5 Tips on How to De-Ice Your Windshield & Keep Ice Off of It

January 5th, 2023 by

Person Scraping Ice Off a Windshield

Winters are unkind to drivers. Slick roads, waiting several minutes for your car to warm up in the frigid weather, and trying to keep snow, sleet, and freezing rain off your windshield. 

Today’s blog from Thompson Sales showcases how to de-ice your windshield and keep the ice off as you drive to your destination.

Related Post: Driving in Snow FAQs

Ice Scraper

Your primary tool is an ice scraper for removing ice on your windshield. Purchase a plastic and not a metal one because metal can scratch the glass and damage the wiper blades. 

Start with the edges of your windshield rather than the middle. If you start in the middle, you may be tempted to pound your way to the windshield to get an edge underneath the ice. Rather than using force, use heat to loosen the ice.  

Car Defroster

The key to heating your windshield comes from your vehicle’s defroster. Before you lift your scraper, start your car’s engine, set the air conditioning to defrost, and set it to recirculate. Set the controls to full heat. As your engine warms up, the heat will get more intense. 

Eventually, the ice against your windshield will soften. Then you can get your scraper’s edge against your windshield and remove the ice. Go slowly and smoothly to prevent ice chips from spraying around your eyes and face. 


The key to this process is patience. It may take 10 to 15 minutes for your vehicle’s heater to get warm enough to start melting the ice. Then, it could take another few minutes for the ice against the windshield to become soft enough to scrape the ice off. 

However, this method will reduce the physical effort required to de-ice your windshield. It might even take more time to exert yourself while trying to get through the ice on your windshield than waiting for your heater to get warm. The trick is to leave enough time (maybe an extra 20 to 30 minutes) to de-ice your windshield before starting out on your trip.

Once you clear your windshield of ice, you need to keep it clear.

De-Icing Fluid or Spray

You can purchase de-icing fluid that goes in your windshield wiper fluid reservoir under the hood. However, that doesn’t work if your windshield has ice on it. Set some aside, fill up a spray bottle, and spray it on your windshield to loosen some of the ice. This method works because the de-icing fluid has a lower freezing point than water. Once the ice is loose, scrape it away. 

Rock Salt Spray

Although not as effective as commercially available de-icing fluid, you can fill a spray bottle with water and add a few scoops of rock salt. The rock salt will lower the freezing point of the ice, allowing you to get under the ice more easily than without it.

Keeping Ice Off Your Windshield Once It’s Gone

There are two keys to keeping ice off of your windshield while driving. First, keep your defroster on hot, even at a low setting. This will keep your windshield from fogging up. Second, use your windshield wipers to keep snow, sleet, or freezing rain from cluttering your view and covering the glass. 

If your car is parked outside, use a windshield cover to protect your wiper blades. They range in price from $10 to $30. If not, cover your windshield with a large towel or tarp. Before putting it on your windshield, soak the cover in diluted saltwater to prevent the cloth from freezing to the windshield if the precipitation starts as a liquid and then freezes.

How NOT to De-Ice Your Windshield

There are some ways not to de-ice your windshield, even though you may think they are convenient. Do not use hot or boiling water to de-ice your windshield. Not only will the water refreeze and make the icy windshield worse, but the sudden hot temperatures could crack your windshield due to thermal shock.

One DIY remedy includes a mix of vinegar and water. But this doesn’t work well since vinegar can corrode chrome and your vehicle’s paint job. Worse, vinegar may cause micro-pitting on the windshield glass, meaning very small holes could form. Over time, as more debris lands on the windshield at high speed, cracks could form more readily.

Related Post: Winter Car Emergency Kit FAQs 

We want you to drive carefully this winter 

Thompson Sales in Springfield, Missouri, wants you to get the most out of your vehicle. We can put new windshield wipers on your car and take care of regular maintenance at our service center

Posted in Driving Tips