Rushing for work only to find your car windows frozen? Not a good way to start the day, but don’t fuss we got you covered with these fast and easy tricks to defrost your windows without doing any damage.
Science-Based Tips in Defrosting and Defogging Car Windows
- Turn the heater on. Start the car engine. Crank the heater up using the defroster setting. Continue cranking it to absorb excess moisture within the car. Hot air holds more moisture than cold air.
- Push the air conditioner button on. It may sound contradicting with the whole heater stuff, but what you are actually doing is activating a setting on the vehicle’s air conditioning system which will help in drying the air within the car quicker with the help of the coils in the air conditioning system.
- Make sure the air recirculation is off. Let fresh air enter into the vehicle. Since winter air is cold, it does not hold a lot of moisture and is dry. When fresh air gets into the car it enhances absorption capacity to hasten the drying of the saturated air trapped within the car.
- Defrost Windows. The above steps are necessary for defogging to take place. Defrosting is an entirely separate process. Keep in mind that defrosting should NOT include hot water. You need to do some minor pre-planning before defrosting but the planning would pay off as it will save you tons of headache later. If you do not want to scrape, then make a solution by pouring ⅓ cup of water in a spray bottle then add ⅔ cup of rubbing or Isopropyl alcohol. The freezing point of rubbing alcohol is 138 degrees so the solution would not freeze. Alcohol is also great in melting ice. You can also store it easily in your vehicle so you can conveniently spritz away windshield ice whenever you need.
Other Windshield/Window Defrosting Hacks
You can use water but make sure it is not boiling as boiling water can crack your windows. Use water then wipe away the slush of ice with a cloth or scraper. You can also use an old credit card but be sure not to scratch your glass.
If the car is also covered with snow then the best way to remove frosting is with a soft brush. Keep in mind to not only focus on the windshield. You should also clear the front grill to prevent overheating. You should also clear the lights.
Things to Remember Defrosting Your Car Windows
- Make sure you stay with your car all the time and if you must get something indoors then switch off and lock your car.
- Do not drive the car unless you have completely cleared your car. Some drivers do not bother to clear off all the ice before driving off and instead choose to drive with just enough window to see through. Do not do this as it will not only get you in trouble with the police but you also put yourself in danger.
- Keep in mind that you should not leave your wipers in auto when frost is expected since if the wipers are frozen to the glass it could damage the wiper motor. Do not even attempt to force frozen wipers off the glass.
- Avoid using your hands to wipe foggy windows as you will leave greasy smears plus a ring could also scratch the glass. Use a lint-free absorbent cloth instead.
Icy car windows pose a hazard when trying to drive during cold months and definitely need to be removed. There are many ways of defrosting and de-icing car windows but most of them can crack or shatter your windows. But the tips we’ve just given are safe to do.
Keep in mind that technology got your back. Some new cars come with remote heating technology which means you can heat up without you having to be in it. Car makers like Ford and Volvo offer remote defrosting and heating. Some manufacturers even allow you to use an app to turn on the heaters. Then there are plug-in cars and electric cars that have a smart pre-heat function that heats the car electrically when it is being plugged in. So you get a frost-free car without running down the battery and decreasing the car’s electric range.
Tips in Preventing Icy Windows and Windshields
Save yourself the trouble of defrosting your car windows by doing these hacks.
Vinegar Spray Magic
Spritz your windshield with a vinegar solution each night. Prepare the solution by mixing one part water and three parts of vinegar into an empty spray bottle. Spray the vinegar solution liberally on your windshield, side windows and rear window. After spraying, use a cloth or a squeegee to wipe down each window. In case you forgot to do this the night before, do not fret. The vinegar solution dissolves on contact so you can spray your windows and get a little assistance from the windshield wipers.
Rubbing Alcohol Solution
You can also use a rubbing alcohol solution instead of a vinegar solution. In an empty spray bottle, mix one part water and two parts rubbing alcohol.
Salt Water Solution
No vinegar and rubbing alcohol? No worries. If you have some salt and water, make a salt water solution. It would also do the trick. Vinegar, Salt and alcohol solutions don’t freeze at a lower temperature than normal water.
It might sound weird to use a root vegetable, but rubbing half an onion over car windows and windshield each night can effectively prevent frost from forming in the morning. All you have to do is cut the onion lengthwise then apply it on the car windows. The oil from the onion keeps the ice from forming.
