Motorcycle windshields are especially vulnerable to all sorts of damage from the road. Not only are they superb bug-magnets but they also tend to wear way worse over time due to the fact that they are made out of plastic. On top of that, they also experience quite a lot of fading and discoloration. While the best motorcycle windshield cleaners might not get you the first-time crystal clear view out of the windshield back, most of them are great against bugs, dust, and other debris. Some options even include special polymers that bond to the windshield’s plastic and buff out the surface scratches.
Below, I will rank some of the top models for 2021’s riding season and compare them all by their most notable features, advantages, and disadvantages. So, without further ado, let’s just straight into it!
Best Overall – Plexus Plastic Cleaner, Protectant, and Polish
The Plexus Plastic cleaner, protectant, and polish is one of my favorite products currently on the market. It is a well-known cleaner among aviation and boat enthusiasts as well as motorcyclists. While it definitely isn’t on the cheap side of the spectrum, it provides one of the best all-in-one experiences you can ask from your cleaner. It works great on clear plastics by making them even more transparent but also does wonders for colored plastics that are found all over your bike.
One of the best qualities of this cleaner is that it also has a repairing effect on plastic windshields. It will seal tiny surface scratches as well as the normal pores in the polycarbonate or acrylic windshields with its wax particles. That will leave a thin protective layer that will make the windshield more slippery to air, dust, and debris (as well as bugs). It is extremely easy to use thanks to the aerosol form factor it comes in. This prevents leaks, evaporation, dripping, or stuffed nozzles which are common with cheaper pump and squeeze cleaners.
It comes in quite a lot of different size options that are all money-savers. And considering the price of this cleaner, getting more of it for the price of less is definitely a bargain. As a whole, this is something that will cover all bases for your motorcycle windshield and will also leave long-lasting protection against future damages. If money isn’t the issue, it is worth having this in your garage.
- Easy to use
- Comes in a variety of money-saving packages
- Cleans protects and polishes all kinds of plastics
- Seals microabrasions relatively well
- Can be used on all parts of your bike
- Makes the windshield more resistant to bugs and debris
- Works on foggy headlights too
- A bit expensive
- Long-term effects aren’t stellar
Budget-Friendly – Meguiar’s M1708 Mirror Glaze
Meguiar’s is one of the best-known detailing brands on the market and they’ve earned their reputation through decades of stellar car vehicle maintenance products. Their Mirror Glaze M17 Clear Plastic Cleaner is the perfect weapon against deeper stains, fogging, and light abrasions on your windshield. It also works on polycarbonate or acrylic surfaces that have become yellow over the years.
This particular cleaner has a light pH neutral formula that features non-abrasive particles which bond with the plastic surface of your windshield and remove all types of surface scratches and swirls. When applied, it also helps with the prevention of further defects such as hazing or scratching. While it is mostly meant for plastic windshields, it also does wonders with other uncoated plastic surfaces on your motorcycle such as your instrument cluster, headlights, stop lights, and more. One thing that I don’t like is that there aren’t a lot of size options with this cleaner. You can only get it in its original 8 oz package and that still costs more per oz than most other cleaners out there.
Meguiar’s also offers you their Mirror Glaze M10 Clear Plastic Polish and the M18 Detailer as part of the three-way cleaning procedure of your bike’s windshield. The polish will add even more transparency while also applying a small static-free layer that will repel dust and small bugs from damaging the plastics. The M18 detailer will remove even deeper grooves and scratches while also adding a long-lasting shine. If you decide to get these three products, start with the Detailer, then move to the Polish, and then use the Cleaner every other time you need to quickly wipe of something from the windshield. While this trio of products is great, it definitely comes at a price and is one of the most expensive options. Still, if you aren’t on a budget, this is a solid bet.
- Great all-round cleaner
- Ideal for instrument clusters, windshields, and headlights
- Leaves protective layer
- Deals with light swirls and micro scratches
- Relatively easy to use
- Practical size for traveling
- Doesn’t work great on helmet visors
- Doesn’t remove deeper scratches and swirls
- Doesn’t come in any other size options besides 8 oz
Eco Friendly – Rolite RPAC16z Plastic & Acrylic Cleaner
The Rolite Plastic & Acrylic Cleaner is one of the most narrowly specialized products on this list. It is one of the best cleaners when it comes to non-porous non-coated transparent plastic surfaces. That means all headlights, helmet visors, instrument clusters, and most importantly – windshields. It also works on other plastic and acrylic surfaces such as lucite, plexiglass, mylar, and polycarbonate surfaces.
