How to Make Homemade Deicers That Actually Work

You wake up in the morning on a cold, winter day and check the weather on your phone. Then, you notice the temperature outside is below freezing. As you walk toward the nearest window to peek outside, you see that your walkway and car are covered in ice. You forgot to buy a bag of rock salt, you didn’t put de-icing windshield washer fluid in your car, and now you’re panicked. 

You only have a few spare minutes after you’re showered and dressed to clear the ice before you have to drive to work. What are you going to do? 

Just breathe. Here, you’re going to learn about some last-minute DIY deicers you can use to ensure that you’re on schedule for the day. 

How To Prevent Ice From Forming on Your Car Windshield and Locks

You’re beyond this point already, so you’ll need to learn how to make a deicer, in just a minute. But, there are steps you can take to prevent this problem in the future.

Here’s what to do before the frost:

  1. Park Facing East – The Sun rises in the east and sets in the west. If your windshield is facing the Sun as it rises, there’s a chance that any ice formed in the night will melt before you wake up in the morning.  
  2. Spray Vinegar or Rub an Onion Your Windows – People swear by these tricks. The idea behind spraying vinegar on your windshield and windows the night before is that it freezes at a lower temperature than water, so they aren’t as likely to frost over while you’re sleeping. And, the oil from a cut onion rubbed generously across the glass can keep Jack Frost from riming your windows. 
  3. Cover Your Windshield – You can either purchase a cover designed for your windshield or use items from around your home to blanket the glass from the cold. Carpet remnants, blankets, tablecloths, and shower curtains will work nicely. Simply place a cover under your windshield wipers in the evening before you go to bed and remove it in the morning when you warm up your car. 

Now that you know the preventative measures to take against freezing temperatures, let’s look at some solutions to try today. 

5 Homemade Deicing Sprays You Can Make Right Now

These homemade windshield de-icers will require a spray bottle (or a large sprayer for walkways). If you have a previously unused or clean one lying around, great! If not, make sure to thoroughly rinse any chemicals from a reused bottle to avoid adverse reactions with the ingredients in your DIY deicer.

Solution #1: Vinegar and Water

Three parts white (cleaning) vinegar and one part water.

Solution #2: Isopropyl Alcohol and Water

Two parts rubbing alcohol and one part water.

Solution #3: Salt and Water

Three parts water and one part salt. 

Note: Some people use plain, dry salt to de-ice driveways and windshields; while this can eventually help, salt should actually be activated with water to work quickly and effectively. Further, salt runoff is corrosive can damage your cars paint. 

Solution #4: Vodka

Hey, if vodka is all you got, go for it! There is enough alcohol in vodka for it to de-ice in below-freezing temperatures. 

Solution #5: Pickle Brine

Here’s another possible answer, if you happen to have dill pickle juice on hand (after all, it’s made mostly from vinegar and salt). 

Steps to Apply Your Homemade Deicer:

  1. Choose a recipe above.
  2. Pour the solution into your spray bottle and shake if needed.
  3. Spray liberally onto your windshield and windows (or walkway).
  4. Wipe away the melted ice and excess solution with a cloth or squeegee (or a snow shovel, for walkways).
  5. Voila — you should now have ice-free surfaces and the freedom to go about your day as usual! 

Bonus Deicing Tips: 

  1. Don’t disregard your ice scraper. While we all know it’s a slightly annoying chore, you can always use an ice scraper to remove the frost from windows when you don’t have the ingredients needed to make a homemade deicer. 
  2. NEVER use hot water on a frozen windshield. Hot water and icy glass don’t mix. Especially when using pressure to scrape ice from a windshield, this can lead to cracks. So, use either lukewarm or cold water in your homemade deicing sprays. 
  3. Do NOT try to lift or turn on your windshield wipers while the glass is still frozen. If you turn stuck wipers on or attempt to lift them from a frozen windshield, you can damage the rubber that gives them their squeegee-like effect. So, wait until the ice is melted if you don’t want to replace them right away. 
  4. With prolonged use, salt and rubbing alcohol can destroy automotive paint. The first time salt or rubbing alcohol touches the paint on your car, you might not notice a problem. But, if you continue to use them, after a while, you will start to see the gloss fade and the color dissolve. So, when using these ingredients in your homemade de-icer, take care to only use them on the glass. 
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