By Erich Rempert
A&P, Piper Owner Society
When you clean your dusty, buggy, Plexiglas windows, do you grab a paper towel, spray down your window with Windex, and wipe it down in big wide circles? Ouch!
If you have spent either the money, time, or both to install new windows in your airplane, nothing will be more worth your time and increase the longevity or your new (or old) windows than taking a minute to learn the basics on proper care.
1. No Paper Towel
First off, never use any type of paper towel, no matter how soft — even tissue is extremely abrasive and will scratch aircraft windows. Always opt for a clean (preferably new) microfiber towel. These are often available in bulk for under $1 each if you do some searching. After they have been used on Plexiglas, they can be used for bugs on leading edges, and then finally to clean the belly, then thrown out. They are a minor expense and an invaluable insurance policy to protect your aircraft’s finishes.
2. No Ammonia
Next, never use any type of household cleaners with ammonia as an ingredient (such as Windex). Ammonia can craze plastic and Plexiglas; always make sure any cleaner you use is Plexiglas safe, and preferably use aircraft windshield cleaner like Prist or Kleer to Land, available at most aircraft supply houses and FBOs.
3. No Circles
Also, never use a circular motion when wiping your windows. Always use a back-and-forth motion that aligns with the airflow over the surface. This will reduce scratches in multiple directions and reduce glare when flying into the sun.
4. Finish With Water
Finally, if your window is noticeably dusty, grab a hose and use copious amounts of water to rinse the dust and dirt off before using mechanical means to clean the window. Any particles that don’t wash away in the water will be softened and release easier when you do take a cloth to the surface, thus reducing scratching.
Blue Skies, Tailwinds, & Cheap Avgas