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How to De-Ice Your Windshield

Updated on January 02, 2017

It is difficult enough to drag yourself out of bed in a cold winter morning to go to work... much more to spend 15 minutes scraping ice off your windshield at freezing temperature. Good if you have 15 minutes to spare. But it's annoying if you are running late in the first place. You can't drive with poor visibility so here are some tips to help you save time in the morning.

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The freezing point of water as we all know is 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius while isopropyl alcohol is -126.4 degrees Fahrenheit or -88 degrees Celsius. When you mix 2 parts alcohol with 1 part water, the freezing point of the mixture is 11 degrees Fahrenheit or -11.6667 degrees Celsius. This is the reason why it is very effective in melting down the ice or frost from your windshield.

The ratio of the mixture is about 2:1 so get a spray bottle and fill it up with water up to 1/3 and the rest with isopropyl alcohol. If you have an old empty spray bottle then just rinse it so you do not need to buy one, otherwise dollar store usually have these at a very cheap price. The 91% isopropyl alcohol you can buy at local store should be fine. Typically, alcohol contains oils that leaves residue on the surface which can be harmful to your paint but since the mixture is diluted further with water then it should be safe. I would still spray it on the glass and avoid the paint if possible.

Start your car and let the engine warm up for 10 minutes or so before driving because the cold temperature thickens up the engine oil at the bottom. Turn on your defogger, demister, or defroster to help thaw frost from the windshield and rear window. Now get your de-icing mixture, shake it well, and spray generously on your windshield. Give it a minute or two and watch the ice peel right off. You can use plastic windshield scraper to remove the frost faster. When most of the ice or frost is wiped away, you can get inside your car and use the windshield washer and wiper to clear the rest of the ice. You might wanna keep the spray bottle in your car for future use because if it gets too cold, your windshield can get frosted any time of the day when left outside. Spraying the mixture on your windshield the night before can help removal of frost in the morning easier. Also, you can use the mixture on your frozen car door locks and garage door.

Other Methods:

1. Salt and water solution. This might work too but salt is corrosive so it is not safe on any metal parts of your car. Use caution when using this method.

2. Some people prefer prevention than cure. I'm sure if you have a garage, you'll store your vehicle inside to minimize the pain of frosted windshield in the morning. But this may not be an option for everyone so another method is to cover the windshield with light tarp or old sheet. It could be a tedious task plus it won't work for heavy snowfall as the weight of the accumulated snow could make it hard for the cover to be removed. And if frozen, it could dent your car when it falls off the cover. However, there is a windshield snow cover available in Amazon that is windproof with magnetic edges and double stitched door flaps that securely fit your vehicle. It might be worth checking out.

3. Using water. For light frost, pouring tap water on your windshield might work. But for areas with very cold winter, this could result to a disaster as the difference in temperature of the water and your windshield can cause it to shatter to pieces. Don't try using hot or warm water... it's not worth it to even try.

4. Commercial windshield spray de-icer. You can spend $10 to $50 on spray de-icer that melts snow, ice, and frost on contact and is harmless to your car finish. It's works fine if you can afford them. For areas with mild winter, this could probably work best. But for areas with freezing temperature lasting for days, this might not be practical because a spray de-icer won't last that long if you have to use it every morning.

There you go. Whatever method you choose, the important thing is to always stay safe and to think about your car too. Don't go for a quick and lazy method but in the long run will cause damage to your vehicle which would mean spending money for repair.

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