How to Clean Harley Windshield


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How To Clean Harley Windshield

Are you a Harley-Davidson biker looking to clean the windshield of your bike, but you don’t know how to? If yes, then this is just the right place for you to be. 

How to clean Harley windshield is a common question that almost every Harley-Davidson biker has when they’re cleaning their bike for the first time. To clean the windshield, you need to start by soaking paper or cloth towels in water and laying them on the windshield. Leave them for a while to soften the dried dirt or bugs. Lastly, use a cleaning cloth made of microfiber, cotton flannel, or terry cloth to wipe off the surface and give it a glittering shine. Avoid using paper towels as they can be too aggressive. It would be better to use a clean cotton T-shirt as a last-resort choice.

In this article, you will get to know all about cleaning the windshield, how to clean Harley Windshield, how to polish the windshield, how to keep the windshield in perfect condition, and more. Continue reading to get all the answers that you are looking for.

Cleaning the Windshield Of Your Harley-Davidson Bike

Unlike the windshields of a car that are made of glass, Harley-Davidson windshields are plastic, which makes them prone to damage and easier to scratch. For this reason, it’ll be crucial to get safe cleaners that will clean your vehicle properly. With the right product, you’ll be able to clean and protect the windshield from dust, dirt, and water, while ensuring a clear view during rides.

Harley-Davidson With Windshield

To keep your bike’s windscreen in a good condition and make it function properly for a long time, it needs to be properly taken care of. After every ride, all dirt and insects must be thoroughly removed, as they impede visibility and reduce the comfort of riding. Even though most windshields are made up of highly resistant acrylic materials or polycarbonate, sometimes, a deeper scratch can weaken the strength of their structure. This can lead to irreversible damage. A surface covered with scratches will be more susceptible to cracks caused by strong impacts (such as stone chippings). To avoid such situations, you’ll need to know how to clean Harley windshield. 

How to Clean Harley Windshield

Choose the right cleaning products

Both acrylic and polycarbonate motorcycle windshields can be cleaned with cleaning products that are free from alcohol, abrasives, and ammonia. It isn’t recommended that you should use petrol or alkaline cleaners for this purpose, as they might react with the material. They can end up causing microdamage in its structure or mist on the inside surface of the windscreen, which might reduce its high transparency.

The chosen product must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, the cleaning product must be applied in the recommended quantity. Additionally, it is important to observe the time after which you should rise the cleaner.

Use large amounts of water

You should precede basic washing by rinsing the windscreen with lukewarm water. It’ll allow you to get rid of dust that can scratch the windshield and soak off the remaining dirt and dead insects. What is more, during the cleaning process, it is recommended that you should sprinkle the windshield from time to time to prevent the cleaning agent from drying. In the end, you should rinse it with lukewarm or cold water for removing the remains of a cleaning agent completely.

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Choose the right method of cleaning

Generally, most people make circular movements while cleaning their bikes. As far as washing the windshield is concerned, this method fails the test and does more harm than good. You can achieve better results by wiping it from side to side. This will cause pulling off the dirt out of the edge of the windscreen instead of rubbing it into the material of the windscreen. Insect bodies often stick to plastic strongly and can damage the top layer of plastic because of the corrosive acids in their shells.

Reach out for safe accessories

Only microfiber cloths and soft cotton cloths are suitable for wiping the windshield of your bike. Unlike the wiper or squeegee, they don’t cause streaks or increase the risk of scratches. Contrary to appearances, paper towels aren’t exactly the best solution. They are pretty stiff and the surface is somewhat rough, which means they could scratch smooth surfaces. They will also leave behind any unsightly threads and small particles.

The heated windshield might soften, and the cleaning agent located on it might affect the chemical composition of the material, which could lead to its tarnishing. For that reason, it isn’t advised that you should perform the procedure of washing in broad sunlight. It is recommended that you should choose a shaded area for cleaning and wait for a while until the windshield cools down before applying the cleaning product.

You must avoid using gas station squeegees or cleaners of unreliable brands. Check the motorcycle maintenance manual to make a list of available cleaners approved for cleaning windshields.

APC is the universal solution for most cleaning tasks. Usually, APC comes with a neutral pH and won’t damage the plastic windshields of your Harley-Davidson bikes. They’re also suitable for cleaning other parts of your bike. If you’re looking for a universal cleaner for any part of your Harley-Davidson bike, then this is it.

Carry out the cleaning

First, you need to apply the cleaning agent on the windshield. This will help in removing the dirt.

When you’re cleaning your Harley-Davidson bike’s windshield, you should begin by soaking cloth towels in water and laying them on the windshield. Leave the towels there for 15–20 minutes to soak through and soften the dried-on bug guts and dirt. After that, scrape off any stubborn bits with your fingernail. However, remember that you aren’t wiping them off with a rag, or you could scratch the very surface you’re trying to clean.

Using a cleaning cloth made of cotton flannel, microfiber, or terrycloth and make sure it is clean. Clean the windshield properly so that no layer of cleaner remains. Remember, paper towels will be too abrasive and could damage the windshield surface. Shop rags might look clean, but they can pick up metal chips and any scratchy stuff that remains even after a thorough washing. If you don’t have a clean cloth, you should use a cotton T-shirt as the last-resort choice for wiping off the windshield.

Features to Consider When Buying a Windshield Cleaner

Even though buying a windshield cleaner might seem easy at first, there are numerous features to keep in mind. These features will help you separate reliable windshield cleaners from the rest.

