A Frosty Situation: The Best Ways to Defrost Your Windshield

A Frosty SituationNow I know what you’re thinking, FROST? IN ARIZONA? REALLY? Well yes really. Many people don’t realize Arizona can reach subzero temperatures at night, especially up north, and well below 32 F during the day. We might not reach temperatures as low as Minnesota or Massachusetts, but our temperatures drop enough to make defrosting a frustrating problem.

Of course, our suggestion is to park inside a garage if you can. For those of us who don’t have that luxury, we are able to offer some quick defrosting solutions for that icy windshield of yours. But first, you have to understand that rocks and sticks aren’t the only things that can break your windshield. Water can too and with much less effort. But without further ado, here are our top defrosting do’s and don’ts!

The Scraper

First of all, are we all familiar with the infamous scraper? Yes? Me too. They work but are just a pain to use and take a lot of time and muscle. If that is your preferred method then, by all means,  stop reading this and start scraping. YOU’RE WASTING PRECIOUS DAYLIGHT! If not, then here are the safest methods to defrost/ice your car’s windshields.

Other, Easier, Methods

Your Heater

For all methods, including scraping, we suggest turning your car on and cranking the defrost up with high heat. Now if you want you can just wait for this to work by itself, but we’re guessing you don’t have the time or gas for that.

Your Wipers (just don’t)

With luck, the glass by your wipers will have similar red lines around them as your rear windshield. These are designed to make sure your wipers aren’t stuck when you try to use them. Most people think wipers can magically push off the ice on their windshield, and most burn their wiper motors out trying; a costly mistake. In general, we don’t suggest using your wipers UNLESS you are 100% certain they can freely move across the glass.

Hair Dryers and other Gadgets

In addition to your car’s defroster and magic red lines, you can always bring out a hair drying and blast the frost with that hair whipping heat. You can also purchase a special device specificallydefrost your windshield made to defrost the windshield from the inside. These wonderful gadgets mount on the inside of your car blowing very hot air on your windshield.

What makes them different than your defroster? Well, they typically get much hotter and heat up much much faster than the car’s defroster. Unfortunately, these are a bit pricey, plus there are much cheaper solutions out there……like that wonderful scraper I know you all love!

The Spray

If you only have a thin layer of frost or a very thin layer of ice on your shield, an almost instant method would be a defrosting spray. Now you could go buy an 8oz bottle at the store for $10, or we could just tell you how to make it.

It’s super complicated, are you sure you’re ready? Really sure? Really really reall–it’s 1-part water to 2-parts high percent rubbing alcohol. So go get yourself a nice spray bottle and fill it with 1/3 water and the rest with good old isopropyl alcohol.

We recommend adding food dye or a label so you don’t accidentally try to spritz your gardenia with it. Remember the higher the percentage of the alcohol the better; 91% works great for me but I’m sure 70+% would work too.

Once you have your magic elixir, all you have to do is spray it on the frosted glass, wait for any ice or frost to turn clear and wet looking, then quickly wipe it off with a towel. Ta-dah!


Hot Water

Okay, so we have to address what you should NEVER do! Never ever pour, dump, or slop hot water on your windshield. The sudden temperature change will cause the glass to crack and possibly shatter; then you definitely won’t get to work on time. If it doesn’t crack your windshield than it will most likely refreeze before you can do anything, causing an even worse situation.

Lukewarm/Cold Water

It is possible to use lukewarm water, not hot water, to remove very thin or sparse ice as long as the temperature outside is not too cold; so well above freezing temps.

With this method just take a rag, dip it in the warm water and wipe off the ice. But this method is risky and could still result in a crack. Cold water can remover thin frost but if the frost is that thin than chances are you don’t need to defrost your windshield at all.

Good Luck

Alright. That was a bit much for Arizona I know, but trust me, when you walk out to your car at 6 am in January to go to work, you’ll thank me. And don’t leave your windshield all frosty either with the thought “oh I can see just fine through this pinhole in the ice” because the police can pull you over and give ya a big ol’ ticket.

So do us all a favor by defrosting your windshield before you leave. Happy adventures!