How To Get Ice Off Windshield Quickly (4 Simple Methods)

Learn how to get ice off of your car's windshield fast and quickly. This guide gives you four different methods you can start using today.

How To Get Ice Off Windshield

Do any drivers really enjoy the troubles that winter weather can bring to the car? From navigating slippery roads to figuring out what tires are best, there are a lot of extra steps that must be taken during winter.

However, you don’t have to spend a lot of time learning how to get ice off the windshield, with our simple tips.

In this guide, we cover the top ways to remove ice from the windshield using simple tools and ingredients you already have at home. We also talk about methods you shouldn’t use and discuss how to prevent icing from happening. At the end of our guide, you gain answers to some of your top windshield icing questions. 

How to Get Ice Off Windshield Quickly

To get ice off the windshield quickly, start by turning on the car defroster to get the process moving. You can further spray the auto glass with a de-icer that you purchase at the store, or you make yourself. Use an ice scraper to get any remaining ice off of the windshield. If you don’t have a scraper, use a plastic spatula or credit card. 

Here is a more detailed list of how to get ice off the windshield quickly:

1. Car Defroster

Car Defroster

What’s most helpful in cold weather is the car defroster. Before you do anything else, you should start the car and turn on this setting. It will take some time before it starts to do its job, which is why you don’t want to hesitate. 

If it’s very cold outside, it could take 15 minutes or more before the defrost is working to its potential. If you have a remote starter, now is the time to use it. 

2. Ice Scraper

Scrape Ice From Windshield

With the car running, get out your ice scraper to start clearing the windshield. If you live in a climate where ice and snow are common, you must have this handy tool. In fact, you should have several, just in case one gets lost.

Use caution choosing an ice scraper. They aren’t all made of the same quality and you can quickly damage your auto glass by using the wrong type.

What do you do if you live in an area that doesn’t normally see ice, so you don’t have a scraper? There are some alternatives you can use if you are in a pinch, just be careful. Try using your credit card, a household plastic spatula, a CD case or a plastic dustpan. Even a kayak paddle can help clear your windshield. 

3. De-Icing Spray

Windshield Defroster Solution

With the right de-icer, you can quickly thaw some ice or snow that is on the windshield. These products are sold online, or you can visit your local auto parts store to get a bottle.

Make sure you follow all of the instructions on the bottle. Additionally, it helps if you combine this method with the other options for a quicker cleanup. 

4. Homemade Solutions

If you don’t like all of the chemicals that go in commercial de-icers, choose to make your own. Despite what you read online, not all products should be used on the windshield.

The most popular method that is safe is rubbing alcohol. You can mix this with a little room-temperature water to get the windshield clear. Additionally, you can keep a spray bottle of this solution in the car because rubbing alcohol doesn’t freeze until it hits -128 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Some people prefer to use apple cider vinegar and water. While this could work, it’s not as effective as alcohol. You may find this to be a better preventative measure instead. The final solution that would be safe is some salt water. Fill up a spray bottle with a couple of scoops of salt and room-temperature water. Spray it on the windshield and start scraping. 

How Not To Remove Ice Off Windshield

1. Metal Scraping Tools

The value of a scraping tool is invaluable when dealing with ice. However, you have to be careful regarding what material the scraper is made from.

If you choose a scraper made of metal, you could scratch the auto glass. The cracks and scratches, combined with the cold weather, don’t mesh well together. The freezing temperatures could cause major damage to the windshield before the season is over. 

2. Hot Water

Some of the solutions we talked about discuss using room temperature water. This is safe to use and is the advisable option. However, some online resources will tell you to dump large amounts of hot water onto your windshield to melt the ice. This practice should never be followed.

If you create a dramatic temperature change to the windshield, it could crack. What started as a simple problem could quickly become a costly fix. 

3. Hairdryers

You may think the hairdryer is a better solution because it doesn’t heat up the entire windshield at once, but it’s not. Yes, it will be gradual, but there’s still a good chance of cracking the glass.

The surface will not heat up equally, leaving one part hotter than the others. The glass will expand and crack, leading to a replacement or repair. 

Prevent Ice on a Windshield

Remove Snow From Windshield

1. Park Inside

The best way to keep ice off of the windshield is to park in a covered location. If you have a garage, you want to pull your car inside before a storm or freezing temperatures hit.

Even if you don’t have a garage, you could put up some sort of carport to provide protection. Build something sturdy that won’t fall on the car during a storm. Additionally, it might seem like a good idea to park under a tree to avoid ice and snow, but the precipitation can make branches very heavy. Your tactic might backfire if a tree limb comes down on the windshield.

2. Cover Windshield

If you don’t have the option to park inside, you can at least cover up the windshield before a storm. Some people choose to use a car cover to protect the entire vehicle, but that’s not always necessary.

You can also use a magnetic windshield cover. Otherwise, choose come household products, such as a piece of cardboard or a large beach towel. 

3. Use Remote Car Starter

While the remote starter will not prevent the ice from hitting the windshield, it is still a helpful tool to keep you from standing outside clearing the glass. Additionally, the remote car starter is going to cost you a little more than some other options, but most people find it to be worth the cost, especially if you live in a cold climate.

Once you notice the windshield is icy, go ahead and start the car. To make the situation easier, set the heating system to defrost the night before so it starts up when the engine does. In the meantime, you can simply sit inside your home while the defroster does its job. Just remember to allow for plenty of time because the engine must heat up first. 

FAQs

Can I Pour Cold Water On My Frozen Windshield?

You know that hot water should never be poured on the windshield because of the dramatic temperature change that can lead to cracks, so it makes sense that cold water could be used. However, the cold water can quickly freeze to the glass, making it even more difficult to clean. Our best advice is to avoid dumping any large amount of water on the glass. 

How Long Does it Take for Ice to Melt Off Windshield?

If you plan to use the defrost function only, you could be waiting thirty minutes for the glass to clear. However, if you turn on the defrost and incorporate de-icing sprays or an ice scraper, you should be able to restore visibility within five to 15 minutes. To cut down on time, let the defrost run for a few minutes first.

Does Vinegar Melt Ice?

Some people choose to use a solution of apple cider vinegar and room-temperature water to remove ice. The acetic acid found in vinegar lowers the ice’s melting point. However, it doesn’t work as well as rubbing alcohol, which provides faster results. 

Why Do People Put Their Windshield Wipers Up When it Freezes?

When you push the wipers up away from the glass before a storm, it’s much easier to clear it off the next day. Additionally, it stops the wipers from freezing against the windshield. Still, you could put more stress on the spring that is holding the wiper arms to the windshield, so it’s something to keep in mind.

What Will Unfreeze Wipers?

If the wipers have frozen up, consider using a rubbing alcohol and room temperature water solution. The alcohol is quick to reduce the ice’s melting point. You can also substitute vinegar for the alcohol, but it’s not going to work as quickly. 

Conclusion: Icy Windshield

Once the windshield gets icy, you should turn on your car defroster to work for you. Use a high-quality ice scraper and some de-icing sprays, whether commercial or homemade, to further clean the auto glass. With these methods and some preventative steps, you can ensure less stress during winter. 

There’s a lot to think about after a snow or ice storm. By learning how to get ice off the windshield quickly, you have a lot less to figure out when the time comes. We’ve provided some simple solutions that anyone can do, making it easier for you to get the glass cleared for superior visibility in the worst weather.

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Brian Jones
Written by:

Brian Jones is a writer and owner of a used car dealership in the Dallas, Texas area. While he loves just about everything automotive, he has a special place in his heart for trucks, the bigger the better. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his family and hiking new trails. ASE Certified Master Technician.

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