How to Unfreeze Car Windows

by Sal Marco
Ice Mirror image by Phelixp from

Frozen, icy car windows create a hazard when attempting to drive during the cold months and require thorough removal. There are many methods for defrosting and de-icing car windows; unfortunately many of them may crack or shatter your windows. Choose only safe and appropriate methods for de-icing and unfreezing windows.


Step 1

Start the car and allow it to run without the defroster or heater on for a minimum of five minutes.

Step 2

Turn the heat on low and turn the defroster on.

Step 3

Allow the defroster to run for five minutes.

Step 4

Increase the heater temperature to medium and allow it to run for five minutes.

Turn the heat up to the high setting and allow it to run until ice melts.


Step 1

Use a plastic scraper intended for ice removal. Do not use metal because it will scratch car windows. A plastic spatula or sturdy plastic tumbler works if an ice scraper is not available.

Step 2

Begin at a corner of the window and scrape away ice, working your way to the middle.

Continue to scrape from the edges towards the center until windows are free of ice. This method works best in conjunction with a car defroster.

White Vinegar

Step 1

Mix 3/4-cup white vinegar with 1/4-cup room temperature water in a spray bottle.

Step 2

Spray the mixture onto icy car windows.

Scrape the melting ice off the windows with an ice scraper.

Isopropyl Alcohol

Step 1

Mix 3/4-cup isopropyl alcohol with 1/4-cup room temperature water in a spray bottle.

Step 2

Spray the ice liberally with the mixture.

Step 3

Allow the mixture to sit for two to three minutes.

Spray the windows again with the mixture and scrape away melting ice build-up.

Chemical De-icers

Step 1

Spray the windows with a canned de-icer, which has an active ingredient of polypropylene glycol, a derivative of ethylene oxide.

Step 2

Allow the glycol to melt the ice, which is almost immediate.

Push the slush off the windows with a squeegee.


  • Pick windshield wipers up and off your windshield every time you get out of the car to prevent the wipers from freezing to your windshield.


  • Open the garage door if the car is idling with the defroster on inside of a garage.
  • Do not use salt on car windows; salt causes pitting on the glass surface.
  • Do not pour hot water on a cold, frozen window, the glass is will shatter from the extreme change in temperature.
  • Do not bang or hit the windows in an attempt to break ice; the frozen windows will break because they become more fragile in cold weather.
  • Do not use a hand-held hair dryer, heat gun or torch; sudden temperature changes will crack the car windows.
  • Never drive a car until all windows are clear of ice or any other obstruction.

Items you will need

  • Scraper
  • White vinegar
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Chemical de-icer
  • Squeegee

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