I see conflicting information on whether or not Windex (or ammonia-based glass cleaners) is harmful for the windshield. For example, thoughtco claims:

In reality, auto shops and auto-glass replacement vendors report no such problems with auto glass that has been cleaned routinely with ordinary household glass cleaners containing ammonia. ...

While automobile windshield glass is constructed with a lamination process that bonds separate layers to a vinyl center layer in order to make the windshield shatter resistant, the outer surfaces are still plain old-fashioned glass, and they can be cleaned just like any other glass surfaces in your home. ...

To take the question further, we might also ask about what effect ammonia-based glass cleaner will have on other surfaces. Very close to the glass in your car windows there are rubber or vinyl seals, paint, and chrome trim. And inside the car, you likely have leather, vinyl, all sorts of plastics, and maybe even wood. Through long experience, car care specialists have found that ammonia may hurt very, very old paint jobs if they have already severely dried out. But even fairly worn rubber and metal trim does not seem to suffer at all from the contact with ammonia cleaners. Your windshield wipers, too, will largely be unaffected by glass cleaners, unless they are already so old they are on the verge of disintegration anyway.

On the other hand reliableglassaz claims:

Windex is not recommended for use on the inside of your windshields because:

  • The ammonia it contains leaves streaks on auto glass. This creates a glare while you drive, possibly making it difficult for you to drive comfortably
  • Ammonia is harmful for tinted windows. As a matter of fact, it can ruin tinted windows. In the long run, the ammonia will cause the tint to peel off.
  • Ammonia dries out the plastic and rubber parts of the windshield which can become loose and detach from the windshield.

The answer to Is it bad to use household window/glass cleaners to clean the windshield? claims:

Don't use ammonia-based cleaners

  • They will shorten the useful life of windshield wiper blades and rubber seals
  • They dry out rubber and plastic
  • They can damage window tint

However, the link this answer relies on is dead.

Which is correct?

  • Ammonia will harm WINDOW TINT, specifically, the plastic tint sheets installed by the dealer or other vendor. They use ammonia to remove old tint before installing new. Factory installed tint is part of the glass, not a plastic layer on the interior surface of the window. So, if you have non-factory tint don't use ammonia on it. If you don't have that tint, keep in mind the other cautions, damaging rubber and plastic, etc.
    – Tim Nevins
    Apr 23, 2019 at 20:51
  • Unless you're spraying on an ammonia-based cleaner and then using the windshield wipers to clean the glass, I don't see how it could harm the wipers. This would include using it in the wiper fluid tank.
    – BillDOe
    Apr 23, 2019 at 22:24
  • Water, newspaper and elbow grease work fine
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 23, 2019 at 22:30
  • @SolarMike you grease your windshield? ;)
    – Caius Jard
    Apr 24, 2019 at 18:02
  • A native English speaker's term...
    – Solar Mike
    Apr 24, 2019 at 18:03


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