DIY Repair & Maintenance

This Cheap, Homemade De-icer Recipe Will Clear Your Frosty Windshield in Minutes

Don't shiver in your car, waiting for your windshield defroster to kick on! Mix up this DIY de-icer solution and you'll have a clear view in just a few minutes.
young woman in car behind frozen windshield


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Raise your hand: Have you pulled out of your driveway lately with a frost-covered windshield, hoping that the defroster will kick in as you cruise out of your neighborhood? We’re all in a hurry to get to where we’re going, but for safety’s sake, take the time to properly de-ice your car’s windows. Clear visibility is important anytime you’re driving, but when snow and ice are involved, it’s best to be extra vigilant. This 3-ingredient de-icer recipe is super cheap, easy to make, and will get you on the road in no time.

Homemade De-Icer Recipe

  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups isopropyl alcohol
  • 3/4 teaspoon dish soap

Combine mixture in a spray bottle and shake well.

Why this recipe works: This de-icer’s active ingredient is rubbing alcohol, which you can buy at drugstores for around $2.50 a pint. Also known as isopropyl and isopropanol, it has a freezing point of -128 degrees Fahrenheit, so it won’t refreeze once the windshield has been cleaned. Dish soap improves the spreadability of the mixture.

RELATED: 17 Things You Should Never Leave in a Cold Car

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How to Use Homemade De-icer to Defrost Car Windows

This concoction is just as easy to apply to your car’s windows and windshield as it is to make. Keep a clean cloth handy to wipe excess spray off your windows; depending on how frosty your windows are, you might also need an ice scraper to coax the ice off the glass.

Step 1: Mix up the de-icing solution.

Fill a spray bottle with two parts rubbing alcohol to one part of water. Add ½ teaspoon of liquid dish detergent for every 2 cups of solution. Shake well. (You may want to label your de-icer so you don’t get it mixed up with your other DIY cleaners.)

Man uses a bottle of de-icer to defrost the ice-covered windshield of his car

Step 2: Coat the windshield and windows with spray.

Generously spray the mixture onto the icy windshield and windows. Wait a minute or so as it softens the ice, or melts it altogether.


This homemade de-icer also works on frozen car door locks: Spray it on the lock, wait 10 to 20 seconds to melt the ice, insert your key, and your lock should move freely. (If you do this frequently in the winter, don’t forget to occasionally spray a little WD-40 or other lube into your lock, or on your key before inserting it into the lock, to keep the lock’s inner mechanisms functioning smoothly.)

Step 3: Scrape away excess ice.

For extra-heavy ice on windows, you may need to do a little scraping. If that’s the case, grab your ice scraper and clear away the thicker patches.

RELATED: 5 Things You Can Use When You Don’t Have an Ice Scraper

Step 4: Wipe the windshield clean.

Turn your windshield wipers on and with a couple good swishes, your windshield should be de-iced, clean, clear, and ready for some driving! If you’ve applied your mixture to other windows, use a soft cloth to wipe them clean. While isopropyl alcohol that’s been diluted as recommended here will not damage car paint, wipe down any areas of your car’s body that may have been dripped on, just to be safe.

The male driver pours antifreeze into the tank to spray the windshield during a snowstorm.

Step 5: Prevent future visibility problems.

To keep your windshield wiper lines clean and clear of ice, mix 1 cup isopropyl alcohol into ½ gallon of windshield wiper fluid and fill your under-the-hood reservoir. Alternatively, you can purchase a de-icing windshield wiper solution. Either will keep your glass ice-free when you need to clean your windshield of sandy, salty snow-splatter spat up from vehicles ahead of you on roadways, and will help keep streaks to a minimum. Keep this de-icer in your car, along with other winter emergency supplies, so you’ll always have a clear view!