We’ve all had to deal with fogged up car windows at some point and it can be frustrating, not to mention dangerous. There are many things that can cause your windows to fog up, from recirculating A/C to changes in the weather. One cause that you may not have heard of is called off-gassing. So what exactly causes plastics off-gassing and what can you do to stop it?
What Is Off-Gassing?
Essentially off-gassing is exactly what it sounds like. There are chemicals in all of our manufactured products and some of them are released in the form of a gas as the products settle in. You’re probably familiar with the “new car smell” and that is actually caused by off-gassing. The smell fades after a few weeks, but off-gassing can continue to occur for a long time after that.
New, synthetic products are the primary culprits when it comes to off-gassing. Things like plastic dashboards, leather seats, wood grain trims, and even carpets are all full of these volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and whenever the vehicle is not circulating fresh air they settle on the glass, clouding it up.
It can take years before all of these compounds are released and your windshield stops fogging up. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to help.
Preventing Your Windshield From Fogging
The first step is keeping your glass as clean as possible. There are many ammonia-free glass cleaners available that are simple and work well. Simply soak the windows in your product of choice and wipe them down with a high-quality towel that won’t leave a residue. There are some specific automotive window cleaning products which may help reduce fogging.
After this, it’s just a matter of keeping the windows clean. As we mentioned earlier these VOCs build up on your windows when the air in the car is stagnant. When you park, leave your windows slightly cracked, if possible. This allows air to circulate in your vehicle and remove the VOCs.
Plastics off-gassing can be a tricky problem to deal with, but we hope these tips will help make the process a little easier. Just remember to make a habit of keeping your glass clean and leaving your windows cracked when possible.