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Quick Tips to De-Icing Your Windshield in the Winter

By Safelite // Jun 7, 2016

Anyone who lives in a snowy part of the country knows the hassle that comes with warming up your car in the morning. Stepping outside into the frigid air and walking across the crisp, fresh snow to your car, only to have to brush off all the snow and wish that the heater worked faster.

Easily the most bothersome element of a cold morning is wishing that the windshield would de-ice and de-fog faster so you could get going on the road. So what is the best way to deice your windshield before driving off in cold weather?

As it turns out, there are many steps you can take to quickly get your car warmed up and road ready on a wintry morning. For one, put down the scraper! At Safelite, we know the consequences that come with damage to your windshield. A scraper can cause scratches and other damages that need repairs. With a brush and your windshield wipers working properly, there is an easy solution.

Make a de-icer spray

A de-icer spray can make clearing off ice and snow much easier. You can easily prepare for the morning cold weather by mixing one up the evening before, even keeping a spray bottle filling with deicing solution in your car throughout the entire winter. There are two main ways to go about making it:

  • Rubbing Alcohol Solution: Highly recommended is the mixing of isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) and water. Mix two-thirds rubbing alcohol and one-third water and place into a spray bottle. Shake up the bottle, spray the solution on your windshield, and watch as the ice and frost disappears. Then turn on your windshield wipers and enjoy a clear windshield in a matter of seconds rather than waiting for your defroster to kick in.
  • Salt Water Solution: For this, take either table salt or road salt and mix in several spoonfuls until the mixture is saturated. You’ll have to be careful to keep the salt water on the glass and avoid any metal area, as salt corrodes metal. Salt water works because it freezes at lower temperatures than water, melting it away.

Each can be mixed in a common spray bottle. Kept handy during cold months, it can quickly clear your windshield of frost and snow in the morning. In general, it is safer to use a rubbing alcohol solution because there is less risk of damage to your car’s paint and to the seal around the windshield.

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Other avenues to de-ice the windshield

To remove ice and frost on your windshield, here is a step by step guide on how to deice your windshield effectively and safely.

  1. Start your car and let it idle.
  2. Use your spray solutions on the windshield to dissolve the ice.
  3. Use a soft brush or your windshield wipers to wash away any excess water that is affecting your vision of the road.
  4. Keep an ice scraper in the car, but use it gently.
  5. If necessary, cover the windshield overnight to slow down or prevent the buildup of ice.

Additional tips on winter driving and de-icing your car

Aside from the spray solutions, we’ve all been in situations where our commute to work in the morning is cold and miserable. Even when the windshield is cleared, you could still have trouble with the rear windshield or side mirrors that are fogged up and iced. Here are some additional tips for winter driving.

  • Warm the car slowly, not on full blast The fog on the windshield that makes it so hard to see in the early morning is caused by condensation forming on the inside of the car. The way to get rid of it is to slowly make the car warmer, not cooler, until it fades. It is important to not turn your heater on full blast right away, as sudden temperature changes can potentially damage your windshield.
  • Always clean off all your mirrors, windows and roof After clearing the windshield, you might think you’re ready to get going. However, you still have several things to clean off before it’s safe to drive on the road. It’s important to make sure you can see out of every window, and every mirror before heading out. Merging on the highway, or checking traffic is hazardous if you can’t see out your mirrors. It’s also important to make sure the roof is clear of snow. Suddenly stopping with snow on your roof can send it flying everywhere, obscuring your view of the road, and the view of other drivers. Use your ice scraper to make sure all windows and mirrors are clear of frost and ice, and use the brush to clear snow off the roof.
  • Keep warm clothes in your car As an extra safety tip, it’s smart to always keep extra warm clothes in your car during cold months in addition to other necessary items. Winter months are the peak times for cars to fail to start, or to break down. Should you find yourself with a broken-down car in 8-degree weather waiting an hour for a tow truck, you will be very happy that you had a couple of extra coats and blankets in your trunk. Winter driving, especially during the morning commute, can be a nuisance if you don’t properly de-ice the windshield and other windows before pulling out of the driveway or parking lot. Prepare a spray bottle before the weather changes, and keep our other winter driving tips in mind, especially how to warm up the car for a more comfortable ride.
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