Additionally, it can be used on glass, aluminum, stainless steel, or even chrome elements. All in all, it is a great cleaning agent for most plastic and non-plastic parts of your motorcycle. The specific formula used in this cleaner is a streak-free one and has a good effect even after just one application. It also leaves a protective layer that prevents dust and bugs from sticking to the windshield or headlight again. It also works great on reading glasses, face shields, or other types of surfaces that might fog up or attract dust.
The Rolite cleaner comes in a familiar squeeze and spray bottle with a comfortable handle and a size of 4, 8, or 16 oz. There is also a 1-gallon refill container that really gives you a great deal for your money, while the smaller bottles really aren’t the cheapest out there.
- Comes in a variety of sizes
- Excellent for acrylic and polycarbonate windshields
- Cleans and buffs a variety of other surfaces
- Very easy to use
- Squeeze and spray bottle
- Leaves a protective layer
- Works on face shields and goggles
- Not very cheap
- Not great for risin surfaces
Best Value For Your Money – Plane Perfect Eyes Outside Plastic and Glass Windshield Cleaner
The Plane Perfect Eyes Outside Plastic and Glass windshield cleaner is one of my favorite cleaners out there. It comes in a convenient 16 oz spray bottle as well as a 1-gallon refill bottle. Apart from being a relatively good bang for your buck, it is also one of the easiest products to use out there. It works as easily as Windex or other alcohol-based cleaners, even though it has a safe formula that will clean and protect most plastic surfaces.
In addition to being a straight-forward cleaner, it is also a polish and protectant that will prevent swirls and scratches from happening after more aggressive wiping or constant cleaning of the said surface. It works on plexiglass, acrylic, lucite, acrylic, Lexan, glass, or any other type of shiny surface around your motorcycle. It was specifically developed for the aviation industry where the need for clear easy to see through windshields is very high on the priorities list.
The protective layer also leaves an anti-static coating that will resist dust and fingerprints. This makes the Plane Perfect cleaner good for satellite navigations or other types of screens, as well as instrument clusters. The brand also offers a myriad of other products that are initially designed for planes but also work wonders on motorcycles.
- Excellent cleaning capabilities
- Leaves a long-lasting shine
- 3-in-1 functionality
- Anti-static properties
- Ideal for a wide range of surfaces
- Comes in a comfortable 16 oz bottle and a refill bottle
- Easy to use
- The 16 oz bottle is a bit expensive
- The nozzle tends to start dripping over time
Travel Option – All Kleer Premium Plastic Polish & Cleaner
The All Kleer 8 oz Premium Plastic Polish & Cleaner is another example of how aviation products can be ideal for motorcycle maintenance. This plastic cleaner is one of the best all-in-one products since it does pretty much everything the rest of the products on this list do. It easily cleans a wide range of surfaces, it leaves an anti-static protective layer, it has mild polishing capabilities, and most importantly – it prevents fogging up of your windshield. It also works great on glasses, helmet visors, headlights, clusters, and more.
One more thing that this cleaner is really good at is dissolving bug residue. Bug bodies tend to stick to plastic very badly and they can often even damage the plastic’s top layer due to the corrosive acids found in their shells. The All Kleer cleaner dissolves grease and bug residue easily and removes most stains with just one application. Moreover, it doesn’t even need water to do its job and you can work with it on the go with just a soft wipe.
While the formula tends to handle a lot of issues, it still remains non-abrasive and non-petroleum-based. It also lacks ammonia or other alcohol substances such as the ones found in cleaners like Windex. That also makes it safe for windshields that have tint on them. As a whole, if you don’t specifically want a spray bottle, this windshield cleaner is one of the nicest all-in-one products you can get for your money and it will have universal application in your garage not only for your bike’s windshield but for almost any other type of shiny surface.
