Less costly than what? The following work quite well:
A damp towel/cloth, followed by a dry one.
Honda Spray Polish and Cleaner
I use the Honda stuff - find it cleans well and buffs up to shine easily. Plexus is better for leaving a non-staticky finish, and filling micro scratches. Some people swear by Pledge, and it's certainly cheaper than the latter two.
I use Rain-X brand De-Icer windshield wash fluid, its orange in color, $2.99/gal @ Walmart, I keep a small pump spray bottle that holds about 2-3 oz and a micro fiber cloth in my kit, the rest of the gallon goes in my jeep, I usually have a gallon or part of a gallon on hand
not only does it clean real well, it leaves a Rain-X coating that keep the rain drops off and helps keep road grime from sticking as well making it easier to clean next time
there are reports that Rain-X will yellow a shield, but that hasn't been my experience, however shields rarely last me more than 2 years anyway
Meguiars makes a cleaner & a polish. Both are used on airplane windshields. Use the cleaner for everyday cleaning- the polish is slightly more coarse and is used to remove scratches-it also removes scratches in fairings. Both products are available in body shop supply stores. Never use windex!
Walmart brand Lens Cleaner from the eyeglass section is what I use on the road, comes in handy little spritz bottles for a couple bucks. My shield is crystal clear after years of use. The window-grade microfiber towels are the shiznit for this duty.
Lemon pledge at home.
Oh, another trick if it gets really built up with bugs, lay a dripping wet paper towel on the shield for a few minutes to soften up the bugs, they won't scratch or mar the lens if you wipe.
I keep a bucket of soapy ( car shampoo of some sort) water handy and soon after I get in from a ride drape a towel wet with this over the windshield sometimes using clothespins to secure. After a 15 minute soak lightly wipe the now softened bugs and dirt off and finish with Plexus.
I clean the helmet shield with the same product I do a windshield. Natures universal and safest solvent....hot water. With a few passes the bug guts soften up and come right off. The price is right. Water won't haze a shield. I am pretty sure its environmentally friendly and it works.
Then a liberal coating of some rain x nock off product.
Here's what CalSci provides with their windscreens: We make our own cleaning fluid. When you buy a windshield from us, we give you a small spray bottle of cleaning fluid and a micro-fiber cleaning towel. Here's our "secret" washing fluid recipe, the result of testing about 25 different formulas:
Makes 1 quart = 1 liter windshield washing fluid
1/2 cup = 100ml ammonia (double this if you have a lot of bugs)
2 cups = 400ml isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
1.5 tsp = 8ml car wash detergent (don't substitute dish soap or laundry detergent)
2 cups = 500ml water
We recommend using only micro-fiber cleaning towels on your windshield.
If you don't want to play home chemist, go to WalMart and buy a gallon of Peak Windshield Cleaner (blue), about $1, and a gallon of Peak Bug Remover / RainX (green), about $1.50. Mix them 50-50 and use that on your motorcycle and in your car.
+ whatever on Plexus. Helmet, shield, windshield, front end plastic etc. I use it as a pre-soak, being careful not to rub the bugs in when cleaning it off and then touching up with a light coat and buffing it out.
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