Windshield and Panel Cleaning

When I first started touring on motorcycles several years ago I tried to carry all the necessities that I might need on those trips in either the built-in storage of the bike itself, or in luggage that I had added to the bike. Storage space was at a premium. Cleaners for the windshield and primarily the front panels of the bike were absolutely required to clean some of the ‘critters’ that had smashed into the bike on each day of a multi-day trip.

At first I filled the tiny plastic spray bottles purchased in the travel toiletries section of the local super store with my cleaner and polish. The problem with those tiny bottles was two-fold, first, they leaked badly as I gained or lost altitude in my travel over the Western States, and second, they simply did not hold enough cleaner for those really serious bug strikes. Riding thought a swarm of brine flies at the Eastern edge of the Great Salt Lake literally blackened my windshield with thousands, if not millions, of their tiny black bodies convinced me that a larger supply of cleaner and polish was needed.

Finding a container for any liquid that will keep that liquid contained during significant changes in altitude is a real challenge. (Reference the article in this blog on emergency gas container modification to prevent leakage!) For my cleaner and polish I needed spray top containers larger than the tiny travel containers but smaller than the spray containers the cleaner or polish originally came in. In addition to size the containers would have to be modified somehow to allow changes in pressure of the air inside the containers to match the air pressure of the outside air, during changes in elevation.

After searching in several local (super) stores I found spray top plastic containers of an appropriate size that could be used to hold sufficient supplies of cleaner and polish for my longer road trips. A picture of the two containers, each secured in a zip-lock plastic bag for preventing spills, is included below:


On the left is the windshield cleaner, an Armour All Glass cleaner that does NOT damage the plastic windshield of my Can-Am Spyder. Be sure to test any windshield cleaner that you purchase on an obscure portion of your motorcycle’s windshield before you use (it) on the complete windshield. Some cleaners for automobile glass will contain hydrocarbon molecules that will etch the plastic of a motorcycle windshield!

The panel cleaner / polish in the travel spray bottle on the right is the Eagle1 brand polish and cleaner combination. This is a great product for cleaning the bug remains off of the painted front panels of a bike. When used with a microfiber cloth it will clean and polish the front panels of the bike without damage to the paint or require hours of rubbing.
When I returned from a recent trip both of these bottles of liquid had leaked into the inside of the zip-locked bags. The reduction in air pressure as I traveled up and over several high passes on my return trip from Idaho to Colorado Springs had forced liquid up through the tube into the spray head and out of the nozzle into the zip-lock bag. While the bag contained the liquid using the bottles covered with their contents was not a welcomed experience. Some additional solution beyond the zip-lock bags was needed!

My solution, not yet tested on an actual trip, was to drill a small vent hole in the spray head of each spray bottle just above the washer that existed between the spray head and bottle. The picture below shows the position of that vent hole in the neck of the spray head.


The yellow arrow points to the tiny vent hole. A miniature drill bit from my hobbies toolbox was used to drill the hole, being careful to position the hole where it would actually vent the air above the liquid of the bottle but be above the washer that secured (but was not airtight) the bottle to the spray head. The zip-lock bags will continue to be used to contain any leakage just in case my modification does not work! (Better safe than sorry!)
After my next road trip I will review this modification for its success or failure.


About justanoldguy

Retired Computer Programmer. Born and Raised in Missouri. Graduated from Missouri School of Mines in 1964. Retired in 2003. Moved to Colorado in 2010. Enjoying good health and 'front range'. Touring frequently on Can-Am Spyder motorcycle. Skiing during the Winter months at Monarch Mountain Ski Area (for free!).
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