- Excellent all-in-one product
- Works on tinted windshields
- Dissolves bug residue easily
- Non-abrasive neutral formula
- Ideal for all sorts of surfaces
- Can clean in a waterless manner
- A bit expensive
- Doesn’t come in a variety of size options
- No dispenser
Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine
The Optimum No Rinse Wash & Shine is an all-purpose cleaner that is good for all sorts of surfaces including windshields. This cleaner features a unique formula that doesn’t require you to rinse the solution from your motorcycle after you’re done using it. That makes it easier to use and also far more convenient to take with you on the road.
The short-term effect of this cleaner is that it easily deals with dirt and bugs. Long-term wise, it adds shine to all of your motorcycle surfaces and has a protective layer on top of them that will make it harder for dirt and dust to stick. The cleaner doesn’t come with any types of accessories but can be generally applied with any type of soft sponge or edgeless detailing cloth or towel.
The good thing about this cleaner is that it comes in a variety of sizes. This makes it quite the bang for your buck, as you can save a lot of money by getting the 32 oz to 1-gallon kits (even a case of four 1-gallon bottles). On the contrary, the 8 oz will cost you a lot compared to the rest but is extremely packable and you can count on it on a long road trip when you’re going to need it. As a whole, this is quite the unique cleaner that can also save you a few bucks from needing an additional shampoo for the bike’s body. With its pH neutral formula, it is good for all sorts of materials, including plastic.
- Fast effect
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t require you to rinse it
- Comes in a lot of packages
- Relatively budget-friendly
- Can be used as an all-purpose cleaner
- Not a special windshield cleaner
- Doesn’t have a dispenser or pump
- The long-lasting protection isn’t great
Best against fogging – Quick Sheen Anti-Fog Spray
In today’s world, people use masks and face shields more than ever. Since these fog up constantly, the need for good anti-fog cleaners that work on plastic surfaces has risen tremendously. The Quick Sheen Premium Anti-Fog Cleaner has quickly become one of the favorites in this area thanks to its relatively budget nature and top-notch cleaning capabilities. Not only does it clean polycarbonate and acrylic surfaces very well but it also leaves a protective coating that prevents condensation or otherwise known as “fogging”.
The anti-fog layer also doubles as a protective layer against dust and debris and is static-free meaning it will repel most dust from catching onto your windshield. The spray is also great for your headlights, for your helmet’s visor, instrument cluster, and any other uncoated plastic surface you have on your motorcycle. It has a pH-neutral formula without any abrasive surfaces on it. This ensures it will keep delicate plastics from swirls and micro scratches but it also means that it will lack the ability to remove surface scratches and buff out surfaces.
While the spray is relatively easy to use, it does need a few applications before the effect is truly visible. There are quite a lot of package options that will all save you money. The base model comes in a handy and packable 2 oz travel bottle. You can also choose from 8oz, 32oz, and gallon refill sizes. These save you a ton of money and are great if you have multiple vehicles that you want to take care of in your household. You can also use the quick sheen spray on a vast range of other items like swimming and snowboard goggles, reading or computer glasses, rifle scopes, medical face shields, and more.
- Ideal for all plastic surfaces
- Leaves a protective anti-fog layer
- Comes in a very convenient 2 oz package
- Leaves the windshield shining
- Has relative rain repellent effect
- Takes a few times to truly work
- Doesn’t work great on glasses that fog up
- Leaves streaks if not applied correctly
Best Motorcycle Windshield Cleaners Buyer’s Guide
Motorcycle windshield cleaners originate from the aviation industry since the need for a chemical-free solution to clean the plane’s acrylic or polycarbonate window first appeared there. Later on, boats and motorcycles began integrating the same plastic materials for their windshields. As time went by, better and more complex cleaning solutions were formed and in the last 10-20 years, the industry truly went through a revolution as more and more companies entered this industry.
Nowadays, there are quite a lot of types of windshield cleaners and all of them have their individual sets of pros and cons. Let’s check out which are some of the main ones now…
Types of windshield cleaners
Motorcycle windshield cleaners nowadays can be divided into 6 different groups. They are all good in different areas and there are quite a lot of products in the last few years that combine more than just one of these properties. Still, these types are:
- Plastic (acrylic) cleaners – These are the most basic type of windshield cleaners. They are made specifically with plastic windshields in mind and will do a good job at cleaning bugs, dirt, and dust from the windshield.
