Nothing in this world can make the prospect of a traditional windscreen wiper exciting. At CAR, we’ve previously employed Lord Byron to make wiper blades interesting and even the worlds best wiper design - the superbly overengineered single wiper blade on the Mercedes 190E - isn’t interesting.
But what about a magical invisible coating, packed with hydrophobic qualities designed to stop water collecting on your windscreen? How about that in some instances, it will stop the need for a wiper at all? Sounds pretty interesting, doesn’t it? Rain repellents have been around for years in various guises, from the simple spray on Rain-X that lasts a few weeks right up to professionally applied ceramic coatings that can last for three years.
The usual rule of thumb has been that the better the protection, the more complex and expensive the application. SOFT99 aim to change this with an affordable, simple to apply rain repellent that offers long-term hydrophobic protection.
What is it?
There are two glass protecting products on test here: a glass compound for preparing the glass to be cleaned and a roll-on rain repellent. Ergonomics are at the forefront of the SOFT99 mantra, with both products featuring a built-in applicator and a simple way to dispense the product (squeeze the body).
So, where other longer-lasting products require foam applicator pads and can be waste a fair bit of product, SOFT99's offering should hopefully avoid both issues and be as simple to apply as Rain-X - but offer much longer protection.
Are they easy to use?
There's no getting away from the fact that as a two-step application, it will take longer to apply than a simple repellent, but it will last far longer. Add in that it's best to apply these glass cleaners after cleaning the car, and it might sound a little convoluted, but the months of protection afforded are worth the effort. You can also get away with applying the Roll-On without the Compound if you accept that the glass treatment won't last as long (it'll still last longer than a spray-on).
From a purely personal point, the packaging is amazing, even if the majority of it is printed in Japanese. Thankfully the instructions are translated into English and stuck over the original packaging - a most welcome touch. Problem is, the text is rather small and if you're using either product for the first time, you'll need to take some time as the text is tiny. It's good that the application process is so simple.
After washing the car using a pH neutral shampoo, the SOFT99 Glaco Compound was applied to the glass. It comes out looking like smeared pet food (or a waxy beige gravy) before shifting whiter as it's worked into the glass. It'll remove stubborn oils, any existing rain repellents, or basically anything that'll stop the Roll-On sticking to the glass. While it looks mucky when it's plastered over a windscreen, after washing away with some water, it'll have the glass as containment free as possible.
The SOFT99 Glaco Roll-On works the same as the compound - point and squeeze before coating every inch of glass. It's not dissimilar to using one of those erasers on a teachers whiteboard, right down to its similar chemically scent. The Roll-On leaves behind a slight smear, but that quickly goes away during the 10 minute curing time. Be sure to apply it in both linear and circular motions, or you may end up with streaks in the glass. That said, it was super easy to apply to the glass and with next to no wasted product.
Are they a good rain repellent?
In a word, yes. SOFT99 claims that the Glaco is an 'invisible wiper' and will remove the requirement of wipers at commuting speed (SOFT99 makes it clear you should use your wipers anyway) and in our experience, rainwater does bead off the glass effectively. We tried the Roll-On on both treated (with the compound) and untreated cars, and the difference in performance was rather clear.
To put it simply, use both together and you'll get effective long-lasting protection. Better still, there is no juddering from the wipers when they're in use, which can be an issue with some cheaper rain repellents.
As a small extra, the Glaco also proved itself useful for coating the lens of a camera, the ergonomic pad design making the application super simple and the protection evident.
It's one of the simplest rain repellents we've ever used and offers an impressive level of protection. If you're tired of spray-on repellents that only last a week before a top-up is required, the Glaco range is a great way to slip long-lasting hydrophobic protection into a regular car wash and improve visibility and safety.
How we tested SOFT99 Glaco:
We applied the SOFT99 Glaco to three separate cars, one without preparation from the SOFT99 Compound and two with a treated for preparation. All three cars were washed as stated by SOFT99 and we used the same SOFT99 Creamy Shampoo, before using a drying towel to ensure the glass was clean.