How to Clean Wiper Blades & Protect Them

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Written By Will S.

All vehicles are fitted with wiper blades, these are made of rubber and will eventually perish. If you have to change your wiper blades quite regularly, I will explain further in this article how to clean wiper blades and extend their lifespan by providing maintenance tips & tricks.

The most common issue with wiper blades is they deteriorate and perish due to not being used enough then the rubber starts to go stale (hard) and when your wipers have activated the blades they will be running over all the defects on your windscreen this is why it’s important to clean your windows so that it doesn’t shred or perish your rubber blades.

It helps if your clean wiper blades on a regular basis roughly once a week depending on where your vehicle is parked.

The easiest way to tell your window is not clean even though it looks clean is just to run the palm of your hand around the windscreen quite soft and you will feel the bumps and bits of tar and sap etc… on your screen, it will feel rough and some cases can feel like sandpaper.

Cleaning & maintenance of wiper blades

Maintaining a clean windshield and properly cleaning the wiper blades are essential for prolonging their lifespan and ensuring optimal performance. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Importance of keeping the windshield clean

  • A clean windshield provides better visibility, allowing you to see clearly during inclement weather conditions.
  • Dirt, dust, and debris on the windshield can cause unnecessary friction and wear on the wiper blades.
  • Regularly cleaning the windshield helps prevent buildup and extends the life of the blades.

Tips for cleaning the windshield properly

  • Choose a non-abrasive glass cleaner specifically designed for automotive use.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or ammonia-based cleaners, as they can damage the windshield and rubber components of the wiper blades.
  • Spray the glass cleaner directly onto the windshield or onto a soft cloth or sponge.
  • Wipe the windshield in a gentle, circular motion to remove dirt and grime effectively.
  • Pay attention to the edges and corners of the windshield, as these areas tend to accumulate more debris.

How to clean wiper blades effectively

  • Lift the wiper arms away from the windshield to make cleaning easier and safer.
  • Soak a clean cloth or sponge in windshield washer fluid or a mixture of mild soap and water.
  • Gently wipe the entire length of each wiper blade, removing any dirt or debris that may have accumulated.
  • Pay attention to both sides of the blade, as well as the rubber edge that comes into contact with the windshield.
  • Rinse the cloth or sponge frequently to avoid transferring dirt back onto the blades.
  • After cleaning, lower the wiper arms back onto the windshield gently.
Woman cleaning wiper blades

Regularly cleaning both the windshield and the wiper blades helps maintain their effectiveness and prolongs their lifespan.

Aim to incorporate these cleaning routines into your regular vehicle maintenance schedule, especially before and after periods of heavy rain, snow, or dust exposure.

By doing so, you’ll ensure clear visibility and maximize the life of your wiper blades.

Proper Usage Techniques

    Using wiper blades properly is crucial for their longevity and effective performance. By following these tips, you can minimize unnecessary wear and prolong the life of your wiper blades:

    Using wipers only when necessary

    • Avoid operating the wiper blades when the windshield is dry. Running them on a dry surface causes friction and can wear out the blades prematurely.
    • Activate the wipers only when there is moisture on the windshield, such as rain, mist, or snow.
    • Use the intermittent or low-speed setting when the rain is light or sporadic, as this puts less strain on the blades.

    Clearing ice and snow before activating the wipers

    • Before turning on the wipers in wintry conditions, ensure that you have cleared any ice or heavy snow from the windshield.
    • Use an ice scraper or defrost the windshield using your vehicle’s defrost function to remove ice buildup.
    • Clearing the windshield beforehand prevents the wiper blades from getting stuck or damaged while attempting to clear frozen debris.

    Avoiding using wipers to de-ice the windshield

    • Never use the wiper blades as a de-icing tool for your windshield. It can damage the blades and strain the wiper motor.
    • Instead, use an ice scraper or allow the defrosting system to melt the ice thoroughly before activating the wipers.
    • Using the proper tools for de-icing ensures the longevity of your wiper blades and prevents potential damage.

    By adhering to these proper usage techniques, you can reduce unnecessary strain on your wiper blades and help them perform optimally. Additionally, this will contribute to maintaining clear visibility and ensuring your safety on the road.

    Remember to exercise caution and use your best judgment when deciding whether to activate the wipers based on the moisture level on the windshield.

    Protective Measures

    Protecting your wiper blades from harsh weather conditions and minimizing exposure can significantly extend their lifespan. Consider the following protective measures:

    Lifting wiper blades when parked for extended periods

    • When leaving your vehicle parked for an extended period, especially in hot or freezing weather, lift the wiper blades away from the windshield.
    • This prevents the blades from sticking to the glass or becoming damaged due to prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures.

