How to clean a motorcycle windscreen properly?
Table of contents:
How to clean a motorcycle windscreen / windshield properly?
In order to keep your motorcycle windscreen in a good condition and make it fulfill its function well for a long time, it should be properly taken care of. After each ride, all dirt and insects should be thoroughly removed because it may impede visibility and thus reduce comfort of riding. Although most of screens are made of highly resistant acrylic materials or polycarbonate, unfortunately a deeper scratch is able to weaken the strength of their structure and thus lead to irreversible damage. A surface covered with many scratches is more susceptible to cracks caused by strong impacts, e.g. stone chippings, so to avoid such situations, you need to know how to protect the windscreen from them, how to remove already existing scratches and, most importantly, how to clean your windshield properly.
Cleaning the motorcycle windscreen / windshield - instruction and tips
Choose the right cleaning products.
Both polycarbonate and acrylic motorcycle windshields are cleaned with products that are free from alcohol, ammonia and abrasives. It is not recommended to use petrol or alkaline cleaners for this purpose, as they may react with the material e.g. cause micro damages in its structure or mist on the inside surface of the windscreen which may reduce its high transparency. The chosen product should be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions and applied in the recommended quantities. In addition, it is very important to observe the time after which it should be rinsed.
Use large amounts of water.
Basic washing should be preceded by rinsing the windscreen with lukewarm water. This will allow you to get rid of dust that could scratch the windshield (during wiping it off) and soak off any remaining dirt and dead insects. What is more, during the cleaning process we recommend to sprinkle the windshield from time to time in order to prevent cleaning agent from drying, and at the end rinse it with lukewarm or cold water to remove the remains of a cleaning agent completely.
Choose the right technique/method of cleaning.
Generally, most of us make circular movements while cleaning, although as far as washing a motorcycle windshield is concerned, this method completely fails the test and does more harm than good. Much better results will be achieved by wiping it from one side to the other because it causes pulling off the dirt out of the edge of the windscreen, rather than rubbing it into the material from which it is made. Insect bodies tend to stick to plastic very strongly and can often damage the top layer of plastic due to the corrosive acids in their shells.
Reach for safe accessories.
Only soft cotton or microfiber cloths are suitable for wiping motorcycle screens. Unlike the squeegee or wiper, they do not cause streaks or increase the risk of scratches. Contrary to appearances, popular paper towels are not the best solution - they are quite stiff and their surface is somewhat rough, so they can scratch smooth surfaces. They also leave unsightly threads and small particles behind.
The heated windshield may soften, and the cleaning agent located on it may affect the chemical composition of the material, which will lead to its tarnishing. For this reason, it is inadvisable to perform the procedure of washing in full sun. So, we recommend to choose rather a shaded area for cleaning and wait for a moment until the windscreens cool before applying the cleaning product.
Avoid using gas station squeegees or any cleaners of unknown origin. See the motorcycle maintenance manual, in order to make a list of available cleaners approved for windshield cleaning.
APC - is the universal solution to most cleaning problems. Usually APC has a neutral pH and will not damage plastic windshields. They are also suitable for cleaning other parts of the motorcycle. If you are looking for a universal cleaner for any part of your motorcycle, this is it.
Although buying a windshield cleaner may seem easy at first, there are a lot of features to keep in mind if you really want to separate the good ones from the bad. Let us now discuss all these features in more detail:
Effectiveness of the product: this is the basic and most important parameter. Cheaper diluted cleaning agents will be good to remove small dirt but when you have to fight with dried insects, it is worth having a second agent that safely dissolves the insects and slowly move us to the next part of cleaning.
Safety: remember that before buying a new product, it is worth to read some reviews. It is not recommended testing new and unknown cleaners on our windscreen as they may cause streaks and tarnishing.
A good and effective motorcycle windshield cleaner should be simple and pleasant to use. If you are in the process of choosing a cleaner, try to avoid products that require multiple steps and are complicated. Expensive products that you will spend half a day on applying them are not always better than cheaper, easy-to-use products.
The size of the bottle depends on where you are going to clean your windshield. It is obvious that it is cheaper to buy one big bottle than several small ones, however, if you are going to take the product with you, it does not make sense to take up precious luggage space with 1-litre bottle. But when you clean your windshield in the garage, we recommend buying the largest one. Products designed to be diluted with water can also be an interesting option. You can even buy them in 5-litre cans and pour the prepared solution into a small bottle and take it on the road.
