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I need to clean my aircraft's windows what do I use?

Note: I hope this is not a "subjective" question, as I don't want to put a potential harmful substance on my aircraft's windows and as a new aircraft owner, I would think this would be a logical question.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think the question should be reworded as "what is the procedure to clean aircraft's windows?" and details about the windows you want to clean should be added (material, aircraft model/type, dirt to wipe off,...). $\endgroup$ – Manu H Mar 15 '16 at 16:07
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I assume that your aircraft has acrylic windows. This is a very soft material which is easily scratched and cracks under stress. For cleaning, use these steps:

  • Rinse with lots of water to remove dust.
  • Wipe with a wet, soft sponge. Don't press on the sponge and move it in the direction of airflow. Moving the sponge sideways will increase the risk of sideways scratches which are caused by the movement of dirt particles over the acrylic surface. Those sideways scratches will impair vision when flying into the direction of a low sun.
  • Dry the surface with a chamois leather, again moving in flow direction.

Superficial scratches can be removed by polishing the surface with an acrylic or metal polish. Be careful with sandpaper because this could take off more material than necessary, resulting in optical distortions when looking through the polished area at an angle.

Never use alcohol or other organic solvents!

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Great article here on the subject.

Most important bit of information is to rinse the windows thoroughly with water before touching them. Will rinse away any of the larger bits and pieces that will cause scratching of the window.

Also very important, is NOT using glass cleaner. Assuming here that you have acrylic windows, and the ammonia contained in most glass cleaners will cause crazing (very tiny cracks).

The best option for cleaning acrylic windows is actually your bare hand, and cleaning with a cotton rag (old t-shirt). The article linked above contains more of what not to get on your windows than it does of what to use, which is far more important in my opinion. A few bugs left on the windows is far better than a ruined window that requires replacing.

Hope that helps.

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    $\begingroup$ I agree completely about using a bucket of water first to knock away as much dust and grit first. Also the advice to avoid typical glass cleaners since they will ruin plexiglass over time. I used clean cotton towels and Meguiar's Mirror Glaze Clear Plastic Polish & Cleaner for over a decade of airplane ownership and the plexiglas looked as good as new always. $\endgroup$ – Craig K Mar 15 '16 at 3:19

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