Tinted windows question

I have a clent that has some window tinting on several windows and she has asked me to use just water with no cleaning solution. 1st, will just plain water be enough? also, how is the best way to accomplish this. I ususally have one bucket with cleaning solution already in it and my scrubber would have soap on it. I was thinking I could use clean water in a spray bottle with a clean scrubber the squeegee. Any better suggestions?


Glass gleam should be fine on tint. Don’t use much solution and keep the solution away from the edges a little bit

Glass Gleam says it’s safe for use on tinted glass right on their web site. Your customer can go on line and see for themselves.

That’s what I use, but she does not want me to use it. She is very clean conscious. Even made me wear shoe covers when I did her estimate. I might use just a very little and do the tinted windows and add a bit more to do the rest. As long as I don’t get a bunch of sudds, she will not know the diff. I don’t want her to get upset if they don’t come clean and I’m afraid, just water won’t do the job and make it tougher to squeegee. Thanks guys.


I would tell her I am the pro, and I know how to properly clean tint. I have cleaned hundreds of tinted windows with great results, and I will replace the tint if it were to get damaged. I definitely would NOT agree to do it with water, then slip in a little gg and hope she doesn’t notice

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You are right Larry, Thanks

The bigger concern is leaving squeegee marks on the soft tint. use a very light touch when removing the water with the rubber

So using just water will slow down production and increase the chances of damaging the tint, right?

I spoke with someone(can’t remember his name) at titan labs many years ago about cleaning glass with tint. He assured me that glass gleam is completely safe on tint and that many tint installers use it when they install the tint. I have cleaned homes that have tint on every window with zero issues. And I have cleaned these same homes many times. Glass gleam is the best product to use with tint.

Plain water and rubber will be like dragging a rake across the glass.
Good luck and I hope your customer lets you do the job she hired you to do!

Eric Russell

Ask your customer if she is looking for an amateur window washer or a real professional washer. Ask her where she got the CRAZY idea to clean the windows with tap water? A lot of paid amateurs use ammonia in their water and that is really bad on tint. Tap water would be better than ammonia and a real pro would be better than an amateur. JMO

You’re a better man than me! If I hire a mechanic to do a job, I don’t tell him what wrench to use. She either wants the windows cleaned by you, your way, or she doesn’t! I can’t stand customers with neat freak OCD! As soon as she mentioned the white booties I would have raised the price so high i could have probably retired that day!! lol You can usually tell the headache customers when you’re doing your quote…in my eyes they are not worth it and I would happily pass them on to my competitiors! They can spend the time trying to please the unpleasable! Is that a word?? lol

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She probably got the idea in her head from the film install guy/company. We install film, and run into clients frequently that assume or have been told that you can never clean the film with a squeegee. The problem is, film guys will go in there and slap something up, nevermind the “trash” still on the glass from their halfway clean. When you run a squeeg over film that has a bunch of dust, bug parts, etc under it, of course it’s more likely to tear, discolor, or even wear out quicker.
No tint is perfect tint, but if it was installed in the best possible way, with good quality tint, it shouldn’t be a problem. Unless you accidentally take that blade out…

P.S. Most film goes on while the window is sprayed with water and/or a very mild, diluted soap solution. This activates the glue in the film, helping it adhere to the window. Fun fact.

EDIT: The only exception to what I said above is the first 30 days of the film being on the window. You should NEVER clean film before atleast 30 days after it was installed… you prob knew that, didn’t you?

Thanks Josh,
I’ve been at this for over fifteen years and sometimes I learn things I should have known 15 years ago. If I knew how much I didn’t know when I first started my business I would have been afraid to leave the house. I guess ignorance is bliss. Haha

Hey Phil,

It’s been awhile since you started this thread, so I’m sure you either got the job and did it or you didn’t get the job.

If you did the job what did you do, and how did it come out ?

Most tinting today is fairly tough stuff and if you used regular soap it won’t attack the tint…If water got to the edges it won’t get under the edges unless it was applied poorly, “the tinting”…

Still you have the home owner to deal with and she seems like the biggest bump in the road, but she is the home owner and servicing them takes many hats !

TSP never has suds and is a great grease cutter…It don’t attack tinting either !!
There is no smell to it either !

I won’t tell you to not do as this customer asks ! I would guarantee her there will be no problem and I would have anything fixed , but assure her the tinting will stay intact !

Still it’s been awhile so I’m sure the job is completed…Just keep the info in your bag of tricks.

TSP is some really good stuff and I use it all the time, 2 to 3 tablespoons to 3 gallons of water and hoooya your going to be able to clean just about anything and everything, except for picky customers, they’re a whole different breed !


Hi Dave,

As a matter of fact, I just did that job yesterday. I bid it a few weeks ago when I posted this question, but she was on vacation for a month, so I did it yesterday. I did as she asked and only used clear water. It worked ok. She was happy. Forunately it was only on a few inside windows and I was able to use cleaner for everything else. It came out ok and I chose not to try to convince her that soap was not going to harm her tint. She wants to be a regular customer for 3 cleanings a year. So, I will do it her way. Customer is always right… except when they aren’t. I have seen your video on TSP and I think I will try it. Thanks for asking.

I’m curious why? We know she doesn’t want you to use soap-- but why? What is her belief here? Does she think it will damage the tint or is she affraid of dirt and she thinks that the soap is dirty or will attract dirt?

That may sound dumb, but here is a true story. When I worked as a garbage man, I had a customer who always (and I mean always–every week without fail) had two or three 35 gallon black garbage bags filled up with used latex rubber gloves (EVERY week—how she used thousands I could never imagine until I saw her one day and she appeared to have three or four pair on at once…maybe more). Anyways, she also had one garbage can that had actual garbage (bagged up tightly and smelling of Lysol) in it (the can was always immaculate) and a very large stack of boxes all neatly cut and stacked for recycling. The boxes were all the same, they were the boxes her latex gloves came in every week. The garbage can, her two or three bags of gloves and her boxes were always placed in the exact same spot, and in the exact same order.

I once pulled up and saw her in her garage scrubbing a wall (what appeared to be a perfectly clean wall, in a near empty and perfectly clean garage) she was dressed like a HazMat tech and when she saw me (the dirtiest man on the planet, the garbage man) she appeared to be quite frightened and quickly ran for the door and hit the button to close the garage door as she was escaping… as if I was going to chase her down and toss her into the back of my garbage truck or something…

I’m sure I gave her nightmares…

This lady had an extreme case of OCD and Mysophobia.

People get weird notions in their head about stuff like that. Your custoner very well could have OCD and not want certain windows washed with soap… just because. Or if she is terrified of germs or grime she may think that the soap itself is dirty or something.

So for me I would want to know why she didn’t want soap on certain windows. I definitely wouldn’t try and sneak it by her (I know you didn’t) because if she has some phobias or serious OCD and realizes that it was done differently than she requested, she may seriously freak the Eff out.

You were a Cop Phil, I’m sure you have seen plenty of the weird OCD people who wig out because Scooby Doo didn’t come on at 7am like normal, but rather 8am instead, and they can’t watch Scooby on an “even” hour, so they take a baseball bat to the neighbors mailbox…