Additives. Often these are soft cloths or gloves to protect the windscreen from scratching and all kinds of other tools that facilitate the application of a cleaning or polishing agents. It is worth making sure that there are no scratching stickers or tags on the cloths before starting cleaning.
Advantages of cleaning agents specially used for motorcycle windshields:
-Cope well with dust and dirt by dissolving it
-They are designed to remove water stains
-Features an easy application
-They leave a protective layer on the windshield which facilitates the next washing
-Some of them smooth out scratches
-Do not contain chemicals that damage our windshield
The only drawback is that they are expensive compared to regular soap. Most people use soapy water but it will not protect our windshield and may leave water streaks and stains on it.
How to keep the windscreen / windshield in perfect condition?
Respect for certain rules of use will provide your motorcycle screen a longer life and give you comfort and pleasure of riding a motorbike. This, in turn, will translate into less frequent exchanges and reduce the number of renovation treatments that you would have to do. So, what should we do to keep it unchanged as long as possible?
First of all - do not park the motorcycle in a sunny place, and if you are forced to do so, at least cover the windscreen with something (a veil or a piece of soft fabric). Do not forget to do it especially when the windscreen is damaged or its UV protection coating has lost its properties.
Secondly - carefully polish the surface. Do not use strong chemical cleaning agents or rough materials. During polishing, make gentle, not very sweeping, circular movements. Remember that the procedure should not be carried out too often, as this may damage the protective coating. If you do not have experience, in this regard, we advise you to use the help of a specialist.
Thirdly - keep the windscreen clean. Wash it after each ride before the dead insects and other dirt get dry. However, if this happens, firstly soak the dried dirt and wait for a while. Then, clean the dirt using special cleaning products, a soft cloth and warm water; remember that the surface needs to be rinsed several times. Follow the above mentioned guidelines, and you will be able to enjoy the good condition of your windshield much longer.
Motorcycle windshield is getting yellow.
Unfortunately, motorcycle windshields are exposed to many external factors that may destroy them. The most popular ones include: UV rays, dirt, dead insects or insect debris, scratches weakening the protective coating and multiple polishing of the windshield surface. Due to these factors, the windshield made of polycarbonate can turn yellow. This process is practically irreversible because polycarbonate is very hard to polish. Of course, it is worth trying, because this process is very simple and will help slightly improve the appearance and transparency of our windscreen, but it will never return to its factory appearance.
For the process of polishing, we will need: a polishing machine (you can polish by hand, but it is an extremely painstaking job), polishing paste, wax and a set of microfibre cloths.
We start the process with washing the windscreen thoroughly, then spreading the polishing paste evenly and start polishing at medium speed. After polishing, we carefully wipe the polish residues with a microfibre cloth and apply the wax in circular movements so that our polishing space stays clean for longer. Depending on the type of wax, wait a few minutes for it to harden and rub it with a soft cloth. The effect will certainly be better than before, but do not expect it will look like a new one. However, if the yellowed windscreen still bothers us, the only solution is to buy a new one, preferably made of acrylic. Although the acrylic windscreen is a little less durable, it is easy to polish, resistant to yellowing and even three times cheaper to buy.
Here you can read more about the best material for a motorcycle windshield.
How to polish a motorcycle windscreen / windshield?
Unfortunately, even if you take care of your motorcycle windscreen properly, you cannot protect it from scratches. With frequent use of the motorcycle, it is inevitable because while riding it is exposed to impact of insects, sand, gravel or small pebbles. However, the problem can be overcome by skillful polishing.
Scratches are most often removed by using a water sandpaper, gradually increasing granulation. Then, it is needed to rub a polishing paste into the matted surface using a soft cloth or polishing machine. Performing this procedure requires skill, time and patience, so it will be better to seek professional help. This method, however, works in case of not very deep scratches. And as we have already mentioned, it should not be practiced too often because it causes abrasion of the outer layer of the surface, so that the windscreen gradually loses its optical properties and protective coating. Using the wrong technique or product can irreversibly tarnish the coating!
Unfortunately, as far as deep scratches are concerned, the only way is to replace the damaged windshield with a new one.
Before buying a new screen, read also What to pay attention to when buying a motorcycle windscreen or wind deflector?
If you are looking for a windscreen for your motorbike, please check our offer!
Alternatively, you can still try to fill the cavities with a special hardenable material (resin), introduced into the gap under pressure, but it is an expensive solution (usually unprofitable) and requires a visit to a professional moto-detailing company.