- Scratch removers – These cleaners take things a step further. They have added polymers that can bond to your windshield’s grooves (scratches). When they attach to those grooves they essentially fill them up and repair the uneven surface. The results aren’t always great when it comes to deeper scratches but they do a great job against fine surface scratches.
- Protectants and Polishes – If just cleaning isn’t enough for you, I highly suggest getting something that will also polish the windshield and apply a protective layer on top of it that acts similar to ceramic layers for cars. Typically, these protective layers last up to a few weeks and will make removing bugs much easier with just a wet wipe or water and soap after a long ride.
- APCs (all-purpose cleaners) – APCs are the universal solution to most of your cleaning issues. They are typically pH neutral and won’t damage plastic windshields. They are also good for cleaning other parts of your bike. If you’re looking for a universal cleaner for every part of the motorcycle, this is it.
- Anti-fog cleaners – These cleaners are typically a big expensive and work in a similar way as the protectants but instead of a protective layer, they apply an anti-fog one that prevents fogging up of your windshield.
- All-in-one cleaners – As their name suggests, these cleaners try to blend all of the above-mentioned properties in a single bottle. As the saying goes – a jack of all trades but master of none, they are good at most things but aren’t excellent as some more narrowly specialized cleaners. Add to that their higher price tag and you got yourself a bad selling recipe.
Based on their physical properties, we can also separate cleaners into aerosol sprays, non-spray liquids, and creams. Still, creams and non-spray liquids aren’t as common and are most often used in waxing, protective, and polishing products. The majority of windshield cleaners will be in an aerosol spray form or a regular spray bottle.
Features to look for
While shopping for a windshield cleaner might look relatively easy at first, there are quite a lot of features to keep in mind if you want to really sort the good ones from the bad ones. Let’s discuss all these features in a little bit more detail now:
- Effectiveness & Results
- Safe to use
- Ease of use
- Size options
- Scratch removal
- Additional accessories
Effectiveness & Results
By far the most important parameter of a windshield cleaner is its effectiveness. Cheaper, more diluted cleaners will be generally good at handling dust and dirt. They will struggle against insects and harder stains, though. That is why you need to look at options that have stronger formulas and more active ingredients that will dissolve dirt and other debris while still maintaining a safe profile for the plastic windshield underneath. The effectiveness of a cleaner is also measured by its ability to leave a protective layer on top of the windshield that will keep it dust and bug-free for at least a few weeks.
Safe to use
Another factor that you should absolutely keep in your mind is how safe is the cleaner to your windshield. There are windshield cleaners that are marketed as all-purpose or “universal” but can contain certain chemicals that can damage polycarbonate and acrylic windshields. Polycarbonate windshields are more resistant to scratches but are also harder, making them less prone to the weaker windshield cleaners. Acrylic windshields are softer and easier to clean, and therefore they don’t require a cleaner that is as strong.
Ease of use
A good motorcycle windshield cleaner should be straight-forward and easy to use. If this is your first time buying a special cleaner for your bike’s windshield, avoid products that make you follow multiple steps for the cleaning process. Some scratch removers and polishing agents require a few steps to prepare the windshield as well as some after-care. On top of being more complex to use, they are also more expensive.
Size is important for a few factors. First, it determines the price-to-value ratio of the product you’re getting. Secondly, it determines how portable the windshield cleaner is going to be. If you are getting it for your garage, go for as large volume as possible. This will ensure a good deal for the money as well as enough volume to cover your bike maintenance procedures for years to come. Smaller cleaners will be more expensive but are much more practical and can fit in your bike if you want to have them with you everywhere you go.
If you’re preparing for a motorcycle trip, you should also include a small windshield cleaner in your list of items to take with you. There are some small 5-8 oz options out there that will fit practically anywhere and will be great to have when you are on the road.