    Using protective covers in extreme weather conditions

    • In regions with frequent snowfall or during periods of heavy precipitation, consider using protective covers designed for wiper blades.
    • These covers shield the blades from accumulating ice, snow, and debris, reducing the strain on the blades and improving their lifespan.

    Parking strategies to minimize exposure to harsh elements

    • Whenever possible, park your vehicle in covered or sheltered areas to minimize direct exposure to harsh elements like intense sunlight, rain, or snow.
    • This reduces the risk of the blades deteriorating due to prolonged exposure to extreme weather conditions.

    Signs of Wiper Blade Wear

    Regular inspection is crucial for identifying signs of wear on your wiper blades. Knowing when to replace them is vital for maintaining effective performance. Watch out for the following signs:

    Common signs indicating the need for replacement

    • Streaking or smearing on the windshield, even after cleaning
    • Skipping or missing sections while operating
    • Uneven wear, such as fraying or cracks on the rubber edge
    • Squeaking or chattering sounds during operation

    Regular inspection techniques for blade condition

    • Carefully examine the rubber edge of the blades for any signs of damage or deterioration.
    • Check for any visible cracks, tears, or unevenness.
    • Assess the flexibility of the blades; they should be pliable and not overly stiff.

    Importance of addressing worn blades promptly

    • Delaying the replacement of worn wiper blades compromises their performance and your visibility during adverse weather conditions.
    • Promptly replace blades exhibiting signs of wear to ensure effective wiping and clear visibility on the road.

    Choosing High-Quality Blades

    Investing in high-quality wiper blades is a worthwhile choice, as they tend to last longer and provide better performance. Consider the following when selecting replacement blades:

    Benefits of investing in high-quality wiper blades

    • Improved durability and resistance to wear
    • Enhanced wiping performance for better visibility
    • Quieter operation and reduced streaking or skipping

    Factors to consider when purchasing replacement blades

    • Opt for blades specifically designed for your vehicle’s make and model.
    • Look for blades made from high-quality materials, such as silicone or natural rubber.
    • Consider features like aerodynamic designs or built-in spoilers for improved performance.

    Recommendations for reputable brands and types

    • Research reputable brands known for their quality wiper blades and positive customer reviews.
    • Seek recommendations from automotive professionals or fellow vehicle owners to find reliable options.

    Where to purchase high-quality wiper blades

    When looking to purchase high-quality wiper blades, there are several options available. Here are a few places where you can find and purchase reliable wiper blades:

    1. Automotive Supply Stores: Visit reputable automotive supply stores such as AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, or O’Reilly Auto Parts. These stores typically carry a wide range of wiper blades from various brands, offering you options to choose from.
    2. Online Retailers: Explore online platforms like Amazon, eBay, or, which provide an extensive selection of wiper blades. Read customer reviews and check ratings to ensure you’re purchasing from reputable sellers.
    3. Vehicle Dealerships: Contact your vehicle’s dealership to inquire about genuine or recommended wiper blade replacements. They can provide you with the specific blades designed for your vehicle make and model.
    4. Local Mechanics or Service Centers: Local mechanics and service centers often stock high-quality wiper blades. They can offer guidance on selecting the right blades and may even provide installation services.
    5. Manufacturer Websites: Check the official websites of wiper blade manufacturers. Many brands have online stores where you can purchase their products directly, ensuring authenticity and quality.

    Remember to consider factors such as blade size, compatibility with your vehicle, and customer reviews when selecting high-quality wiper blades. It’s also beneficial to compare prices and explore any available warranty options.

    General Maintenance Tips

    In addition to cleaning and usage techniques, implementing general maintenance practices can further extend the lifespan of your wiper blades. Consider the following tips

    Checking wiper fluid levels regularly

    • Maintain an adequate level of windshield washer fluid in the reservoir.
    • Using the proper fluid helps keep the windshield clean and prevents debris from accumulating on the blades.

    Inspecting and cleaning wiper blades arms

    • Regularly inspect the wiper arms for any signs of damage or loose connections.
    • If necessary, gently tighten or replace any damaged components.
    • Clean the wiper arms with a cloth or sponge to remove dirt or grime that could impair their movement.

    Proper storage techniques during long periods of inactivity

    • If your vehicle will be inactive for an extended period, such as during storage, consider removing the wiper blades.
    • Store them in a cool, dry place to prevent rubber degradation.
    • Prior to reinstalling the blades, inspect them for any signs of damage or wear.


    By implementing these practices, you can significantly prolong the life of your wiper blades. Regular cleaning, proper usage, and timely replacement when necessary are essential for maintaining clear visibility and ensuring safe driving.

    Additionally, protecting the blades from harsh weather conditions and investing in high-quality replacements contribute to their longevity and overall performance.

    Remember to incorporate these practices into your routine vehicle maintenance to maximize the effectiveness and lifespan of your wiper blades.

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