To Scrape or Not to Scrape: That is the Icy Windshield Question

icy windshield11-degrees. That’s how cold it was in Medford this morning. The forecast says we’re in for even cooler weather this weekend. And that begs the question: What’s the best and quickest way to defrost a windshield?

You might be tempted to pour warm or hot water on a frozen windshield. Don’t. The water trick can work but you also run the very real risk of the extreme temperature change cracking the glass. (It is okay, however, to use warm water to unstick frozen car doors. At the other end of the spectrum, the water you pour over the windshield could also just freeze giving you an additional layer of ice to contend with. The following are better options:

First, avoid ice/frost altogether by parking in the garage or covering your windshield with a tarp, towel, newspaper, or piece of cardboard before retiring for the night.

Second, scrape it. A variety of scrapers of many lengths are available at gas stations and auto supply centers across the valley (but they’re not necessary. I know from experience that a credit card will work just as well). When it’s way below freezing, though, some of the wimpier drivers, myself included, would prefer to spend as little time as possible out in the elements.

Third, apply a de-icer either at night to keep ice from forming, or in the morning to melt it. Even if the ice doesn’t melt completely the de-icer will make it easier to scrape off. You can buy a commercial formula or make your own by filling a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and a splash of dish soap. Just mix and spray and, voila! No more ice! (Note: Some windshield wiper solutions include a de-icing agent.) If you’re making your own formula avoid using vinegar. It can eat away at the glass.

Fourth, invest in a remote starter. While the most spendy option it’s by far my favorite because starting the vehicle a few minutes before leaving not only means a defrosted windshield but also a pre-heated interior! Sweet!

Happy ice-free travels!

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