Related: How to keep the windshield from freezing over?

Let's say I've ignored their advice and woken up with a thick coating of ice on my windshield, as I did yesterday.

What's the fastest way of getting rid of it all so I can get to work on time?

  • 2
    How cold are you talking? For example, it got down to -30 degrees Fahrenheit here. I tried using a gallon of warm water and it froze on top of the ice. But it might work if it only gets down to 0 degrees or so. Commented Apr 8, 2015 at 15:03
  • Ice or just "frosted over" (there is a difference...)
    – rogerdpack
    Commented Nov 9, 2017 at 17:46

16 Answers 16


If you have a heated windscreen, stick that on first, it'll loosen the ice from surface it's stuck to and it'll just slide off with a little push. If you don't have heated windscreen, still stick your heaters on full and point them at the windscreen. Any heat is going to help.

With a scraper, work from one side and make sure you're scraping underneath the ice, removing the problem from the source, not just taking layers off.

De-icer spray works from the top, so I don't think it's that brilliant. But if you have any, it's not gonna do much harm. It may be useful if the ice is being pretty resilient.

Finally, don't forget to de-ice your lights! Turning your lights on while your doing your windscreen will probably warm up the ice enough that it will have fallen off by the time you finish.

  • 10
    If you find yourself without a scraper, as I often do, a plastic store loyalty card from your wallet makes an excellent emergency substitute.
    – Easy Tiger
    Commented Oct 29, 2015 at 13:06
  • Pick a card that you don't mind shattering if it's below 20F
    – Stan
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 17:34
  • I (contrary to James) start from the top and sides and let the heater start on the middle where it can reach, but it may depend on your car's heater. Mine is lousy and only gets a little in the center :) Commented May 8, 2017 at 15:41
  • @seadoggie01 by top I meant "surface layers" rather than "closest to the roof". I too work from the sides, but try to scrape the bottom, i.e. the lowest layers Commented May 8, 2017 at 16:04
  • @JamesWebster Ah, my apologies, then that's even better than what I do! Commented May 9, 2017 at 15:55

The best way to get ice off your windshield is to heat your car up. When I lived in Wisconsin I used to turn on my car with the defroster (AC off) on full blast, go back and have a shower/get dressed, then come back and the ice would just slide off.

  • 7
    That of course is bad to the environment and expensive (if you live in a country where gas is expensive). Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 18:20
  • @AngeloFuchs you can reduce the time required to have the car on by combining it with pouring warm water over the ice - then the car only needs to be warm enough to prevent refreezing
    – icc97
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 12:26
  • 7
    It is possible to steal your car with no effort, while you are in the shower.
    – jawo
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 14:24
  • 3
    Not necessarily @Sempie, you can get remote starters for many cars. Many newer cars have keyless ignition systems where the engines will run without the key being in the car itself, and the engine will stop if someone drives it away. Myself I had an 80's car with 2 keys, I would leave the engine on with the car locked. Sure, someone could steal it but it's Wisconsin in February and the car was worth about $200.
    – GdD
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 14:57
  • 1
    Even if this car close to no value, when someone would have stolen it, you'd probably had a really bad day.
    – jawo
    Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 15:33

I've used the spray cans of de-icer and they work great. Looking at the ingredients, they used forms of alcohol to get the job done. So I tried the spray of 2:1 rubbing alcohol to water and it worked great. I know some people who have even added it to their washer fluid tank directly.

I would advise against using warm or hot water on the window. You may get away with it 10 times, but I have seen someone use that method and the temperature difference was so far apart and the change in temp so quick that the glass cracked.


I read somewhere (don't remember where exactly) that the hand sanitizer can be used to melt this kind of ice.

Pour some on the window, and the alcohol will melt the ice.

