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Driving Advice & Safety

How to Defrost Your Windscreen Quickly

December 29, 2023

3 min read

Leon McKenzie's avatar

Leon McKenzie

Content Writer

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Parked car covered in snow before being defrosted

Is there anything worse than waking up on an unreasonably chilly morning to find your car windows have frozen overnight? The answer is yes, but the only thing worse is dragging yourself outside to defrost the windscreen...

But don’t worry, we’ve got a few tips to help you deice your windshield quickly and efficiently (& maybe even stop it freezing in the first place).

All warmed up? Let’s learn how to defrost your frozen car windows:

How to defrost a car window in 5 easy steps

An ice scraper and a bottle of deicer

Step 1: Equip yourself

You’ll need the following things to make deicing your car as quick and easy as possible:

If worse comes to worst, you can use just a scraper, but the rest will make your life much easier (and your hands much warmer).

Step 2: Check the window wipers

Frozen window wipers

Before you switch your car on, make sure you’ve turned the wipers off. The ice can make the wipers stick to the windshield — you’ll damage your wipers if you turn them on while stuck.

Step 3: Turn the engine on

Once your wipers are safe from Jack Frost’s wrath, turn the engine on.

Next, you want to turn the following things on:

  • Windscreen warm air blower
  • Window and mirror heaters, if you have them
  • Finally (and this might sound counterintuitive, but trust me), turn the air conditioning on — it helps to remove moisture from the air and will stop your windows steaming up

Step 4: Remove the loose snow and ice

Sweep all the loose snow and ice off all windows, including lights and side mirrors.

One thing that people often forget is the front grille — use a soft brush to remove snow. Clogged grilles can lead to your car overheating and nobody wants a breakdown in minus temperatures.

Step 5: Scrape all the ice off

A car covered in ice and snow

Once the loose snow is off, it’s time to put your back into it.

Invest in a good scraper and deicer and your winter mornings will be much nicer. Spray your windshield with deicer and scrape off. Job’s a good’un!

Now for the best part — hop into your car, warm your cockles while you wait for any mist to clear and drive!

Dos and Don'ts when defrosting a car window

Do defrost all windows, mirrors and lights

A car covered in snow, the camera focused on a headlight

Driving with frosty mirrors and windows is illegal. Your vision is impaired and you can’t see all hazards on the road. If your car windows have frozen, chances are the roads are frozen too, so you need to have your wits about you.

Make sure to defrost all windows and mirrors using our tips above, and make sure you defrost the entire surface rather than just one little hole to peek out of.

Don't land yourself in hot water

If you’ve ever put a cold egg in a boiling hot pan of water, you’ll be familiar with something that the boffins call ‘Thermal Shock’.

This is when something very cold meets something very hot, and the drastic change in temperature causes the very cold thing to break.

The moral of the story is: NEVER use water to defrost a window because it can shatter. Even a frozen windshield is more useful than no windshield (although you won’t be getting far with either).

This includes lukewarm or even cold water — if it doesn’t shatter your window, the water can quickly refreeze, creating a layer of ice. Plus, the water that drips off can freeze on the ground and turn your drive/street into an ice rink. Don’t be responsible for your neighbours’ broken bones.

Do be proactive and stop the windshield freezing overnight

A car windsheild covered with a window cover

You can prevent your windshield from freezing in the first place by spraying it with a bit of deicer before going to bed or getting some car window covers.

If you’re not using the car before sunrise, you can even park facing the east and let the sun do some of the defrosting. Thanks, Mother Nature!

Don't mug yourself

When you’ve turned your car engine on to start demisting, NEVER LEAVE YOUR CAR UNATTENDED.

Even if you live in a gentrified Fort Knox, it’s not worth the risk. It only takes 10 seconds for somebody to hop in your running car and drive off with it. You’ll be a car down and your insurance won’t pay out.

Don't use your hands to wipe windows

No offence, but your hands could be greasy which will smear your windshield, only making the problem worse.

And, if you wear a ring, then you could scratch the glass which turns a temporary issue into a permanent one. We don’t want that!

Get yourself a decent microfibre cloth  to wipe the mist from inside your windows.

And there you have it — our guide to defrosting your car. Stay frosty warm!

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