how to clean window film

Window Film Aftercare

Professional Window Tinting Tips & Tricks

Aftercare for 3M Window Films

3M has devoted 30 years to the development and improvement of 3M™ Sun Control Window Film so that today you may enjoy the sun without experiencing the full effects of its harmful rays. As with all products containing an adhesive system, drying time is necessary to achieve the proper bond to the window. During this process, some changes may be observed. So that you will understand these differences, we would like to note some of them for you. They are normal and should be expected. Listed below, by way of recap, are the points covered by your Authorized Dealer.

  • Drying time will be approximately 30-60 days depending on the time of year, longer for security or Thinsulate films. These films can take up to 3-6 months to fully dry. Please do not wash your windows during this period. They may look smeary, this is normal due to the mounting soapy solution.
  • Any haziness you may see is water under the film. You will see less and less of this as the days-weeks pass. The film may look different next week than it looks today as it dries.
  • A milky appearance might be experienced, but it too disappears during the drying period.
  • All trapped water bubbles will dry out, but a few small particles or points may be apparent when dry. Remember, we are not working in a dust-free environment.

Bubbles and particles

These points, generally seen from the outside, are very tiny and are inherent in the use of a pressure-sensitive adhesive system. An adhesive of this type is used because it is the only one that will withstand high humidity, driving rains and window condensation. You will normally see these particles only if you get quite close to the glass, which is something we ordinarily do not do. They will not affect the film’s performance.

Calking and Cleaning 3M Window Film

The 1/16- 1/8″ (3 mm) border you may notice is to allow trapped water to escape from your application according to 3M. Please feel free to calk if needed to hide light gap after film has completely dried for 30+ days. Cleaning should be done using normal household window cleaners or any non-abrasive window cleaning solution and wiping with a soft towel or squeegee. Paper towels or natural sponges should not be used.

NOTE: Sometimes what seems to be a defect in the film is, in fact, an imperfection in the glass. It is quite natural that one should look closely at a new purchase, but at times we observe things that were always there but never noticed. A good rule to follow is to look at the installation from six feet away. This is the manner in which we normally look through a window and the way in which you should observe your 3M™ Sun Control Window Film — looking through it, not at it. Remember, we are not working in a dust-free environment, so small particles of dust may be noticeable up close.

Aftercare for Non-3M Window Film

Film Dry-Out Time

During the installation process, we are able to remove as much as 90% of the mounting solution, although a small amount will remain. Trapped installation moisture can cause small water bubbles and/or a slightly cloudy appearance, this is normal and should be expected. Do not attempt to pierce a water bubble during the dry-out period. Water bubbles and a cloudy look will eventually dissipate. Attempting to pierce a water bubble in an effort to drain moisture will damage your film. This damage is not covered by the warranty.

Climate Conditions & Dry-Out Time

Cold and non-sunny weather conditions can lengthen the dry-out time. Warm weather and direct sunlight exposure will accelerate the dry-out time. If slow drying occurs, do not become alarmed. The trapped moisture will dry out completely. Film type selection and climate conditions will determine the dry-out period you experience. Thicker films and less than perfect drying climate will lengthen the dry-out period. Dry-out times can vary from a few days to as much as 3 months. Safety and security films will always have a longer dry-out period due to the increased thickness of the film.

Cleaning Your Window Film

Do not clean the film for 30 days after installation. This will help secure proper curing of the special mounting adhesive to the glass. Most glass cleaners will work well, although a good cleaning solution for window film is 1⁄2 ounce of liquid dish soap added to 1 quart of fresh water. We do not suggest ammonia-based cleaners.

Always use fresh clean, soft materials to wash and dry your window film surfaces. A soft cloth or a clean synthetic sponge is recommended for washing the window film followed by another clean soft cloth or soft rubber squeegee for drying. To avoid scratching the film, do not use bristle brushes, abrasive scrubbing sponges, or any cleaning materials that may have been contaminated with dirt particles. Some brands of paper towels are coarse enough to put fine scratches in the film, even films with protective hard coat finish. While these scratches may be too thin to be seen at the beginning, they can damage the polished look of the film over time.

Was this article helpful? For more information on aftercare, view our blog on Auto Window Tinting Aftercare.

If you have any questions about your window film installation, please give us a call at (302) 456-3456. If you’re interested in a new window film installation, feel free to reach out and request your free quote from Professional Window Tinting! In addition to commercial and residential films, we also provide auto window tinting (Delaware location only).