  • Did you try that yourself? Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 18:21
  • 1
    It does. The wife always makes sure to have a large bottle of hand sanitizer as standard winter preparation. Although it does have the same problem as deicer does -- it is applied to the top of the ice while the ice adheres to the window from the bottom.
    – David Culp
    Commented Dec 25, 2014 at 7:22

I would prefer you to wash your cars window using water with a hose and it can do the trick unless atmosphere temperature solidify this water(which means if your regions temperature is too low, this can not become practical).

Another option is to sprinkle table salt on it, this will melt the ice off and it is economical too.

  • 2
    This has one big disadvantage: all that water will collect on the ground and freeze.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Jan 13, 2016 at 11:07
  • @Hobbes But we solved the problem and I hope, it will not be a problem in a land where you find ice instead of soil. Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 16:25
  • 2
    @MANEESHMOHAN There is a difference between regular groundice (which is surprisingly un-slippery) and a layer of fresh water which is allowed to freeze (which is horribly slippery) Commented Jan 21, 2016 at 13:33
  • @AngeloFuchs Thanks friend, I was not knowing about this since I am from a place near to equator. Here, we rarely find ice shower and there after ice on land, and so I was unaware about its slippery tendency.Any way, thanks in sharing this with me and others. Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 11:40

One method that I've seen work really fast is pouring lukewarm water over the windshield, unless it is exceptionally cold, when you would want to use cold water, otherwise the extreme change in temperature could shatter the glass

  • 10
    That often just adds another layer of ice over the already existing one.
    – Vogel612
    Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 11:20
  • 8
    And even if it doesn't it's possibly going to freeze on the ground for a potentially dangerous slip hazard. Commented Dec 10, 2014 at 11:22
  • I actually have used boiling water on the windshield to get to work on time.
    – user100
    Commented Dec 11, 2014 at 1:47
  • 5
    Boiling water is a bad idea. The thermal shock may crack your windshield.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 16:12
  • 2
    NEVER expose glass to a rapid thermal change, unless you want to destroy it.
    – jawo
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 13:15

Sounds like a good problem for an extension cord and a BlowDryer.

  • It takes a LOT of energy to melt ice, so this is not an efficient method. Better to put an electric space heater inside the car. That'll still take a while, but at least it'll melt the ice from the inside out, meaning once the ice has started to melt it won't adhere to the windshield and be easy to scrape off.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 9:50
  • Well, you don't have to melt it all, just enough to get it to turn loose. That said, if the ice is very thick, it would be better to work from the inside out. Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 14:31

I know this is an old thread, but I've had amazing results with using RainX. It helps prevent snow, freezing rain, and ice from accumulating. Even when it does build up, it makes it Much easier to scrape off. RainX brand also makes defroster sprays that work well to help break up accumulated ice as you scrape. It has RainX in the deicer, so it also helps to maintain the RainX on your windshield. This trick works so well that I use it on all of my car's outward facing glass, including side mirrors.

As mentioned in other answers, using the car's defroster setting is a good add to the procedure.

Using all of these options gets the ice started to be removed from the glass from both sides of the ice. This greatly improves your ability to scrape it off with an ice scraper.

I first added RainX to the ice scraping routine almost 2 decades ago. The ice that winter was as thick and hard as I remember ever seeing. I broke countless scrapers, to the point where I would buy 2-3 ice scrapers every time I saw them available. We're talking +3/4" ice every morning and every night for at least a week, and that was under +6" of snow drifts on the car. Sometime during that week, I applied RainX to my windshield, side windows, and rear window. The next time I had to scrape, the ice came off in large chunks, instead of finely shaved ice. I didn't even break the scraper!

When I found the RainX brand deicer years later, I got some and have now been using it for many years. It works great on frost as well as thick sheets of ice. I even use it in the summer to put down a quick layer of RainX. For $4 a can/bottle, I feel it's well worth freezing my fingers less and getting to work sooner. I used to give it as Christmas presents!

As an added bonus, RainX works while you're driving. It lets your wipers remove splashed slush, falling snow, etc. better. If you turn up your front defroster, the snow that turns to water slides off really easily. RainX brand also makes a wiper fluid that has RainX in it, which just so happens to be rated down to negative thirty-something degrees Fahrenheit, which helps keeps your windshield coated with RainX and free from freezing sh-tuff.

