How to clean wiper blades

If your wiper blades aren’t clearing away rain, sleet or snow as effectively as they should, sometimes a quick clean is all you need. Cleaning wiper blades takes seconds, but can dramatically improve your safety on the road – giving you a crystal-clear view of what’s ahead of you (and behind you).

In this expert advice guide, we describe the steps you should follow when cleaning your wiper blades, and what to do if they need to be replaced.

What you’ll need to clean your wiper blades

To clean your wiper blades, you will need:

  • Rags, a sponge or paper towels
  • Bucket of warm, soapy water or washer fluid
  • Surgical spirit

Before we kick-off the cleaning, whatever you do, you shouldn’t be cleaning your wiper blades with WD40, ever. WD40 is a water-displacer which, if you use it on your wiper blades, will leave streaks and marks and won’t clear away the rain, but will make it worse.

You have been warned!

Steps to clean your wiper blades

Step 1: Give your car and windscreen a clean

Use hot soapy water, a hose or jet washer to give your car – and especially the windscreen – a proper clean.

Step 2: Lift the windscreen wiper arms

Pull back the windscreen wiper arms and lock them into position. They should stay up on their own, giving you the chance to clean them. If not, hold them in place while you wipe down your wipers.

Step 3: Wipe down the wipers

Add some hot soapy water to your rag, sponge or paper towel and gently glide it up and down the wiper blade. If you have access to it, undiluted washer fluid is also an effective cleaner.

The rubber can be fragile, so be careful not to damage it or pull it off. If you’re using paper towels, discard them after each swipe up or down the wiper.

Keep wiping until there’s no dirt left on your rag, sponge or paper towel.

Step 4: Clean the rest of the wipers

Sometimes it’s not the wiper blades causing streaks, but a dodgy mechanism that’s causing the blade to stick to the windscreen.

Use hot soapy water to clean the wiper arms and mechanism. Clear away any dirt, debris or potential obstructions that could cause your wipers not to perform correctly.

Step 5: Remove soapy water with surgical spirit

It’s essential to remove any soapy residue that might be left before using the wipers, so give them a final swipe with surgical spirit.

Cleaning wiper blades with white spirit isn’t advisable.

Can I clean my wiper blades using vinegar?

There are lots of articles online about cleaning your windscreen wiper blades with vinegar and it really does work.

Instead of using warm soapy water to clean your blades, you can use a mixture of water and vinegar instead. The vinegar and water mixture cleans the wiper blade rubber. It softens it too, making it suitable for wiper blades on cars that may have sat for a while.

If you do choose to use vinegar to clean your wiper blades, you’ll need to wipe them down with a damp cloth to remove the vinegar mixture before you start driving.

What to do if you need replacement wiper blades

Cleaning your wiper blades is a temporary solution that can provide a streak-free finish for your windscreen. But, no matter how much you wash your wiper blades, they’ll need replacing at some point.

Fitting replacement windscreen wiper blades is a simple job that you can perform at home, with a little help from Halfords. If you need a new set of front or rear wipers, check out our windscreen wipers buyers guide, or use our windscreen wiper blades finder which will identify the replacement parts you need.

Alternatively, bring your car to any Halfords store, and we’ll fit your choice of replacement blades for £4 each or £5 for the pair.

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