3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)
It’s that dreaded time of year. For those of us in the northern part of the country, the snow is falling, cars are stalling, and I start grumbling a bit more than usual. Each trip to town requires a 10-minute pre-start on my car, and the hated task of scraping my windshield. There are several options to help you with this chore, with some being more practical than others. See what has worked for others, and how you can take control of a frozen windshield and limited visibility for just a few pennies.
Cover it. This no-brainer works the best. By keeping your windshield protected from the elements, you can effectively prevent ice build-up, frost, or snow from ever touching the glass. The easiest approach is to store your vehicle in a mild garage or storage area, but this isn’t an option for everyone.
Another method is to place a lightweight tarp or double-folded old sheet directly over your windshield, and hold it down in place with bungee straps or weights of some sort. The next time you go out to your car, you can remove the cover, and any accumulated light frost should melt shortly via the defrost function of your car. (This won’t work well in areas with heavy snowfall, however, as the weight of the snow could make removing the cover a herculean task.)
Prevent it. I prefer not having to mess with tarps and straps, so I’m especially tempted by the commercial ice-prevention formulas offered on the market. They seem so easy to use: just spray before you go to bed each night, and wake up to a frost-free windshield. Some obvious disadvantages to this method include the cost to purchase the products (which may cost up to $13 per bottle) and the questionable contents of some brands.
The readers of the Dollar Stretcher have their own recipe for a safe, non-toxic version of a ice retarding solution: Simply mix 3 parts vinegar and 1 part water in a spray bottle. Apply to all the car windows (including side and rear) before going to bed at night. (Our own Paul Michael also mentions vinegar in this 254 Uses and Counting piece.)
Remove it. If you find yourself in the impossible situation of having to scrape very thick ice or snow from you windshield, don’t fret! The right scraper can do wonders, but a nice homemade de-icing solution can help, too. The Stretcher has two more recipes for you, in the event you can’t get that nasty ice to budge:
Mix one part water to two parts rubbing alcohol. Apply to the window and watch it peel right off!
Use a bottle of 70% isopropyl alcohol (50% works, too, but not as well) with a few drops of dish soap. Apply liberally to the glass with a spray bottle. (Readers also recommend adding alcohol to the washer fluid container, with a 50/50 mix, to keep wiper lines from freezing up in the winter. )
Winter won’t last forever, but it can feel like an eternity. Stop the scraping madness with a little planning and some homemade solutions designed to save time and money. (And let us know how they work for you!)