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Here's How To Effectively Clean Your Windscreen Wiper Blades - And Get The Most Out of Them

They may be responsible for cleaning your windscreen, but they also need a clean themselves once in a while. In this article, we reveal how to properly clean and maintain your windscreen wipers.

    • Like any part of your car, your windscreen wipers will need cleaning regularly to make sure they are performing effectively.
    • A build-up of dirt or grit can damage your windscreen if left unchecked, so it pays to give your windscreen wipers some special attention.
    • Cleaning your windscreen wiper blades is easy and shouldn’t take you long to do, especially using our simple guide which we’ll take you through.

A clean windscreen is essential for good visibility on the road. Thankfully, your windscreen wipers are dedicated to this purpose.

Though sometimes, they’ll need a helping hand. We’ve put together a handy guide to cleaning your windscreen wipers, so you can enjoy better cleaning results and longer use.

Read on if you want to become a pro at cleaning your windscreen wiper blades!

Why do windscreen wipers need cleaning?

Your windscreen wiper blades may be responsible for cleaning your windscreen, but they can only do the job well if they’re clean themselves!

This means that from time to time when performing the usual routine of washing your car, you’ll want to spend some time cleaning your wipers too.

It’s simple to do and won’t cost you much time. Plus, it goes a long way towards making sure you get the best from your blades before your next replacement.

It’s important to clean your windscreen wiper blades because over time and with regular use, dirt and debris can become trapped under your blades. This could then cause them to miss spots on your windscreen, or worse - leave scratches.

Take extra care in the winter months when the road gritters are out, as this can damage your wipers - and corrode your paintwork.

The benefits of cleaning your windscreen wipers

By regularly cleaning your windscreen wiper blades, you’ll enjoy several benefits including:

    • Enhanced performance - a bit of cleaning here and there will make sure your wipers can perform at their best
    • Better cleaning results - which will help your wipers to retain good contact and pressure over your windscreen
    • Optimised lifespan - clean windscreen wipers will last longer enabling you to get the most out of them
    • Protecting your windscreen from damage - a clean windscreen and wipers will protect the screen from damage

Cleaning your windscreen wipers not only protects them from excessive wear, but also your windscreen, which can be costly to fix.

What you’ll need to clean your windscreen wipers

Ready to make your wipers shine? To clean your windscreen wipers you’ll only need a few items:

    • A sponge, rags or paper towels (whichever you prefer)
    • A bucket filled with warm soapy water or washer fluid
    • Surgical spirit for rinsing

In terms of what you use to clean your windscreen wiper blades, there are a few different options. You can keep things simple and use warm soapy water or use a water and vinegar-based mixture.

Whatever you do, don’t use WD40 to clean your windscreen wipers. This is a common technique suggested by many online sources, though it can actually be more harmful than it is helpful.

WD40 is a water displacer which will leave streaks and smears if used on your windscreen, making it harder to wipe away the rain.

Now we know what’s needed to clean your windscreen wipers, here are the steps you should follow starting washing:

1. Give your car a general clean -

Using hot, soapy water paying special attention to the windscreen area.

2. Gently lift your windscreen wiper arms -

Raise your wipers slowly and carefully from the windscreen until they lock into a standing position. If they don’t lock, you’ll need to hold them yourself while you clean. If you prefer, you can remove your windscreen wiper blade to make the cleaning process easier. Though you’ll need to be able to clip these back into place securely.

3. Clean your windscreen wiper blade -

Using your chosen cleaning materials, gently wipe up and down the windscreen wiper, making sure to be gentle with the rubber blade. Do this until the sponge or rag you are cleaning with comes away clean (if using paper towels, use a new towel for each wipe).

4. Clean the wider mechanism -

After cleaning the blade, next move onto cleaning the wiper arm and mechanism. There could be dirt trapped in these areas as well which can often cause sticking. Again, take your time and make sure not to be too forceful to prevent damaging your windscreen wipers.

5. Rinse down your windscreen wipers -

Now, take your surgical spirit and rinse off any suds or residue from cleaning your wipers. This is especially important if you choose the water and vinegar cleaning method. Avoid using white spirit for this as this is less effective and could cause damage.

6. Put your windscreen wipers back into position -

Once your windscreen wipers have had a chance to dry, carefully lower the blades back into place on your windscreen. If you’ve removed your blades during cleaning, you may want to quickly test them to make sure they are secure.

And that’s it! Your simple guide to cleaning your windscreen wipers. Ready to give it a go?

Windscreen wiper blade FAQs

How do I stop my windscreen wiper blades from smearing?

Smearing may be corrected by giving your windscreen wipers a good clean using either hot soapy water, or surgical spirit. If this isn’t resolved after cleaning your wipers, this may be a sign for a replacement. Read more on how to tell when it’s time to change your wipers.

Why are my windscreen wipers not touching the glass in the middle?

      Gaps between the bottom of your windshield wiper and the windscreen can be caused by worn out rubber. Most windscreen wiper blades are made from natural rubber which deteriorates over time. When this happens, it can start to impact performance. The best solution to this will be to fit a new set of windscreen wipers to your vehicle. Use our
registration input tool
      to shop new windscreen wipers for your vehicle.

What is the best thing to clean windscreen wipers with?

Hot, soapy water or surgical spirit are the best substances for cleaning windscreen wipers. You can also use mix water with some vinegar as a homemade cleaning solution. Whichever you choose, make sure to rinse down your windscreen wipers thoroughly to remove any residue. You’ll also want to avoid getting some of these substances on your paintwork as these may cause damage.

Is shampoo good for windscreen wipers?

Some people use shampoo diluted with water to create a cleaning solution for their wipers. Though we recommend only using hot, soapy water or surgical spirit for the job. These are the safest and most effective ways to clean your windscreen wipers and are less likely to damage them during the process.

What does Vaseline do to windscreen wipers?

Petroleum jelly, or Vaseline as it’s more commonly known, can be used in small amounts to help soften the rubber component of your windscreen wipers. This is particularly handy for vehicles which have been parked in direct sunlight for long periods of time, which can cause the rubber to harden.

Why do my windscreen wipers rub against my windshield?

This may be caused by friction due to a pressure imbalance between your wiper and windscreen, and you may notice a squeaking sound as a result. The rubber along the length of the blade may have worn out, leading to this uneven contact, meaning the best way to correct it is through a replacement.