How To Defrost Your Windscreen | Best Way To Deice Your Car Window

Living with snow, sleet, cold rain, and ice is a given for people in countries that have a winter season. Extreme cold would naturally result into frozen windscreens. Fortunately, there are easy ways of solving that dilemma.

Frozen windscreen

Defroster/Heater and Air Conditioner

The following is a proven method of deicing windows by using the car’s internal heating system:

  1. Turn on the heater in the defrosting setting at its maximum. This will hold any stuck or floating moisture inside and outside the windscreen’s surface
  2. Switch on the air conditioner to dry the air.
  3. Turn off the air recirculation fan to let the cold air settle. Winter air being cold will speed up the drying and thawing process.
  4. Slightly open the windows to release whatever humid air remains.
  5. Once snow or ice starts to melt on the glass, use a scraper.

Deicing Fluid

Another way to thaw ice on your windscreen is by using a commercial or home-made deicing liquid. Commercial deicers are available in supermarkets and car shops. Just spray away and ice would instantly disappear.

If cost is an issue, a do-it-yourself (DIY) deicing fluid is available. Mix one-third part water and two-thirds part rubbing or isopropyl alcohol in a medium-sized jar. Transfer to a spray bottle and spray over the windshield.


For thin to medium icing on windscreens, the manual scraping of ice is possible. Use scrapers that are made of plastic and preferably with a brush on one end.

The brush part helps loosen broken pieces while the scraping part is used for hard frozen ice. Scraping should be done while the car’s defroster/heater is running to quicken the melting of ice.

If a plastic scraper is not available, a credit or debit card can be used. Holding two or three plastic cards together is suggested to avoid breaking the cards and to add more force in removing the ice.

Frozen windscreen

Lukewarm Water

The cheapest way to deice a windscreen is by using lukewarm water. For thin icing on the glass surface, just pour the water on the windshield and ice will simply wash away. Heavier deposits of ice or slush after water is poured would need wiping with a cloth or the use of a plastic scraper.

Warning, do not use boiling water! As it could lead to cracking or even shattering your windscreen.

Sodium Acetate Hand Warmers or Heated Rice Packets

If you hate staying outside in the cold weather and you’d like to defrost the windshield while inside your car, you might want to try using heated rice packets or sodium acetate warmers.

For rice packets, insert rice in a Ziploc bag or mitten and warm it in a microwave oven for 30 seconds. Make a couple of the packets and while warm, wipe slowly on the inside surface of the windshield. This action will heat the glass, thus melting the ice.

For sodium acetate hand warmers, just click or bend the attached metal strip and heat is released. The warmers are then used similarly like in the use of heated rice packets when defrosting ice on the windshield.

The ideal choice in defrosting a windscreen depends on how thick the ice has formed. In most cases, a thicker layer means having to spend a longer time to melt the ice.

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