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How to Stop Your Windshield Wipers from Streaking

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Car windshield wipers leaving streaks

Streaking might be funny at a soccer game, but it’s downright annoying when it happens on your windshield thanks to your wipers. Not only is it annoying, but it’s super dangerous too. It impairs your vision so you can hardly see the road in front of you.

The best way to stop your windshield wipers from streaking is through a little preventative maintenance and cleaning. Clean your windshield and apply a waterproof coating. Clean your wipers and replace them annually. Consider upgrading your wipers and wiper fluid to get a longer-lasting and higher-quality streak-free windshield.

Don’t worry, I’m here to help you get rid of streaking windshield wipers once and for all. I have 11 tips for you to try out. Let’s get started.

Understanding Your Windshield Wipers

I’m not going to insult your intelligence; you probably already know how the whole wiper situation works. Your wipers are just long rubber-covered metal pieces that swivel on your windshield.

There’s some fluid that’s great at keeping the process lubricated and getting rid of rain or dirt. The glass itself is the final link. The windshield needs to be wet during the process or else you’ll run into issues.

Every time the wiper runs across the glass, the rubber degrades a little. Add on the fact that they are positioned on the outside of the vehicle at all times, and you’re left with wipers that need to be replaced pretty routinely.

Why Streaking Occurs

Streaking across your windshield is a sign that your wipers are getting overworked. They can only handle so much water and so much dirt before they throw in the towel.

The bottom line is that your blades might not be at their peak efficiency, and you could have dust and dirt hiding all over your windshield. Throw these two factors together and you’ll definitely get streaking.

At the end of the day, a wiper is just some rubber and metal that slides along your glass. Due to its simplicity, there’s some extra maintenance that you have to do in order to keep everything running smoothly.

Car windshield wipers leaving streak marks

How to Stop Windshield Wipers from Streaking

There isn’t a single solution to stop your windshield wipers from streaking. The first step is to figure out why it’s streaking before you solve the issue. Here are 11 ideas to think about and implement in order to get a streak-free experience.

Keep the Windshield Clean

The first point is one that I can’t stress enough: keeping your windshield clean. A lot of that windshield streaking is thanks to dust and dirt that’s all over your glass.

I would suggest using a window washing fluid-like Windex on the exterior and interior of your glass. Just make sure you leave the doors open for the inside, so the fumes don’t get you.

Rub the chemical cleaner into the windshield using circular patterns and be sure to dry it with a microfiber towel. Letting it air dry will probably lead to streaks, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid, here.

You should get into the habit of doing this semi-regularly to avoid streaks in the future.

Cleaning the car windshield with a soft cloth

Try Cleaning the Blades

If your glass is clean and you’re still getting annoying streaks, you can blame the wipers. These rubber blades can get dirt on them and then they’ll just smear across the glass.

Cleaning the blades is just as easy: use a cloth in a bucket of warm water and dish soap. Wipe the blades and try your best to not get the soapy water on your windshield (it will undo the cleaning process you just went through).

Dry the blades with a towel and try them out.

Don’t Forget to Use Your Wiper Fluid

If you’re cleaning bird poop or dirt off of your windshield, don’t forget to use the wiper fluid — that’s what it’s there for, after all.

Trying to clean it by just running the wipers will probably just smear the mess around. It will also dirty up your glass and wiper blades, so you’ll have to repeat the previous two steps.

Re-filling the car windshield fluid

Use Some Water Repellent

My favorite discovery in the past few months is a windshield glass treatment from Rain-X[LINK]. It uses a little bit of science to protect your windshield.

When water hits your windshield, it will form droplets rather than lines down your glass. These droplets will just fly away as you drive or activate your wipers. This keeps dirt away from your windshield and keeps your wipers cleaner in the process.

One of my buddies hates running his wipers so he just applies a Rain-X treatment every week and it works for him.

Replace Your Wipers Annually

You should get into the habit of replacing your wipers every year. My trick is to keep the old box so I know the size and brand that I purchased so I can quickly replace it.

Replacing your wipers is a 5-minute process and doesn’t even require any tools. In other words, never go to a mechanic for this because they’ll essentially steal your money.

Even if you don’t think your wipers are bad, replace them anyway. It will prevent streaking and a dangerous lack of vision in the future.

Replacing the car windshield wipers

Upgrade Your Wiper Fluid

The other part of the equation is the wiper fluid that you use. Rain-X also sells a product that gets added to your wiper fluid to help keep everything streak-free.

Or you can just buy the premium wiper fluid that Rain-X sells which does the same thing.

A high-quality fluid will improve how well your wipers and windshield work.

Rain-X White RX11806D Washer Fluid Additive-16.9 fl. oz, 500. ml

Rain-X White RX11806D Washer Fluid Additive-16.9 fl. oz, 500. ml

Rain-X 2 Pack 2 in 1 All Season Washer Fluid

Rain -X 2 Pack 2 in 1 All Season (-25) Washer Fluid Net Wt 255.63 Fl Oz, 255.63 Fluid Ounce

Inspect Your Wipers Every Month

I always like to give my wipers a quick look-over once a month. I’ll flip them up and just look for signs of damage, corrosion, or dirt. If I see anything, I’ll either replace the wipers or just clean off the dirt.

It might be nice to pair a monthly wiper and windshield cleaning together. Inspect everything before cleaning it all up (by using the steps previously described in my list).

Replace a Cracked Windshield

If you have a cracked windshield, you already have enough reasons to replace it. To add fuel to the fire, a crack in your windshield could be storing a ton of dirt that’s getting distributed across your glass, causing the streaks.

A pretty sneaky place for the dirt to hide, I know. At any rate, you should replace a cracked windshield ASAP.

Never Run Wipers Across a Dry Windshield

If you take anything away from this guide, it should be this: never run wipers across a dry windshield. Ever. It works like sandpaper and does a ton of long-term damage to your glass.

A dry wiper on dry glass can make micro-scratches on the glass. This might not seem like a huge deal, but it will propagate over time. Every bump in the road makes these little scratches worse until they’re massive cracks on your glass that demand a replacement.

It all starts with running your wipers at the wrong time — scary, right?

Windshield wiper on the rear of the car with dirty dry streaks

Stop Running Icy Wipers

Equally as bad as dry wipers on a dry windshield is an icy blade on an icy windshield. I know how tempting it is to just spray your icy windshield with fluid and let the wipers do all the work. Sure, it works, but it can also do lasting damage to your blades and glass.

For one, the blades will wear almost immediately, forcing you to prematurely get a new pair. In addition, the glass will get damaged from the coarse ice.

It’s always best to let your defrosters do their job before anything else. After all, idling your car for a few minutes isn’t a bad thing at all.

Consider Getting Premium Wipers

Finally, think about getting some upgraded wipers. They cost extra money, but they work a lot better and prevent streaking for longer.

This year, I put on some upgraded Bosch Icons and they’re working really well. Just make sure you get the right size, but Amazon should automatically check your car for compatibility.

My wiper hasn’t streaked once since I put them on.

Bosch ICON Premium Wiper Blades

Bosch ICON Premium Wiper Blades


Hopefully, this guide helped you. Try out my 11 tips and see if your windshield becomes streak-free. I’d love to hear how it worked for you in the comments below. As always, check out my list of recommended products to improve your car-owning experience. Explore the rest of my page for more car guides.

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Ernest Martynyuk

An automotive enthusiast who's been tinkering with vehicles since I was 15-years old. Repairing automotive electronics has been my main job for over a decade now and have a passion for everything technical regarding cars.

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