posted 4 years ago

10 Tips For Dealing With A Frozen Windscreen

And what not to do

Windscreen Cover

For former boy scouts and other people whose motto is 'Be Prepared', you can buy a plastic windscreen cover which is placed on the car windscreen the night before a big freeze. It will get frosty, the windscreen won't.

Lukewarm water

Lukewarm water will clear the frost from your windscreen but be careful how you use it as it too will freeze over in very low temperatures, potentially leaving you with a slip hazard on the path. Ensure that you use recycled water, perhaps from a bath or shower. 

Plastic Scraper

Remember to keep a cheap plastic scraper in the car. It’s much better than using a credit or debit card, which could be damaged. An old plastic spatula or credit card you no longer use will also do the trick though.

Sit and wait

For people without the luxury of a windscreen with inbuilt frost clearing technology, there’s always he option to sit and wait while the heat from the engine and the car’s heating system kick into action.


Keep an eye out for de-icer in pound shops. It’s much cheaper than it used to be and is handy to keep in the house and car. If you still use a traditional key to gain entry to your car, remember that your locks could freeze too. If the de-icer is in the car and you’re outside it, you won’t be able to get to it!

Top up Screen Wash

Ensure that your screen wash bottle is topped up and that the levels are correct for winter driving. Salty roads can quickly make a windscreen dirty and you are going to need  to clear it more often than normal.

Never Leave A Car Unattended

Never leave your car empty and the engine running while the windscreen defrosts. Thieves are on the lookout for cars just like that and you might find that it’s not covered by your insurance cover if the keys are in the ignition when it’s stolen. 

Don't Use Your Windscreen Wipers

It can be tempting to use your windscreen wipers in an attempt to “snow plough” the ice and frost away. Doing this can damage the rubber wiper blade and shorten their life.

Avoid Using Cardboard In Wet Conditions

Using an old piece of cardboard is a cheap and cheerful alternative to a plastic cover but it can cause problems if it gets wet and then freezes, leaving you to clear frozen mush from the windscreen. Don’t use cardboard if you think it might get wet before freezing overnight.

Never Use Boiling Water

Never use boiling water to clear your frosty windscreen. The extremes of temperature could cause the glass to crack.

*Do you have a tip for dealing with a frozen windscreen? Let our users know below.



Scrap away at your peril... your efforts will be rewarded when driving into the sun whilst you look at a thousand scratches.

Cut a potato in half and use the cut through side to remove the ice- works every time

Park in a well ventilated frost protected garage and don't worry!!!!

Just before you get up. Give the wife or other half a nudge. Get her to go clear the window and warm the car up, till your ready to leave.

Put your wife's in a garage overnight, and leave yours on the street. It doesn't help with the time taken to defrost a windscreen, but it sure does take away some of the hassle and makes you into a knight in shining armour, at least for 5 minutes.

The plastic milk bottle is good. I have been using it. But first, I get out to the car early with it filled with hot water, and place it on the dash. It warms the screen inside, so that it does not mist up just as I start my journey. Fizzy water bottles are more secure though [the lid never seems too reliable on the milk carton]. Then my passenger can benefit from the warm bottles before the car has warmed through.

A few comments on this ‘children’s guide’. Windscreen covers frequently freeze onto the screen (even plastic ones). Lukewarm water recycled from your bath or shower: dirty soapy water all over your screen causing it to smear so you can’t see a thing in the low winter sun – brilliant idea (not). Sit in the car while it warms up to clear the screen. Doh - never thought of that……….. Even if you have your de-icer spray outside the car you still won’t be able to get into it unless you use that on the locks as well, which corrodes the mechanism – don’t do it. A much better idea is to put some sort of lubricant into the lock barrel at regular intervals, which not only keeps the lock in good working condition but is less likely to freeze. Hot outside tap: the temperature of your domestic hot water system will probably be high enough to cause the same ‘thermal shock’ problem as boiling water.

Emigrate to somewhere warmer.

Clean your screen with a isoproponol based cleaner, stops the moisture from adhering, and the windscreen from freezing over

Use a old plastic milk carton. Fill up with hot water then run over windscreen. Works a treat.

Install a hot outside tap, not only is it great for washing the car but you can get some warm water for defrosting the screen. and since it warms the glass it doesnt refreeze like deicer will.

buy a vw touareg with parking heater set to trigger 15 mins before travel not only clears the front and rear but also side windows and you get a warm interior too.

I use a plastic dustpan and brush. The brush is great for shifting a layer of snow from all the glass, without giving you frostbite in your fingers, and the dustpan makes a great snow shifter too; plus.. if it doesn't have a rubber edge, it makes a decent sized scraper. :-)

Best tip for frozen windscreens ... BUY a FORD with the CLIMATE PACK as both front and rear screens are heated. Just press 2 buttons and a minute later voila no ice on screen and no scarping. Never bought de - icer for over 20 years back when I had an ORION ghia with heated screen to my 3rd focus cc have now. Simples !

Best one is park it in a garage or under cover

a hot water bottle on the dashboard (not touching the glass, quickly deices the screen, especially if it's a car that freezes inside too!

Any piece of heavy duty plastic will work like one of those shop bought windshield covers. One side from an animal feed bag or half a rubble sack.

Scraping the windscreen is best as windows that are scraped clean are unlikely to refreeze before the engine has warmed enough for the heater to start working. I have a scraper with a soft brass blade which is very efficient, especially on side windows. Idling the engine while it warms isn't a good idea as it shortens the life of the engine, some of the sensors and the catalytic converter. An engine should be put into normal use as soon as it is started and it will warm quicker if the heater vents are closed and the fan switched off until warm-up is well under way. Those who have a private drive have the option of running an extension lead into the car 15 minutes or so before setting off and pre-heating the interior and de-icing the windows at the same time by shutting in a domestic fan heater carefully positioned for safety and running on low power. Don't forget to use an RCD safety device with the extension lead. Keeping a couple of cheap cigarette lighters handy are just the thing for frozen locks. Warming the key and then inserting it into the lock, waiting for a few seconds and repeating will free a lock quite quickly. Often a door will freeze to the rubber seal around the aperture preventing the door being opened. Don't try tugging the door open as it won't work and could cause slips and falls. Brace yourself and keep a steady opening pressure and the door will eventually open. Spraying around the door and the rubber seal with silicone or wax polish will help prevent the door freezing to the rubber seal.

A tube heater I live in the highlands -14 out there now I have a tube heater in my van 2p an hour to run just come home plug the extension in to the outside socket an van warm in the morning and no ice or snow on it in the morning extension has to just long enough to reach never leave a coil of cable that's what causes fires and there you have it just like getting in your van in summer I'm a electrician and I deam it safe enuf