Not only does a windshield cleaner needs to be non-abrasive but it also needs to be able to remove scratches. Now, not all scratches are created equal and some will be deeper than others with grooves that can’t be removed. Still, there are plenty of surface scratches that can be repaired with a cleaner that also includes polymers in it that will bind with the windshield and create a more even surface. Scratch removal cleaners are often much more expensive, though, so make sure you keep that in mind when setting up the budget for your bike protection products.
My recommendation would be to get a scratch removal spray, gel, or paste separately from your windshield cleaner. That way, you will get a better, more narrowly specialized product, and will also pay less in the long-run.
There are windshield cleaners that come with certain types of accessories. Most commonly, these are soft edgeless towels against scratching and other tools that help you apply or use the cleaning or polishing solution. If you get towels, make sure they have no hard edge or any harder stickers on them, as that can damage the plastic.
The price of windshield cleaners varies greatly thanks to all the substances that different brands used. Some will have polishing properties, others will be able to buff out tiny scratches from your windshield. Regardless, if you’re looking for a basic cleaner that will do its job and leave fairly long-lasting protection on the windshield, look for the cheaper and simpler options.
Now, let’s check out some of the most important benefits of using these cleaners…
Benefits of using special windshield cleaners
As a whole, the use of petroleum-based products, as well as alcohol-based ones such as Windex, isn’t recommended. Special motorcycle windshield cleaners have certain benefits to them. These are:
- They offer great amounts of protection against dust, dirt, and other debris by dissolving them. They also are made specifically to remove water spots which are a huge nuisance for any biker out there. On top of that, they leave a long-term protective layer on top of the windshield that will protect it from minor scratches and further accumulating more dust and bugs.
- Most of these cleaners are chemical-free in order to keep the plastic of the windshield safe. They were first developed to clean aircraft and boat screens which are also polycarbonate or acrylic.
- These windshield cleaners are very easy to use and are typically stronger than just using soap and water.
- Apart from the regular cleaning properties, some cleaners can also buff out scratches and even apply an anti-fog film on top of your windshield.
Of course, there are also a few major downsides. One of those is the fact that these cleaners are typically far more expensive than regular window cleaning solutions like Windex. This is why most people prefer using soap and water, as well as their pressure cleaner when cleaning the bike as a whole. Still, this can easily leave water spots and will struggle against deeper stains.
Brands to look for
There are a couple of brands that almost never disappoint with their cleaning and motorcycle care products. I can wholeheartedly recommend them as I’ve always used their products and they’ve always been great, despite being a little bit on the expensive side of things. These brands are:
All these brands specialize in all sorts of products that are specially designed for cars, airplanes, boats, and motorcycles. Their windshield cleaners in particular are among the best out there and often leave a long-lasting polishing look as well as decent abrasion-protection against small scratches. In other words, if you aren’t sure which product to get, these brands are going to always be a safe choice to go for!
If you want to learn how to winterize your motorcycle, make sure you check my article on the topic by clicking here!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you clean a cloudy windshield on your motorcycle?
If you’re using a special windshield cleaner, follow the instructions on the label. If you don’t have one in your garage, you can use a mixture of mild soap and warm water. First, soak the windshield and leave it like that for a few minutes. That should take lift up all the large and small debris from the surface. Next, carefully dry it without moving the towel/paper too much around it. Now, soak it again with a bit more soap and clean everything with a new towel. If there are visible scratches, you can buff those areas with a polishing compound.
What cleans cloudy polycarbonate?
If warm soap and water don’t do the job, try using a combination of baking soda, vinegar, and a little bit of warm water. That should remove most of the fogginess, if not all of it.
Can you use Windex on your motorcycle windshield?
While Windex is generally safe to use on new motorcycle windshields, you risk damaging the surface. Chemicals like Windex or other petroleum-based substances can react with some of the materials used in motorcycle shields, ultimately damaging them and making them foggy. This is due to the solvent power of most of those cleaning solutions, alcohol being one of the main ones.
Finding the best motorcycle windshield cleaners is a relatively easy task if you don’t want to look too much into the details. If budget isn’t an issue, my advice would be to look for something that combines cleaning, polishing, and protective properties. These products are typically more expensive but can deal with the dirtiest windshields and can also handle surface scratches and small chips on the plastic windshield.