Homemade Winter Windshield Washer Fluid

by Johnno CaryUpdated July 21, 2023
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Winter weather is extremely harsh on vehicles, with intense snowfalls, sleet, freezing point temperatures and ice. Drivers need to ensure that their vehicle's windshield wipers are working properly in all climates and that they're fully stocked with plenty of non-freezing windshield wiper fluid. You can often save money by using these hacks to make your own windshield washer fluid de-icer.

Ammonia and Water

One DIY option is mixing 70 percent water (distilled, preferably) and 30 percent non-sudsing ammonia in a large plastic container fitted with a tight lid. According to ThriftyFun.com, non-sudsing ammonia doesn't freeze and "leaves no residue or detergents on your windshield." You can also add a splash of white vinegar, glass cleaner or a tablespoon of dish soap/castile soap to this mixture to help break down grime in your washer system fluid reservoir.

Rubbing Alcohol

Another recipe for DIY windshield washer fluid for cold weather is combining an ounce of dishwashing liquid (Dawn, Joy, Sunlight) with one-third of a bottle of 70 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol (or a quarter-bottle of 90 percent isopropyl alcohol), the filling the rest of a large container with distilled water. Do not use tap water, buy a gallon of distilled water and use that for your homemade washer fluid

Methanol and Water

A third recipe for homemade windshield washer fluid involves combining 10 percent methanol with 90 percent water. You can purchase methanol at industrial supply warehouses and home improvement stores. Some drivers choose to add a few drops of blue food coloring to the mixture.

Considerations and Warnings

Always make sure your homemade windshield washer fluid is contained in a sturdy container with a tightly-fitting lid and is labeled completely on the front to avoid accidental ingestion, as the de-icing additives like a cup of rubbing alcohol, cup of ammonia, window cleaner or antifreeze are extremely toxic (keep out of reach of children). Also, consult your vehicle manufacturer if you're concerned about any homemade mixtures possibly damaging the vehicle's hoses, nozzles or other internal parts with a clog. Use caution when combining chemicals; use safety glasses and gloves and wipe up any spills immediately.

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