What’s the best way to clean windscreen-wiper blades and what products should I use?

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Car Clinic: How do I clean my windscreen wipers

Q. What’s the best way to clean windscreen-wiper blades and what cleaning products should I use?
PR, Uckfield, East Sussex

A. Even when a car has been cleaned by hand, many owners don’t bother with the wiper blades — but they should. Dirty wipers create a smeary windscreen, reducing visibility, and small pieces of grit trapped under the blades can result in scratches. Both these hazards will be increased in icy weather when visibility is naturally low and the gritting lorries are out.

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There appear to be no specific wiper-cleaning products, but water will suffice. Simply lift the wipers away from the screen and rub a damp cloth or sponge up and down the length of the rubber blade a few times.

If dirt is dried in, use a dash of white vinegar, but be careful not to get it on the paintwork. The windscreen itself also needs to be cleaned regularly because baked-on bugs or pieces of tar can damage a blade as it is dragged over them.

Rubber blades wear out with use and are also affected by UV rays from the sun, which turn them hard and brittle. If yours are like this, they need to be replaced rather than cleaned. A high-mileage driver might need to change wipers once a year but if your mileage is low — and, better still, if your car is kept out of sunlight in a garage — every two or even three years should be fine.

Remember too that windscreen wipers must be in good condition for your car to pass the MoT test.
Sunday Times Driving Car Clinic: Dave Pollard, car accessory advice

Dave Pollard has written several Haynes manuals and has tested just about every car-related accessory – read more from Dave here.

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