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1. Effectiveness of the product

 The effectiveness of the cleaner is the basic and most important parameter to consider. Cheaper and diluted cleaning agents could be good for removing a thin layer of dirt, but when you need to fight dried insects, it’ll be worth having a second cleaning agent that safely dissolves the insects and helps you clean thoroughly.

2. Safety

Remember that before purchasing a new windshield cleaner, it’ll be worth reading the reviews. It isn’t recommended that you should test new, unknown cleaners on the windscreen as they might cause streaks and tarnishing.

3. Simple to use

A good and effective motorcycle windshield cleaner needs to be simple and pleasant to use. If you’re in the process of choosing a windshield cleaner, you should try avoiding products that require multiple steps and are quite complicated. Further, expensive products that you’ll spend half a day applying to your bike aren’t always better than the cheaper, easy-to-use products.

4. Size of the bottle

The size of the bottle will depend on where you’ll be cleaning the windshield. It’ll be cheaper to purchase one big bottle of cleaner than to buy several small ones. However, if you’re going to be traveling with the product, it doesn’t make sense to purchase a huge bottle as it’ll consume a lot of space.

If you’re cleaning the windshield in the garage, it is recommended that you should purchase the largest one. The products designed to be diluted with water could also be an interesting option. You can even purchase them in 5-liter cans and pour the prepared solution into a small bottle and take it along on the road.

5. Additives

Often, they are small cloths or gloves for protecting the windscreen from scratching and all sorts of other tools that facilitate the application of a cleaning or polishing agent. It’ll be worth ensuring that there aren’t any scratching stickers or tags present on the cloth before you start cleaning.

Advantages of Using Cleaning Agents for Windshields

  • Cope well with dirt and dust by dissolving it
  • Cleaning agents are designed for removing rigid stains 
  • They are easy to apply and use
  • They’ll leave a protective layer on the windshield to facilitate the next washing 
  • Some of them smooth out the scratches
  • Don’t contain any chemicals that could damage the windshield 

The only drawback would be that they’re quite expensive compared to regular soap. Many people use soapy water, but it doesn’t protect the windshield. Sometimes, it even leaves water streaks and stains on the windshield.

How to Keep the Windshield in Perfect Condition

Having respect for the rules of use and maintenance will provide your windshield with a longer life. Further, it’ll give you the comfort and pleasure of riding a classy Harley-Davidson bike. This will translate to less frequent visits to service centers and reduce the number of treatments your windshield will require.

First, you shouldn’t park your bike in a sunny place. If you’re forced to park in the sunlight, you must cover the windscreen with something like a veil or a piece of fabric. You shouldn’t forget to do so, especially if the windscreen is damaged or if the UV protection coating has lost its properties.

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Secondly, you need to polish the surface. You shouldn’t use any strong chemical cleaning agents or rough materials. When you’re polishing, you must make gentle circular motions that aren’t very sweeping. Remember that this procedure shouldn’t be carried out too often as this might damage the protective coating. If you do not have the experience, it is advised that you should take the help of a specialist.

Lastly, you need to clean the windshield from time to time. Wash it after every ride before the dead insects and dirt particles get dry. If that happens, first, you should soak the dried dirt and wait for some time. Then, clean it using cleaning products, a soft cloth, and warm water. Remember that the surface should be rinsed multiple times.

How to Polish Your Harley Windshield

Unfortunately, even if you take care of your bike’s windscreen properly, you won’t be able to protect it from scratches. If you frequently ride your bike, it is inevitable that your windshield will get dirty. When you’re riding, your bike gets exposed to the impact of insects, gravel, sand, or small pebbles.  However, the problem could be overcome by skillful polishing.

Scratches can easily be removed by using water sandpaper and gradually increasing granulation. Then, you need to rub a polishing paste into the matted surface using a polishing machine or soft cloth. Performing this procedure will require time, skills, and patience, so it’ll be better to take the help of a professional. 

It should not be practiced too often as it could cause abrasion of the outer layer of the surface. The windscreen will gradually lose its optical properties and a protective coating. Using the wrong product or technique could cause irreversible damage to the coating. If there are deep scratches, the only way forward would be to replace the damaged windshield with a new one.

Alternatively, you can still try and fill the cavities with a special hardenable material introduced into the gap under pressure. However, it is an expensive solution and usually unprofitable. Further, it will require a visit from a professional.


Does WD 40 clean windshields?

While cleaning the windshield can be done in a few minutes at a gas station, sometimes, you might want something slightly stronger than a simple cleaner. To achieve that, you should spray a bit of WD-40 on the rough spots of your windshield and clean it like you normally would.

Which is windshield washer fluid?

Windshield washer fluid or also known as windshield wiper fluid, screen wash, wiper fluid, or washer fluid is a fluid for motorcycles used for cleaning the windshield with the wiper while your bike is being driven.

Can you use vinegar for cleaning the windshield?

Yes, you can use vinegar for cleaning the windshield. White vinegar does tremendously well when it comes to cutting through dirt, oil, and other residues. However, it needs to be combined with water to provide maximum effect.

Is it okay to wax the windshield?

Yes, you can apply a thin layer of wax on your windshield. Applying wax regularly will help protect the windshield from external elements. A nice coating of wax will repel any rain, dust, insects, and more while you’re driving.

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White Star Rides is your go-to Harley-Davidson expert. We live and breathe these bikes. Our team has years of experience in fixing, riding, and loving Harleys. We know every part of these bikes and love sharing what we know with you. Whether it's about fixing a problem or just enjoying the ride, we're here to help. Trust us to make your Harley journey better and easier.

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