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The Different Kinds of Tinted Windows and How to Clean Them

The Different Kinds of Tinted Windows and How to Clean Them

If your vehicle was not fitted with any type of tinted window when it was new, then you will be looking for options. After all, you will want to protect the interior of the vehicle and its occupants, while making life a lot more bearable in the hot summer sun. There are several different tinting products on the marketplace, and you’ll want to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each, before making your choice. Furthermore, you’ll want to make sure that you clean everything properly as well.

Tinting Regulations

Remember, each state tends to have regulations that govern what type of tint can be applied and how it may affect your visibility behind the wheel. Refer to those regulations before you apply any tinted product so that you always stay on the right side of the law.

Various Types of Tint


Tiny metallic particles are embedded within this material, reflecting the heat and darkening the glass at the same time. This layer of particles is placed in between an adhesive base and a protective topcoat and produces a thicker film. However, due to the way that this tint is made, it tends to give off a shiny appearance which is not to everyone’s liking and the metal components may interfere with cellphone signals or radio reception. On the flip-side, it is particularly good at blocking and reflecting heat.


Dyed window tint is the opposite of metallic and gives the vehicle a dark grey color that appears to be opaque when viewed from the outside. To achieve this look, a layer of dye is placed in between the protective topcoat (made from polyester) and the adhesive layer, and it is typically the least expensive option of all.

However, the dye may fade over time – especially if the vehicle tends to be placed in full sun regularly. It’s still good at blocking glare and protecting the interior, but it may tend to delaminate as time goes by.


As the name implies, the hybrid window tint combines the best of the metalized and dyed options. Unlike the metalized option, this film does not have a reflective appearance and will not interfere with onboard electronics. Many people think this is one of the most durable options, but it is also more expensive than the traditional dyed tint.


A carbon window tint gives off a matte finish due to multiple layers of carbon and polymer within. This solution is particularly effective at blocking the harmful effects of UV light on the interior upholstery and these tints do not fade over time, either.

The carbon tint can give your car a sleek, black appearance and is the opposite of the metalized approach, but it is also one of the most expensive options.


The Crystalline series features a multi-layer optical film, which combines more than 200 layers of film but is still thinner than a sliver of paper. The thin-film technology allows this product to reject more heat than a darker film and, according to the company, can be applied without changing the appearance of the vehicle.

Up to 62% of solar energy and 97% of infrared rays are rejected by the tint, while Crystalline also reduces 77% of the glare from the sun. This tint product comes in one of six different options, based on the level of solar energy protection.


Ceramic window tints include a large number of ceramic particles that reflect the UV rays and significantly reduce solar heat penetration. These particles are nonmetallic and do not interfere with electrical signal strength, but the tint will also allow for maximum visibility.

This film may be able to absorb twice as much heat as the other options and is considered to be one of the best solutions on the market. Consequently, it is usually the most expensive.


Some automobile manufacturers apply a factory tint by dipping the glass during the manufacturing process to give it a darker pigment. Typically, this is only applied to the rear windows of the vehicle and is designed to give an element of privacy or additional security. However, it doesn’t provide the same levels of protection as an aftermarket window tint.

Caring for Your Tinted Windows

While most automotive tinting products today are designed to be durable, it is important to take care when conducting regular maintenance and cleaning the glass. The main point to remember is that you cannot simply use any type of glass cleaner, as certain chemicals could degrade the adhesive that helps the tint stick to the window itself. If you were to do this, the tint could start to peel or bubble and this could be particularly problematic on the side windows when you move them up and down. The edge of the imperfection could catch and cause a nasty tear.

Instead, always choose a product that is clearly labeled as being ammonia-free, like the Sprayway Glass Cleaner. You could also use Sprayway Glass Cleaner Wipes. These wipes will leave you with a film-free finish, without any streaks or stickiness, while being also quick and easy to use.

Our glass cleaners are safe on OEM Tinted Windows. If using on aftermarket tinted windows, test in an inconspicuous spot before use.

You should also take care when wiping the surface and should never use an ordinary paper towel. This type of product is abrasive, and you could easily cause tiny scratches to appear on the surface of the film. Instead, use a product that is designed to be absorbent, like a lint-free cotton cloth for streak-free cleaning and a scratch-free result.

Making Your Tinted Windows Last as Long as Possible

No matter what type of tinted window product you decide to use on your car or truck, you’ll want to ensure that it is carefully installed and properly cared for. Make sure that you always conform with the rules and regulations in your state, follow all the guidelines during installation, and only use cleaning products that are specifically designed for the purpose.