How to Get Ice Off a Windshield Quickly & Safely

Use these tools and tips to get ice off your windshield and ensure you're on the road in no time.


Nicolle Monico
Updated 29 March 2022
How to Get Ice Off a Windshield Quickly & Safely
Sections on this page
  1. Use Your Car’s Defroster 
  2. Purchase a Scraper 
  3. Utilize Deicer Sprays 
  4. Put a Snow Cover On It 
  5. Defrosting Techniques You Shouldn’t Use 

Anyone who has ever been stuck scraping ice off their car in the morning understands that it can be a long and tedious process. That's why knowing how to get ice off a windshield properly can be helpful in saving you time, energy, and even money in the long run. 

To help avoid accidents due to reduced visibility and get you on the road quicker, use the below techniques to get ice off of your windshield safely and effectively. 

Use Your Car’s Defroster 

Possibly the easiest technique, and one used most often by people, is reaching for your car’s defroster. The best way to use your defroster in the winter is to turn up the heat to its highest setting and let it do its thing. 

This may take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes depending on how cold it is outside and how thick the ice is.

Patience is Key

When using a defroster, be sure not to blast your windshield with heat too quickly. Using too much heat at once may damage your windshield by causing small cracks to form.

Another trick is to use your hands. While it’s heating up, place your hand(s) on the windshield while inside your car. It’ll act as a second mechanism to heat up the window and will make the process faster.

Or, if you have a remote car starter, turn on your car and let it idle while it warms up. To do this, you’ll need to set your defroster on at night so that when you start it again, it is automatically on.

Purchase a Scraper 

Another method to deice a windshield involves using an ice scraper. The best kind of scraper for wintery conditions is typically one that has a scraper on one side and a brush on the other.

how to get ice off a windshield
The softer side, or one with the bristles, can be used to wipe off any excess water once you’ve removed the ice or wipe away powdery snow.

Remember, while scraping, use your tool gently so that you don’t damage your windshield on accident. 

Utilize Deicer Sprays 

If you’re in a hurry, a deicer spray may help you get on the road quicker than scraping and waiting for your defroster to work. You can easily purchase one online or make your own at home. 

Store Bought Deicer Sprays 

To use a deicer spray, you’ll need to either spray or sprinkle it onto your windshield right before you’re ready to leave. Usually, the ice will begin to melt quickly and should work fully within 10 minutes. 

Homemade Deicer Sprays 

Instead of purchasing a spray, you could also choose to make your own. Searching home remedies for deicer sprays can come up with plenty of recipes, but here are a couple that tend to work well.

  • Rubbing Alcohol Deicer: For this method, all you’ll need is water and rubbing alcohol. Start off by mixing 2/3 rubbing alcohol with 1/3 room temperature water in a spray bottle. You can keep this mixture in your car without worrying about it freezing since rubbing alcohol’s freezing point is 138 degrees.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar Deicer: Similar to the above, mix 2/3 apple cider vinegar with 1/3 room temperature water in a spray bottle. Use this liquid in the evenings and spray it onto your windshield as a preventative measure. The acidity in the vinegar keeps ice from forming, so that you don’t have to deice in the morning.

Put a Snow Cover On It 

Snow covers are easy ways to avoid having to deice your car in the morning. The cover can help prevent your windshield from accidentally getting scratched while scraping. 

how to get ice off a windshield
Example of a snow cover to keep snow and ice off your windshield.
While you can purchase these in stores and online, you can also make your own at-home covers to save you a little extra cash.

This includes cutting up a piece of cardboard the size of your windshield and letting it rest on top overnight by locking it in under your windshield wipers.

Or, create a salt water solution and soak a towel in it before placing it on top of your windshield. It can be a little messier than other methods but it’s not a bad approach if you’re looking to protect your windshield for cheap. 

Defrosting Techniques You Shouldn’t Use 

To avoid ruining your windshield, there are a few techniques that you should always avoid when removing ice from your windshield.

  • Hot Water: Using hot water on a snowy or icy windshield can cause it to crack due to the dramatic change in temperature.
  • Cold Water: While hot water can create tiny cracks, using cold water can lead to more ice on your windshield since it’ll likely freeze as soon as its exposed to the cold weather.
  • Metal Scrapers: Brass ice scrapers are best when using a scraping tool. Metal ones can scrape your windshield and ruin your glass and damage your wipers.
  • Heating Devices: Similar to using hot water, using any heat devices such as a torch or hairdryer can cause your windshield to crack with the dramatic change in temperature.
  • Ball-Peen Hammer: Chipping away at the ice with a ball-peen hammer is extremely risky and may result in needing a full windshield repair.
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