How to de-ice your car as quickly as possible in winter

Smiley face in frozen windshield

You won’t smile if you can’t de-ice your car in the morning… (Image: Getty)

Winter mornings are bad enough, but many of us also often struggle with the problem of icy car windows.

Frozen car windows are not what you want to see first thing in the morning, especially when you have to get behind the wheel.

With the recent cold snap causing temperatures to plummet, mornings could become a chore for at least the next week.

Luckily, there are plenty of simple tips for deicing your windshield, and it doesn’t require expensive sprays that only last for a few uses. has compiled the best practices to ensure you are not late for work.

How to de-ice your car as soon as possible

salt water mixture

All you need is table salt, water and an old towel.

Just mix up a salt water solution, dip the towel in it and leave it on the windshield overnight.

Alternatively, you can mix up a saline solution in the morning and wipe or spray onto the glass with a plant sprayer.

However, avoid the metal on your car as salt is corrosive.

The scientific point is that salt water freezes at a lower temperature than normal water and therefore melts it.

alcohol spray

If you don’t have salt in it, you can mix alcohol or any liquor with water (two parts alcohol, one part water) instead, as both will freeze even at low temperatures.


If your house is teetotal — or you just don’t feel like wasting some precious liquor — then simply mix three parts white vinegar to one part water and spritz on the jar the night before or in the morning as a preventative.

The sandwich bag trick

Filling a zip-top sandwich bag with hot water and simply sliding it over the windshield is a quick and safe way to defrost your car.

Just make sure you have a cloth ready to wipe away the melted water.

cars covered with ice

What’s your go-to method? (Image: Getty)

The old towel trick

If you can’t deal with all of the above, you can just try to save yourself the hassle in the first place.

To do this, cover your car with a towel, sheet, newspaper, or large piece of cardboard before dew or ice forms.

Soft brush

If your car is covered not only with ice, but also with snow, it is best to remove it with a soft brush.

You can buy special ones for cars – but the brush that came with your dustpan should work just fine too.

Don’t just focus on the windshield – the AA says it’s important to make sure your front grille is clear as well to avoid overheating.

Don’t forget to clean your lights either.

Here’s what the AA has to say about de-icing your car

Get up at least 10 minutes early so you have time to get the car ready.

Don’t drive away like a tank commander with a tiny hole in your windshield.

Clean all windows with a scraper and de-icer.

Use a cigarette lighter to warm up a key for a frozen lock. Do not breathe on the lock as the moisture will condense and freeze.

Plan routes that favor major roads that are more likely to have been cleared and gritted.

Put safety before punctuality when the bad weather hits. Allow extra time for winter travel, but be prepared to be late for work due to an unexpected delay.

De-icing “hacks” should be avoided

These are common de-icing hacks that could actually harm you or your car:

  • Use a credit card, CD case, or something metallic like a scraper – This may scratch the glass
  • Pour hot water over it – The glass can break due to the temperature difference
  • Use a portable hair dryer or other heated device – This is extremely dangerous as it may cause electric shock

MORE: Why you should water your plants with coffee this winter

MORE: What are the coldest temperatures ever recorded in the UK and the world?

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Justin Scacco

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