DIY Ice Melters for Your Car Windshield

icy car windshield in winter
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 15-25
What You'll Need
Spray bottle
Rubbing alcohol

Winter is officially here, and although many people enjoy the various activities that snow brings – sledding, skating, skiing, and snowboarding – snow also brings ice and dangerous driving conditions.

Although we can't control the weather, we can at least make sure our cars are safe to drive. One of the ways to do that is to make sure all of the ice is cleared off of our windows for clear visibility.

It definitely helps to start your car early to warm it from the inside out, but the hated task of scraping windows often leaves drivers grumbling and strapped for time. As it turns out, there are actually a few very simple ways to de-ice your window using just a few common household ingredients.

1. Water and Vinegar

bottle of vinegar

All you need is a spray bottle, one part water and three parts vinegar to make this DIY ice melter. Shake it well to ensure the water and vinegar are mixed thoroughly, and then evenly spray a decent amount on your frozen car windows. The ice will gradually melt away! Don't be afraid to apply a generous amount of the vinegar water spray as needed until all of the ice is gone. Because people often use vinegar to clean their windows, you know you it's safe to use an ice melter.

To save yourself the trouble in the morning, spray the vinegar and water mixture on your windows at night to prevent ice and frost from forming in the first place.

  • Warning: Vinegar is acidic, so overusing it can eat away at paint and cause small pits in the windshield. Be sure to use only enough to get the job done and not to simply pour vinegar on your car.

2. Alcohol and Water

Grab a spray bottle, but this time mix one part water and two parts rubbing alcohol. If you'd like, you can add a few drops of dish soap to help better melt the ice. Then, shake the bottle to mix the ingredients together, and it's ready to go.

You would use this mixture the same way as the vinegar and water spray, by simply spraying it on to your frosted and iced car windows. The mixture will help melt the ice, making it easier and faster to scrape ice off your car windows.

  • Warning: Since alcohol is flammable, it's recommended that you stay away from sparks and flames when applying it.

3. Salt and Water

salt spilling out of a shaker

This is another simple solution for an icy car windshield. A saltwater solution will slowly, but surely, melt your ice, as salt lowers the freezing point of water. However, if your outdoor temperature is below freezing, it might be better to use rock salt as opposed to table salt.

  • Warning: Do not salt your windshield while pouring hot water, as this can crack your windshield. Take it slow with cold water and salt for the best results.

4. Chemical Products

If you're not opposed to using chemicals, and are smart enough to think ahead and buy them before your car is frozen, there are a number available in auto supply stores, general stores, and home improvement stores. No, this is not a DIY fix, but it is worth mentioning because these chemical products work quickly and efficiently.

5. Cover Your Windows

Finally, the best defense is a good offense. Rather than fight the ice off in the morning with spray, simply cover your windows with towels, sheets, newspaper, or cardboard in order to protect your car windows from the elements. Towels and sheets work great, but newspaper is nice because you can simply throw it in the recycle bin each morning rather than have to wash and dry it.

By covering your windows, you are helping to prevent ice, frost, and snow from building up over night. Use your wipers to hold it in place, along with bungee straps or weights of some kind.