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Rain X is one of those products that can work amazingly well if applied correctly. It can eliminate the need to use your windshield wipers almost completely and significantly improve your visibility.
Rain X is just one of many rain repellent products currently on the market. Rain X can last as long as 3 months but usually begins failing around 30 days in my experience. This is despite doing my best to apply it properly. A proper application will help improve performance and prevent streaking. But in the end, the short lifespan is its Achilles heel.
Check out our article if you’re interested in finding what the best Rain-X alternatives are to pick.
What You'll Need To Apply Rain X
- A bottle of Rain X or some other brand of rain repellent. I prefer Gtechniq G1 rain repellent which lasts well over a year although it is a little more involved to apply. You need to use their G2 product to remove the excess instead of just buffing the dried G1 away.
- Clean cloths. Preferably microfiber like those produced by the Rag Company. The other should be made of lint-free fabric or you could opt for a paper towel.
How To Apply Rain X Without Streaks (Step-by-Step)
Streaks can occur if Rain X isn’t properly applied. It isn’t a difficult job but you do want to be thorough when you apply it. If you don’t you could end up with inconsistent performance across the windshield. Here are some steps to follow to make sure you do the best job possible.
- Thoroughly clean your windshield before applying Rain X or any other rain repellent product. Usually, a good glass cleaner like Stoner’s Invisible Glass is more than enough to get your windshield clean. It’s a good idea to wash your car first but it isn’t necessary if you’re using a good glass cleaner.
- If your car is older and you have neglected properly cleaning it for some time you may need to do a deeper cleaning. If your windshield glass feels rough and more like sandpaper than windshield should feel you probably need to use a clay bar to remove the contaminants stuck to the surface of the glass. Be sure and go back over the windshield thoroughly with a glass cleaner to remove any of the clay lubricants before you try to apply any rain repellent.
- Avoid direct sunlight when you’re applying Rain X. Too much heat can affect the bonding process. Find a shaded area such as a garage to work in if possible.
- Don’t try to apply Rain X if it’s too cold out. If it’s below 40 degrees it’s too cold and you’ll need to either wait for warmer weather or find a garage with a heater.
- Apply a small amount of Rain X to a microfiber towel and begin wiping onto the windshield in a circular motion. I work in small areas and slowly work my way across the windshield. You should see the Rain X create a haze on the glass. Make sure you don’t miss any areas.
- Use a clean microfiber towel to buff away the haze left by the Rain X after 10 or 15 minutes. This will give it enough time to properly bond with the windshield.
- Apply a second coat to ensure consistent coverage for the best performance.
- It’s a good idea to replace your wiper blades at the same time. Old blades can have high and low contact spots on the windshield and prematurely wear away Rain X in spots.
- Also, I like to apply Rain X to all the other glass on my car. It helps improve visibility through all windows.
How Long Does It Take Rain X To Dry
It takes Rain X about 10 to 15 minutes to dry. This means that you do not need to make any serious plans about its application. Put it on, let it dry, buff it away. You are ready for rain, sleet, and snow.
How Long Does Rain X Last?
The durability of Rain X is affected by how often it rains, whether you use your windshield wipers frequently, and other weather conditions. The Rain X company states it lasts up to 3 months but most people (myself included) find that it begins failing around 30 days.
For this reason, I don’t recommend Rain X brand rain repellent. There are other higher-quality rain repellents on the market that last much longer. Aquapel for instance lasts up to 9 months but typically lasts around 6 months. Gtechniq G1 is my favorite since it can last up to 2 years. It usually doesn’t last quite that long but a year and a half is almost guaranteed. G1 is more expensive and a little more involved to apply but money and time well spent. In my opinion, Rain X isn’t worth the trouble for the short lifespan.
Does Rain X Wash Off?
If Rain X simply washed off it wouldn’t be a very good rain repellent. Any rain repellent is going to wear away over time and washing is just one of the methods that will cause it to wear away more quickly. If you need to remove it you’re going to have to do more than simply wash your car.
Steps For Removing Rain X From Your Windshield
The Rain X company recommends its product Rain X X-treme Clean to remove Rain X. Other people recommend a vinegar/water solution, glass cleaner, paint thinner, and more. Some of these don’t work well while others can be harmful to window seals, plastics, or even paint.
I recommend a 50/50 mix of Isopropyl Alcohol and water followed by a quality glass cleaner like Invisible Glass.
What you’ll need:
- Isopropyl Alcohol or Rain X X-treme Clean
- Microfiber Towels
- Glass Cleaner
Apply some 50/50 isopropyl alcohol/water mix to a microfiber towel and begin wiping it onto the windshield in firm circular motions. Avoid contact with plastics and rubber.
Using a fresh microfiber towel, dry the area you’ve just cleaned with the IPA mixture.
Once you’ve finished the entire windscreen, clean the windshield with a good glass cleaner like Stoner’s Invisible Glass.
Consider replacing your windshield wipers since they likely have some residual Rain X on them. This probably won’t be a problem but if your wipers are skipping or streaking this should be your next step.
Is Rain X Bad for Your Windshield
No, but it does have some less desirable side effects in some circumstances.
Probably the worst one is windshield wiper chattering or skipping. Old wiper blades on a car with freshly applied rain repellent can cause the wipers to chatter or skip as the wiper blade moves across the windshield. Most people don’t realize that wiper blades should be replaced fairly often – every 6 months or so. Get some new blades and this issue should go away. Alternatively, don’t use your wipers. A good rain repellent should eliminate the need to use your wipers once you get up to speed.
The other issue you may notice is at low speeds, especially on more aerodynamic cars such as Teslas, the rain beads don’t get blown off the windshield and can make it more difficult to see rather than easier. In heavy rain, this usually isn’t a problem but light rain doesn’t create large enough beads to roll off the windshield due to their own weight. At low speeds, you may still need your wipers in lighter rain conditions. If you drive a truck or some other less aerodynamic vehicle you will deal with this problem less since it will take less speed to blow the rain off the windscreen.
Hopefully, you’ve learned how to apply Rain X from this how-to guide, as well as a few other things. Rain X is very popular and well known but it isn’t the only rain repellent on the market. Of all of the rain repellents I know of, it is the shortest lasting.
I don’t recommend Rain X since you’ll likely see it begin to start failing after 30 days. My top pick is Gtechniq G1 which can last as long as 2 years. It’s more expensive and slightly more involved to apply but well worth the cost and effort.
If you want a good middle-of-the-road solution that isn’t as expensive and just as easy to apply as Rain X, I highly recommend Aquapel which should last at least 6 months, if not longer.