Another tip to effectively keep ice, snow or frost from your windshield is to cover your windshield with its own blanket. Windshield covers are easy to put on and take off and doing this takes less time than spraying solution or rubbing onions on your car windows. They are also easy to store away when they are not in use. It can easily fit into your trunk. All you have to do is find windshield ice and snow covers that fit your car and you won’t have to worry about defrosting your car windows.
If you do not own a windshield cover, you can find other items you have at home that can be an alternative. Car mats can also serve as a windshield cover. While they are not large enough to cover the entire surface of your windshield they can cover a large portion. Other items that can also work are: shower curtains, old tablecloths and even carpet remnants.
Park Your Car Facing East
If you have the option to park your car facing east then that would do the trick. The sun rises in the east and its heat will defrost your windshield for you. With the frost melted, you can use your windshield wipers to do the rest for you to clear your car windows.
Winter is not so friendly to those who have no choice but to park their vehicles outside. But doing these simple hacks will keep from having to defrost your car windshields and windows early in the morning.
Preventing Frost Formation Inside Your Car
We’ve talked about preventing and getting frost on the exterior car windows. Now we’ll talk about how to prevent frost from forming in the interior of your car’s windshield. But first, let’s discuss why it happens in the first place. During summer you might have noticed that when you have a cold bottle of water condensation forms on the outside. The opposite happens during winter. The humidity in the interior of your car builds up on the cold window. When looking online, you’ll find a lot of extreme conclusions to why frost forms inside such as car leaks, and while this might be the case, the definition of “cold” depends on the person–it’s subjective. Also, not everyone lives in places where winter tires are required since it is suicidal not to have them since a clean road is only covered mostly with ice and snow. Most of the guides you can find online mentioned water leaking from the winter rain. But the colder it is, the less humidity is required for frost to build up. Hence if you live in areas where -10c is not that cold and -20c is quite normal, you really do not need a lot of moisture. So this is for people who don’t have water pouring in their vehicle but rather just have a really cold climate to work with.
Another reason for having frost build up inside the car is having your air recycled. Do not practice having heat on max without AC, and the air recycled. This practice can actually lead to having an ice sheet inside your windshield every time you needed to use your car. Keep your AC on. Fortunately, many cars now automatically have the AC turn on when you put the window defroster. The thing is your vehicle still gets heated up if you have the AC and the heat on at the same time. Your AC will actually remove the humidity that might cause the frost to build up inside.
Having water on the floor of your car can also lead to frost build up in the inside of your car. Make sure to shake your boots off outside while sitting on your car seat and if there’s a puddle on your floor lining, empty it out. For winter, you might want to use a plastic lining since fabric mats can absorb all the water. One tip is to use a cheaper kind of plastic lining and then keep a piece of fabric under them, this way you can easily remove it and clean it every now and then. But this can cause problems so best to have laser cut custom fitted plastic linings for your car if you can afford it. They are safer to use. When using a generic plastic mat with a towel of carpet underneath, it can slowly ride up and jam the pedal.
You can do other things to remove humidity which are not related to the specific humidity source. For instance, when the car is hot and frost melts, wipe it down using a highly absorbent lint-free cloth or towel. Another thing you should do is to clean your car regularly. Get rid of anything that can hold humidity inside your car such as rags, dust, and crumpled paper. These things can absorb water and cause fog inside your car. You can also use silica gel packs to prevent window fogging. The good thing about silica gel packs is that they can be dried out and reused. You can also keep kitty litter in your car if you want to get rid of foggy windows. Cat litters are designed to absorb moisture in a cat box and it also works to suck up moisture in the air inside a car. You can keep a sock filled with kitty litter in your car close to the biggest problem window. Another hack to prevent foggy windows is to add a coating of shaving cream. Shaving cream and de-fogging products have many common ingredients. You can use shaving cream as an alternative to de-fogging products since they can function the same plus they are a lot cheaper. Apply a small amount of shaving cream inside your car’s windows.
For electric cars, a frost might be building up because you are not turning on the heat for longer drives since they are more insulated and typically come with other features to minimize the usage of climate control like heated seats and steering wheel. Because of better insulation, most electric car owners tend to not run the defog and AC enough. To solve this, you can just fully turn on the heat for an hour once every month with the silica pack on or close to the windshield vent. This way it gets good air circulation.