Always late to work because you can’t de-ice your windshield fast enough? Here’s how to get ice off windshield in a jiffy. These tools and tricks will have you ice free in no time.
Not sure where to start to get all that ice off your vehicle? From defrosters to DIY concoctions, check out the list of techniques below for fast and safe ideas!
The first piece of equipment that people usually turn to for help defrosting their windshields is the mechanism with the same name: the defroster.
After all, defrosters are built into cars for that very purpose. And hey, they work. The only downside to using a defroster by itself is that it takes time to get going.
Depending on how cold it is outside and in your car, it can take 15-30 minutes for your vehicle to warm up enough for those defrosters to work their magic.
Internal Cabin Heater
You might also consider an internal cabin heater. Toyota has an electric cabin warmer that warms the air, melting ice on the glass before you even start the engine. And it’s controlled by Bluetooth.
Everyone who lives in a snowy part of the United States and Canada has a scraper in their trunk. There’s no doubt that it is a necessary tool for every cold-weather veteran.
But how to tell the good scrapers from the bad?
Usually, most people agree that a kind of contraption with both a brush (for powdery snow and such), and a scraper function are best.
That way, the brush/scraper combo can cover more ground and all the varying types of snow and ice that might plague your vehicle.
Here are some well-known, fan-favorite brands:
- Hopkins SubZero
- AstroAl Snow Brush (2 Pack)
- Mallory Snow Brush with Foam Grip
- Snow Joe Telescoping Snow Broom
Though they are similar in function, some of these are very different from each other. Specifically, the Snow Joe, as this one is purely made of foam instead of plastic.
That being said, any of these are a good start to finding the right ice scraper for you and your car.
3. Brand Brews
If you’re looking for a more passive or preventive tactic, spray-on deicers may be exactly what you’re looking for!
Usually used right before heading out on the road, spray-on deicers are sprinkled on windshields, where the melting begins.
Because they take less than 10 minutes to fully remove ice, these brews are a popular alternative to scraping ice and snow off car windshields.
Working like any other helpful window cleaner, the spray-on de-icers are easy to use and quick to defrost.
Here are some of the best brands:
- Prestone Windshield Trigger De-Icer Spray
- CRC Ice-Off Windshield De-Icer Spray
- SPLASH Red Hot Windshield Trigger De-Icer Spray
These are the best-rated de-icers, but most spray-ons are in a similar range. These above can be found online on Amazon or in-store at your local Walmart.
4. Spray Bottle Brews (3 Recipes)
With some of the more go-to “normal” methods out of the way, we come to some more interesting home remedies.
So if you’re not looking to spend money on brand name de-icers, there are plenty of recipes across the internet that anyone can try with household items!
Some of the more popular formulas:
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Salt Water
Rubbing Alcohol DeIcer
Starting off with the most popular, we have the rubbing alcohol and water method.
By mixing 1/3 room temperature water with 2/3 rubbing alcohol (or anything with isopropyl in it), together into a spray bottle, these liquids combine to make an effective DIY de-icer.
*Because rubbing alcohol has a freezing point of 138 degrees, the formula can be kept in the back of your car without any risk of it freezing up.
Apple Cider Vinegar De-Icing Mix
Similar to the rubbing alcohol and water method, the apple cider vinegar needs to be mixed with some water for the blend to work.
When you mix 1/3 room temperature water with 2/3 apple cider vinegar together in a spray bottle, these liquids combine to make a preventive mixture for ice.
The main difference between the rubbing alcohol method and the apple cider vinegar tactic is that while the rubbing alcohol and water spray is used the day of, the apple cider and water spray is better off used the night before as a preemptive measure.
Salt Water Deicing Brew
In our last water mix-in, salt can also be a helpful de-icer.
Using a spray bottle as the container, fill up the canister with room temperature water, adding 1-2 scoops of salt (or 1/2 cup) to the mix.
Together the salt and warm-ish water can break down the ice or snow covering your windshield the morning it is used.
If you are hoping to block ice from getting to your windshield and don’t have apple cider vinegar, there’s always the classic cardboard approach.
Instead of spending close to $20-30 dollars on frost guards, people have gotten resourceful and used cardboard instead.
Cut out a large shape of cardboard to cover your windshield.
Then you just tuck the cardboard under your windshield wipers the night before snow and hope for an unobstructed and ice-free windshield come morning.
6. Wet Blankets
Like the cardboard approach, people have resorted to soaking blankets or sheets in salty water (see recipe above) and using that to drape across their windshields the night before traveling.
This is a sloppy solution but should work if you don’t mind the mess.
7. Garages and Remote Starters
To point out more obvious methods, garages and car shelters can reduce the amount of ice that builds up on your car.
ShelterLogic makes a nice set of portable garages. This all-season garage-in-a-box is a great option to keep ice and snow off your car.
And remote control car starters could certainly come in handy. Just start your engine remotely and let the heater warm the glass and melt the ice.
These can protect your vehicles from the weather and enable you to warm up vehicles faster so less equipment is needed to get your day started.
8. Potatoes and Onions
Saving the strangest for last, we have potatoes and onions. Cutting a potato in half and rubbing it across your windshield has proved to be an ice repellent.
Apparently, the sugar in the potatoes creates a kind of barrier that prevents too much ice from spreading across your windshield over the course of a night. So why not give that a try?
3 Defrosting Techniques to Avoid
Here are three techniques you should avoid when removing ice from your windshield.
- Hot Water: Don’t introduce dramatic temperature changes – or you risk cracking your windshield.
- Hairdryers: This will be more gradual than than a pot of hot water, but you’ll still risk cracking the glass. This is because it doesn’t heat the surface equally – one section will increase in temperature and expand. The other will still be cold and unexpanded. This will easily crack glass.
- Metal Scrapers: Unless you are using brass ice scrapers, avoid scraping with metal. You’ll risk scratching the glass.
These can damage your windshield and cause more harm than good.
These tips should help you keep your car and your winterized RV clear of ice.
More reading: How to Stop Car Windows from Fogging Up in Winter (10 Methods)
How do you remove ice from your windshield? Have a tip to share? Let me know below!
- About the Author
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Bryan Haines is a co-founder and blogger on GudGear – and is working to make it the best resource for outdoor gear and guides.
He loves the outdoors and has hiked the Andes, kayaked the Galapagos, and biked and camped around Nova Scotia, Canada.
He is a travel blogger at Storyteller Travel and blogs about photography at Storyteller Tech. He is also co-founder of Storyteller Media, a company he started with his wife, Dena.
Tuesday 31st of January 2023
The best way I have found is like many others, defrost with A/C ,really helped also keeping window free from moisture by using a newspaper to clean them works well and doesn't scratch the windows or leave them streak that can be as bad as a fogged window.