The thought of waking up to ice or frost on your windshield on a workday is intimidating, but it’s something that occurs all too often during the winter season.
The sub-zero temperatures of winter cause fog and ice to form on your car windows when the moisture evaporates, condenses, and freezes on the glass.
Fortunately there are certain precautions you can take to prevent frozen car windows. Read on for tips on how to prevent car windows from freezing.
Why Are My Windshields Frozen?
Ice can form on your windshield when the temperatures typically hit below freezing, but it can also form even above this level.
For instance, you may find that there is still ice on the inside of your car even after clearing off all the outside ice.
This ice usually forms from water vapor, when the temperature on the ground sinks below the freezing point. The process begins as frost, which then gently cools over the windshield to form ice.
This typically happens when the temperature on your windshield is much lower than the surrounding air. If there are small pieces of dirt on your car window, they can also attract water droplets that will then cool on the glass.
Windows may also leak water vapor into your car, which in turn freezes and turns into ice. There are several reasons your car windshield may leak air, including:
- Little or no insulation around the windshield frame
- Old, damaged, or worn out windows
- Missing or worn down weather-stripping
- Poorly installed windows
How to Prevent Car Windows from Freezing
1. Cover your windshield
This is one of the easiest ways to prevent frost and ice buildup on your windshield.
Simply purchase a windshield cover to protect your car or create a DIY cover using old rubber bath mats, a tarp, or cardboard.
This will create a barrier, which should keep your car windows from freezing overnight.
2. Use Deicer
There are many ice prevention recipes. Just a few spritzes of an effective deicer before you cover your windshield can help keep ice from forming on your car windows. Here are a few recipes:
a) Vinegar method
Mix 3 parts white vinegar with 1 part water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution over your car windows when you anticipate snow or ice.
b) Vodka method
Mix 1 part water with 2 parts vodka in a spray bottle and spray the mixture over your windshields in the evening so that you don’t wake up to frozen car windows.
You can also use the mixture to prevent fog from forming on the inside of your car windows.
3. Chemical Formulas
There are many sellers of commercial formulas on the market today. These are quite useful as well, if you don’t mind the chemical residue.
The antifreeze used in commercial products is especially toxic and can poison animals, the soil, and even your children.
4. Rubbing Alcohol
If you don’t have time or ability to go to the store to get a windshield deicer, a household product such as rubbing alcohol should do the trick.
Before you retire to sleep, spray a rubbing alcohol solution (3 parts rubbing alcohol + 1 part water) over your car windows. This solution will help prevent the formation of ice and frost on your windshield.
5. Warm Up the Car
Turn your heater to high to warm up your car and melt any ice on the inside of your vehicle.
Once the melted ice dissipates, use a dry cloth to wipe off the condensation and then turn on the air conditioner for a couple of minutes to get rid of any remaining fog.
How to Unfreeze Car Windows
Make or purchase deicer spray
When it comes to deicers, you basically have two options:
a) Make your own product with Isopropyl alcohol + water spray
Combine one part water with two parts 70 percent isopropyl alcohol in a spray bottle. The resultant solution should have a freezing point of 5 degrees.
When you apply this solution on your car window, it will cause the ice to melt by reducing the melting point of water.
b) Purchase a commercial deicing spray
Most car window de-ice sprays are relatively effective, but they can be costlier than making your own. Store bought deicers are readily available in big box stores and local car supply shops.
NB: Regardless of your choice, be sure to store your deicer at room temperature in your home.
Also, do not attempt to remove ice from your vehicle by pouring a bucket of warm or hot water over it. The thermal shock could make the glass crack.
How to melt ice from your windshield
Here is how to accelerate the melting process when deicing your windshield:
- Start your vehicle
- Knock the temperature to the warmest level
- Choose the “defrost” mode for the rear and front windshields
- Turn the blower to maximum blast
Ensure that the tailpipe is clear when idling your vehicle to defrost the car window. Any blockage from snow or ice could lead to exposure to toxic carbon monoxide for anyone inside the car.
a) Heat up a cloth
This is one of the quickest methods to deal with frozen car windows. Simply heat and then apply a hand warmer or dry cloth on your frozen windshield. The cloth should not be wet, as it may ruin the glass.
b) Silica gel packets
These packets are often found in new purses and shoeboxes. Rather than throwing them out, you can place your silica gel packets under your windshields overnight to avoid defrosting.
However, be sure to keep the packets away from pets and small children as they are toxic.
FAQs on Defrosting Car Windows
Should I pour warm water on my frozen car window?
Dealing with frozen windshield on your car can be frustrating, but you should not pour warm or hot water on the glass. The extreme change in temperature will cause the windshield to shatter or crack.
Is deicer good for your car?
Modern deicers are not harmful to modern vehicle paintwork. However, you should not apply deicer on any other part of your car, especially the interior and the parts around the engine, as a mixture in chemicals could cause permanent damage.
Will Epson salt unfreeze car windows?
You may use Epsom salt to unfreeze your car windows, although the process can be rather slow. The chemical structure in Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate heptahydrate, where 7 water molecules are bonded to each Epsom salt crystal. Epsom salt has to link to the water molecules in the ice for melting to occur.
The measures above should help you out on how to prevent car windows from freezing. One particular concern among most car owners is ice forming on the inside of the car.
If you notice frost regularly forming inside your car windows, you should first ensure that any possible openings in your vehicle are completely closed. Moisture should not be able to penetrate if your car is properly-sealed.
If you find moisture inside your car with no signs of leakage, take your vehicle to a garage as soon as possible. In some cases, you could be the source of the moisture.
For instance if you fail to remove all the snow from your shoes before entering the vehicle, the car carpets will absorb the moisture and release it into the air, from where it will cool and condense on your windshields.