No cleaning is fun but maybe the absolute worst kind of cleaning is de-icing your car’s windshield when it’s cold, windy, and (odds are) you’re already late. When it’s winter, you’ve got to know the best ways to de-ice a car windshield. That doesn’t always mean scraping. Check out these alternatives that might help you get on the road and out of the cold a little faster.

Isopropyl Alcohol

How to De-ice your Car's WindshieldMix together 1/3 cups water (room temperature) and 2/3 cups rubbing isopropyl alcohol. Pour this into a spray bottle and spray this mixture on your windshield. Your ice should disappear!

Curious about how it works? Isopropyl alcohol has a very low freezing point, -126.4° F. When you spray on the alcohol, it mixes with the water, lowers its freezing point, and melts the ice without allowing the water to refreeze.

Why not just use rubbing alcohol by itself then? You can do that. However, isopropyl alcohol becomes increasingly viscous as the temperature decreases. Get it cold enough and you’ll have rubbing alcohol the consistency of maple syrup on your hands! Having this alcohol-water solution in a spray bottle means you’ll have a portable de-icer that applies easily and can be kept in your car throughout the winter.

Recipe variation: some people add a few drops of dish soap to their de-icing solution.

Salt Water

You can also lower the freezing point of water with salt. However, if you just put salt on the frosty windshield, nothing will happen. The salt must permeate the ice. So create a saline solution with water and salt. You can use normal table salt, but rock salt (or road salt if you have it) will work better. Spray this solution on the glass to melt the ice.


  • Use this method sparingly as heavy salt exposure could damage the glass.
  • This works best with water that is somewhat warm, but do not use water that is too hot. The swing in temperature could cause your glass to shatter.

De-ice a Car Windshield with Prevention!

The best way to de-ice a windshield is to do so before the frost ever hits! Here are a few preventative tips:

  • Secure a blanket or a tarp over your windshield to prevent frost from forming.
  • Pour rubbing alcohol into your windshield washer reservoir. This will prevent the lines in the wiper from freezing up.
  • Spray your windshield with a spray that will prevent ice. Try a 3:1 solution of vinegar and water.

Have any more tips for cleaning a car windshield? Let us know! You can leave your de-icing trick in the comments below.