How to defrost the windshield
Waking up to a frosty windshield can be pretty disheartening, especially when you already have a lot on your plate. Then there is the temptation to scrape off the ice and get on your way as soon as possible or to drive with the frost, hoping it would melt off. If you are reading this, you have probably been in such a situation. How best do you defrost your windshield and get along with your journey?
First, having a frosty windshield is not a death sentence, and it is almost inevitable to have an icy windshield during cold seasons if you leave your car in the open. Hence, you should be alert and learn how to defrost your windshield without panic.
If you are wondering how to defrost your windshield and car windows, this article is here to offer th help you need.
How do I defrost my windshield?
Defrosting your windshield is one of the easiest things to do by yourself. The following steps will guide you on how to get rid of the frost on your windshield.
Turn on your defogger
To defrost your windshield, start your engine and turn on your defogger. You can turn it to the highest or press the max defrost button if you want a faster result. If your vehicle has a rear windshield defroster, you will also want to turn that on. Within 5 to 15 minutes, your car should warn up and start defrosting. It’s also worth having your cabin air filter explained since it helps with defroster operation.
Turn on your heater
You may also want to turn the heater on up to the highest. Since warm air can hold more moisture, the warmer the vehicle is, the more excess moisture will be absorbed in the car, making the fog dry faster.
Turn the air conditioning on
This may sound like a contradicting move since the heater is already doing so much. The air conditioner may decrease the temperature in the vehicle. But turning on the A/C triggers your A/C system to act as a dehumidifier with the help of its coils. This removes the moisture inside your car and dries the air even faster.
Turn the fan to the highest setting
Setting the fan to the highest temperature or full hot helps maximise the drying air.
Turn air recirculation off
On a cold day, you should turn off the air recirculation and allow the outside air into the car. This is because the outside air has less moisture, which makes it dryer than the air in your vehicle. Turning off the recirculation ups the absorption process and reduces the defogging time.
Clear all snow and ice from the windshield
Defogging your windshield may take longer if the vehicle is covered in snow. Therefore, it would be best to clear the windshield and rear window of all snow and ice to get the best results in a shorter time. While the defrosting process is ongoing, use a plastic ice scraper and a soft brush to eliminate all ice and snow on the windshield. The scrapping end of the ice scrapper would help remove thicker patches of ice, while the other end with the soft brush will help loosen and push off the ice. When choosing an ice scrapper, it is advisable to select one made of plastic rather than metal to avoid cracking your windshield.
How do I defrost my windshield quickly
The defrosting process requires a ton of patience to accomplish. However, if you are in a hurry, can’t stand the scraping process or would rather not waste your gas trying to defrost the windshield, there are other ways to get the job done. Sometimes it also takes knowing the best way for cleaning the inside windshield to get the highest possible visibility.
Use lukewarm water
Take out a bucket and fill it with lukewarm water. Carry it to your car, then gradually pour the water over the windshield. Do this repeatedly, starting from the top and continuing horizontally across the glass. The lukewarm water will soften the ice in its path until you can brush it off with your windshield wiper, a rag or your gloved hands.
You can also use the warm water to de-ice frozen door handles and car windows. Close all car windows before pouring the water to avoid wetting your vehicle’s interior. Ensure that you refrain from using hot water for this process, which causes your windshield to crack.
Apply rubbing alcohol
Since alcohol has a lower freezing point than water and doesn’t freeze, it is an effective defroster. To use this, pour 2/3 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol into a spray bottle. Add 1/3 cup of room temperature water, replace the spray head and blend by inverting the bottle a few times. Spray the solution onto your windshield and allow it to sit for a minute. This allows the alcohol to transfer heat to the ice and increase its temperature, melting it into a slush. Brush off the frost with gloved hands or a sturdy rag. Store the solution in your glovebox or trunk in case of future freeze-ups.
There is no need to fear that alcohol will ruin your paint as only a tiny amount would come in touch with the paint. It would help if you also washed/waxed your car as often as possible or when it is dirty to cleanse it of elements that come in contact with the paint surface.
Use a saltwater solution
If you are uncomfortable spraying alcohol on your vehicle, use salt water to defrost your windshield. Fill a spray bottle with water and add a few teaspoons of table salt or road salt. Spray it sparingly on the windshields and wipe it off with the windshield wipers, a rag or your gloved hands. You should spray it sparingly because too much salt exposure may damage your windshield.
Use homemade heat packs
If you do not have rubbing alcohol handy, you can defrost your windshield using the heat pack method.
Grab some old socks or mittens and fill them with uncooked rice. Toss the socks or mittens into the microwave and leave them for 30 seconds. Take them out one at a time and carefully glide them over the interior surface of your windshield. The heat from the heated socks transfers to the windshield and dissolves the ice. You can then use your windshield wiper, gloved hands or rag to get the fog off.
When doing this, ensure that you place the heated socks on one spot for at most 10 seconds, as this can increase the risk of cracking.
Buy a de-icer
If none of the above methods makes you comfortable for fear of damaging your vehicle, you should buy a de-icing solution from a car supply store. Several brands of de-icing solutions are readily available for use, and you can shop any of them and keep them safe to avoid being stranded when the frost starts coming.
What are things you should never do when defrosting your windshield?
There may be a tendency to rush over defrosting your windshield to get to your destination as soon as possible, which can cause more harm than good as you may end up cracking the glass, which will require you to purchase a new one. On this note, there are some things you should avoid doing in a defrosting situation.
Avoid splashing hot water
Never pour hot water on a frozen windshield. This is because the difference in temperature between the icy windshield and the water will cause the glass to expand, which may result in a possible crack in the windshield. Also, when you throw hot water in frigid temperatures, the hot water can turn into powder upon contact with the cold air.
Avoid using a metal scrapper, key or spatula.
Defrosting a windshield can be frustrating, especially if you are late for work. But it is never a good idea to wield keys, spatula or metal objects on your windshield as they may scratch or damage your vehicle.
Avoid using a hairdryer or portable heater
A hairdryer or portable heater may be your closest alternative to defrosting your car. As tempting as that might be to get the frost out of the way quickly, don’t do it. It is dangerous to apply heat on your windshield so as not to damage it.
How do I stop my windshield from frosting?
It is possible to stop ice from setting on your windshield in the first place to save the stress of having to defrost it. Here are things you can do to prevent your windshield from frosting.
- Always close your car windows and park your vehicle in a garage, especially during the cold season.
- If you do not have a garage, ensure that you cover your car with a tarp, a beach towel or rubber mats, using the wipers as clips. Accessories like frost guard windshield covers are also available at car supply stores to keep your windshield clean.
- Use old stockings or knee-high socks on your wiper blades to keep the ice away. This will help keep the edges from freezing in case you need to use them to brush off the slush.
Defrosting your windshield is not rocket science, but it will require much time and caution. You can exercise patience and use the conventional defogging process to get the frost off, or you can choose other methods to speed up the procedure. Whichever way you prefer, ensure that your windshield is clean and clear before starting the trip. Otherwise, you may end up in a clash and risk more significant damage.
How do I defrost my windshield quickly?
You can pour lukewarm water on the windshield, spray rubbing alcohol, or saltwater solution, use homemade heat packs, or buy an already-made de-icing solution. These methods will thaw the ice faster and enable you to wipe them off with your windshield wiper, rag or gloved hands.
Do you use heat or cold to defrost the windshield?
You can use heat packs or lukewarm water to defrost your windshield, but always ensure that you avoid hot water or scorching heat packs, as too much heat can crack the glass. If heat is not an option, cold de-icing alternatives, such as rubbing alcohol, can help you defrost your windshield quickly.