How to De-Ice Your Windshield

What’s possibly our least favorite thing about winter? De-icing the windshield. The windshield always seems the iciest whenever we’re running late, too!

If you’re anything like us, you’d like to de-ice your windshield and get on the road as quickly as possible. Fortunately, we have some tips for you!

Our glass experts have compiled a few tips to de-ice your windshield quickly–-while making sure the glass stays in good shape. Keep reading to find out!

Tip #1: Prevent ice in the first place.

The best way to avoid this dreaded winter chore is to prevent ice from forming in the first place.

If you have a garage, park your car inside. Even a covered carport can help prevent some ice accumulation.

If parking in a sheltered spot isn’t an option, try covering your windshield. You can buy a windshield cover at many auto parts stores for this purpose, but household items will work in a pinch. This includes things like a tarp, large towel, or an old sheet, folded and placed on your windshield under the wipers.

Windshield covers are the most effective when the weather forecast doesn’t include heavy snowfall or high winds. Heavy snow can make it difficult to remove the cover, and high winds can cause the cover to whip around, which may scratch your paint. For most days in our area, however, windshield covers can be a big help.

Tip #2: Prep your car.

When it comes to de-icing the glass on your car, it pays to have the right tools. You’ll need a plastic scraper (not metal–you don’t want to scratch the glass) and brush. You’ll also want to refill your windshield washer reservoir with winter fluid, which can help with de-icing.

In addition, when you know temperatures will dip, it’s a good idea to lift the windshield wiper arms from the glass. Depending on your wipers, you can either fold the arms up or place something (wood, towels, etc.) between the arms and the windshield. This prevents the windshield wipers from freezing to the glass.

Tip #3: Do NOT use hot water, vinegar, or blunt force.

There are a few common de-icing “hacks” we see online that are bad ideas: hot water, vinegar solutions, and hammers or other tools.

First, using hot or warm water to melt the snow and ice off your windshield can result in cracks. Rapid temperature changes stress the glass of your windshield and can result in what’s known as “stress cracks.” Windshield de-icing is annoying, but we’re sure you’d rather deal with ice than a windshield repair or replacement!

Vinegar, too, can damage your car. The acidity in vinegar can wear away wax and eat away at the paint and finish of your car.

Finally, we do not recommend using blunt force of any kind to break the ice. (No hammers!) You might end up chipping, cracking, or even breaking your windshield while trying to break up the ice.

Tip #4: Start your car and let it warm up slowly.

The tried-and-true way to remove ice from your windshield is by letting your car sit idle with the defroster running. We recommend turning the heat up slowly, rather than blasting your windshield with hot air. (Again, you want to avoid sudden changes in temperature for the health of the glass.)

While the defroster is running, you can speed up the process by scraping ice away with the plastic scraper and brush. Use the scraper gently and only on the glass, so you don’t scratch your paint. Use the brush on the other areas of your car, like the hood and doors.

Tip #5: Make a de-icer spray.

For those mornings when you need to be out the door 10 minutes ago, you can use a de-icer spray while your car idles.

Some people recommend a salt water solution, but we’re not crazy about that idea. Salt water, like vinegar, can damage your car. You have to be careful not to apply the salt water solution to the metal on your car, or it can lead to corrosion.

Another option is a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water. If your solution is mostly water (85-90% water, 10-15% rubbing alcohol), the mixture won’t affect the paint or finish of your car at all. At higher percentages of rubbing alcohol, though, you’ll need to be careful to spray only on the windshield. (It can damage the paint.)

We’re Here for You

We hope these tips help you de-ice your windshield stress-free this winter.

If you have other questions, be sure to check out our blog. And if you need help with windshield chips, cracks, or damage, we’ve got you covered. Call us today or get a free quote.