipped cars since the 1990s now are leather top coated for protection. There are 2 types. Are Honda leather seats urethane coated or vinyl coated? Is the steering wheel coated also? Depending on the top coating there are different products. For example Aerospace 303 is recommended for vinyl coated leather. Some people recommend Zaino Z10 for urethane coated leather. Most other conditioners like Lexol and other OTC brands will not penetrate through the protected leather top coatings.


Microfiber care tips says:

  • machine wash warm or hot. mild detergent. NO FABRIC softener
  • ONLY put the MF towels in the wash and dryer. Don't mix with anything else.
  • Air dry is best (i.e., avoid the dryer). If in dryer, use no or low heat.

Tesla info

To Reboot the touchscreen: hold down both scroll wheels for 8 secs

If your recent calls don't sync, unpair at the car and at the iPhone (remove the devices). Then start over. Don't ask me why this works.

Light grey part is leather. The darker (like on the dash) is synthectic leather and requires no maintenance.

Clean with non-detergent soap.

To clean touch screen, use a rich MF and fold over so no capacitance and it won't actuate the touch screen. I use just a MF moistened with distilled water and it is enough to take out fingerprints which was surprising.

The dot matrix on the touch screen is the touch sensors (can see in the proper light).

UV winshield is in the glass (In particular, the windshield of the S looks clear but includes a solar shield film in the sandwich to reduce UV and heat load through that large, horizontal-equivalent area). So if you use Fastrak, then you must order the license plate mount on-line. Don't mount the standard fasTrak transponder in the nose. It is NOT waterproof. Use the license plate. Note that you will need to use screws that are longer than the the stock ones (by about the width of the FasTrak transponder).

Only 2500 contacts allowed. Not sure if Tesla will fix this. On some iPhones, can goto Bluetooth>Tesla, and pick contact group to sync

Brake noise is normal if pump brake (hydraulic refresh).

I got my parking sensors installed by Sound Innovations in Hayward, CA ((510) 471-9062). First class job. Couldn't be happier. Get the visual indicator (lights) option. You will be sorry if you don't. This allows the annoying beeps to warn you once, rather than continuously. Go for the wide placement of the sensors.

Paint code can be found on your drivers door on the tire pressure sticker at the very bottom (PNT:  PMSS means my paint code is PMSS). Cold pressure if 45psi.



  1. what kind of leather coating does Tesla use?
  2. How long does that coating last?
  3. Is that coating on all the leather (seats, steering wheel, etc)?
  4. will any of these products make a difference? Z-10? Leatherique?

To do

Ask Tesla about conditioning/cleaning the wiper blades: how to position to do this.

Auto Geek orders

I also ordered Simoniz clay magic bar from Amazon since autogeek didn't carry it (just the bar since I can use quick detailer as the clay lubricant).

And I ordered a Dr. Colorchip system.from Dr. Colorchip.



 Qty  Product Code - Product Name                                    Price 


 2    LC-99-BIGBLUE - Lake Country Foam Car Wash Sponge              11.98

 1    GG-DUAL-C-1 - Grit Guard® Dual Bucket Washing System -        119.99

                      (Wash and Rinse)

 1    MG-CART - Meguiar's Detailing Cart                            149.99

 1    AQ-47100 - Aquapel Glass Treatment & Rain Repellent             7.99

 1    GMP-7601 - Glass Master Pro Glass and Surface Cleaner          19.99

 1    DP-75Q - Detailer's Quart Foamaster Foam Gun                   59.99

 1    DP-801 - 128 oz. Detailer's Xtreme Foam Formula                54.98

 1    G-03V - Single Brass Connector Shut Off Valve                   6.99

 1    G-09QC - Brass Quick Connector Set                              9.99

 1    G-09QCM-3 - 3 Qty Brass Male Quick Connects                    12.99

1    COBRA-WW1627 - Waffle Weave Microfiber Glass Towel              9.99

 1    COBRA-600DLX-3 - 3 Qty 16x24 Inch Super Plush Deluxe M         29.99

 1    PIN-620 - 16 oz. Pinnacle Micro Rejuvenator Microfiber         14.99

 1    KL-02 - 16.9 oz. Klasse High Gloss Sealant Glaze               19.99

 1    MC-79GY - Grey Supreme Micro-Chenille Wash Mitt                 9.99

 1    PIN-100 - 16 oz. Pinnacle Bodywork Shampoo                     24.99

 1    WG-4500 - 16 oz. Wolfgang Instant Detail Spritz w/Spra         19.99

 1    MV-MB-3CD - Metro Master Blaster 8hp                          339.99

 1    MF-SS7525G-6 - 6 Qty Super Soft Deluxe Microfiber Towe         17.99

 2    WA-100 - Yellow Foam Wax Applicator                             3.98

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