Full disclosure: I'm not in anyway endorsed or paid by RainX, I just really love what it does for me.


Water and vinegar on the windshield is supposed to de-ice a windshield.

Origins: Claims about using a mixture of vinegar and water to remove ice from a car's windshield hit the Internet every year around the time of the first freeze in mid- to late-autumn. In recent years this advice has been widely spread as information suggesting that spraying vinegar and water (mixed in a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio) will remove ice from an already iced-over windshield, but the tip originated not as a de-icing method but rather as a way of stopping ice from building up on a windshield in the first place, as noted in a 1992 newspaper Read more at http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/vinegar.asp#g2YAmZvvTbC6y0MF.99

However some say it pits the windshield.

A 1980 "Hints from Heloise" column advocated the same idea: Looking at the world through cloudy, streaked windows? Clean them with a mixture of vinegar and water. Same with the windshield. Vinegar also helps retard frost on those cold mornings if you pour it on the windshield the night before (three parts cider vinegar to one part water). The issue of whether this method of ice prevention will indeed pit windshield glass is a matter of contention, with some cautioning that it does: Pour a mixture of vinegar and water on the windshield so that it freezes to the glass before the rain does, thereby preventing ice. Unfortunately, vinegar eats pits into the windshield glass.

Read more at http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/vinegar.asp#g2YAmZvvTbC6y0MF.99


I'm assuming keeping the car in a garage isn't an option, so . . .


I like the rubbing alcohol and water solution (2-2) and the tip to put rubbing alcohol into the washer reservoir (3-3). Going to try it this year rather than buying commercial solution. Hopefully it will work as well as it does in the video I saw. I'll do it with the heater/defrost on full blast to give it a little extra help.

  • 3
    Welcome to Lifehacks! Could you include information from your link in your answer itself? That will help future users in the event the link no longer works. Thank you!
    – Mooseman
    Commented Oct 28, 2015 at 16:14

I had the sudden idea to try anti freeze and it worked pretty well

  • Welcome to Lifehacks! Are you able to expand on this, maybe providing some references why this works? Thank you!
    – Mooseman
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 11:40

A NYLON comb makes a great, easy-to-find, and effective ice scraper in a pinch. Nylon is strong and does not damage the parts of the car that you might hit while you work. No pots of hot or boiling water, electricity, or chemicals needed.

When you're finished, you can still use it to smooth your coif after the workout. : )

FYI: Born in Maine, I live in Montreal, Canada where salt water freezes


When I parked outside I would drape a towel over the driver side of the windshield. Even if it rains and freezes, the fabric will not freeze to the glass, and will keep condensation from forming and turning to ice on the glass.


if you have a good car scraper, and theres thick ice on the windows, don't use the flat side of the scraper. use the back side of your scraper which should have some flat bumps on it. use long strokes and and forth over the windows with this side, which will get through the ice quick. do the whole window this way first and resist taking the ice off completely. then flip it over, and scrape with the flat blade. it should come off very easy. i just did my sedan which had a quarter inch of ice on it in about 5 minutes, and some people had been scraping for half an hour.


Create a mix of 25% water and 75% rubbing alcohol.

Pour it into a spray bottle.

Put the lid on it. Spray on the car window and ICE is gone.

Time you spray one time to the next is how fast it works.


These can all work as deicers in a pinch.
- Saltwater pickle juice
- Beet Juice
- Soft Drinks
- Kool Aid


  • Any pickling "juice" has vinegar in it, which can pit windshields, as mentioned in other answers. Soft drinks and Kool Aid have large amounts of sugar, which will be more of a mess than the ice and snow, after it accumulates. You'd need to wash your car after using this method, which will only freeze your door shut, most likely. Commented Dec 4, 2017 at 15:18

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