Along with winter snow and ice comes scraping your car windows each morning. Your fingers freeze and the front of your coat gets wet from leaning across a snowy hood to reach the center of the windshield. However, you can make the job easier and prevent having to do this at all. Though you could buy a commercial de-icer, some homemade solutions and tactics work just as well.
Plain Cold Water
One of the simplest ways to melt ice on your windshield is to pour water on the section you are scraping. However--and this is important--never use hot water. You must always use cold water; hot water will crack your windshield because of the temperature difference between the frozen glass and the hot water. Therefore, use cold water, which is still warmer than the ice, and scraping will be easier. Put the cold water in a spray bottle and spray the area you are scraping as you scrape. The ice should come away from the glass easily. Just do not leave the spray bottle outside where it can freeze after you are finished.
Vinegar and Water
Another solution involves a spray bottle as well. You can add some white vinegar to the water in your spray bottle. A solution of three parts vinegar to one part water works well. Use it as you would plain cold water. Spray it on the section of window you are scraping and the ice will come off easily. In fact, you can even spray the windshield in the evening to prevent ice from forming on the window overnight.
Rubbing Alcohol and Water
One of the most effective home recipes for de-icing windows is a mixture of rubbing alcohol and water. Add two parts isopropyl, or rubbing, alcohol to one part water and, again, put it in a spray bottle. Use it as above, spraying the section of window you are scraping to loosen and melt the ice as you work. Some people add a few drops of dish washing liquid to this mixture as well, to facilitate melting the ice. Be careful because the alcohol is flammable, so do not smoke or use the mixture near a spark or open flame.
Towel or Sheet
A preventive measure for icy windshields is to use a large bath or beach towel or bed sheet to cover the window at night to prevent the buildup of ice and snow. Close the corners and sides of the material in the car doors on each side to secure it. In the morning, lift or peel the fabric off the window. Any frost left on the windshield after this is easily removed by using the car’s defroster on "High" until the window is cleared. Shake out the towel or sheet and then hang it to dry during the day. It is best to store it inside so it does not remain frozen all day.
Watch for Frozen Mechanisms
Never try to loosen frozen windshield wipers or electric side windows by using their electric motors. The ice is too strong for the motors, and you can burn them out.