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Prevent frozen car windows

How to prevent ice from developing on your windshield overnight without car window covers

There’s something beautiful about a crisp and cold winter morning. Getting into your car and wanting to drive immediately on these days – usually not so much. Frozen car windows, cold car locks and fogged up insides are common irritants on early winter mornings. Let’s clear the air with some ideas on how to prevent frozen car windows and other winter morning driver challenges.

Hand wearing blue glove scratching ice from car window. The ice scraper is an extension of the arm. Part of the windshield is ice free. Only part of the window is visible. Symbol or concept of winter season, cold, frost, weather, sight.

First things first: There isn’t a single solution for all your troubles. But the good news is that our tips are economical and easy. When done correctly, you’ll even be stress-free without a car frost cover, garage or a car port.

How to prevent frozen car windows?

It’s an early winter morning and you’re heading out with your car. And the first thing you’ll see when you’re walking toward it is ice on your windscreen. There’s two ways for you to go about this: Either you take preventive measures and stop the windscreen from freezing or you use car de-icers in the morning. We’ve gathered ideas for both scenarios. All suggestions work well, so it’s just a question of when exactly you want to remove the ice on your windscreen. 

How to keep car windows from freezing overnight

How to prevent frozen car windows

To keep your windows from freezing, you can either use store-bought windscreen de-icers or even make it yourself. Simply get an empty spray bottle and fill in one of the following mixtures:

  • Vinegar solution: three parts vinegar, one part water
  • Alcohol solution: two parts rubbing alcohol, one part water
  • Salt solution: 4 cups distilled water and 2 teaspoons non-iodised salt, boiled for 20 minutes

These solutions have a lower freezing temperature than water and therefore only freeze over at much lower temperatures. Should temperatures fall beneath this threshold, you should resort to other measures to keep your windshield frost-free. Once mixed, you should keep them inside your home. Storing them in your car lowers their temperature and therefore, their effectivity. Apply your spray mixture of choice every night on all windows. And you’ll wake up to a windshield free of ice.

Our Expert's Advice:

Barum Expert carrying a Tyre and winking

Don’t ever use boiling water on cold car windows! Glass is very sensitive to sudden temperature changes. When you splash hot water on cold glass, it is very likely to shatter.

Should temperatures fall even below the freezing point of our economical de-icers and you don’t have a car windscreen frost cover at hand, there’s no need to worry. You can also use a towel, a piece of carpet, cardboard or even a shower curtain to protect your windshield from freezing over.

Another trick is to park in the right direction: Just have your car front window point east – that’s where the sun rises. Especially if you don’t have to head out before sunrise and nothing blocks the sun, you can just let nature do all the work for you.

But what about your side mirrors and windshield wiper blades? Well, place a freezer or plastic bag over your side mirror. Then attach it with a rubber band or clothespins. This way, only the bag will freeze. As for the windshield wiper blades: Wipe them down with a soft cloth soaked in rubbing alcohol (or one of our mentioned mixtures) to keep them from sticking to your windshield.

Finally, if you don’t have special windshield wiper fluid for colder seasons, you can adapt it. Just add five tablespoons of rubbing alcohol to your wiper fluid tank to keep it from freezing inside your car. You could also use this mix as car de-icer. Just activate the wiper fluid and you’ll be clearing your windshield in a cinch.

How to defrost car windows in the morning

Should you be more of a morning person and generally don’t mind clearing the ice on your windscreen on the same day, then you can easily just use your homemade de-icer solutions. But instead of just leaving it on your screen, remove it with a squeegee, a soft-bristled brush or, if the ice is loose enough, use your windshield wipers.

Our Expert's Advice:

Barum Expert with friendly Gesture

Some people let their car warm up, but in most countries, the practice is outlawed. And it can become costly in the long run while not being very eco-friendly.

So, you prevented ice on your windshield overnight: Where car window covers fail

Barum frozen car lock with key about to plug in

After removing the ice from your windshields, there’s still parts of your car that could be frozen. So how to de-ice other car areas? Though most cars nowadays open with a key fob, there still are vehicles that require the key. In these cases, a frozen lock can be quite frustrating. However, there are three quick solutions to solve the issue:

  • Use a straw to blow directly onto the frozen lock. Your warm breath will thaw it.
  • Spray hand sanitizer or our rubbing alcohol solution onto the lock. It will work as it does with your windshield. 
  • Warm up your car key with a match or a lighter (don’t get too close!) and insert the warm key into the frozen lock.

Our Expert's Advice:

Friendly Barum Expert with Clipboard in his Hand

Do not apply the flames of a lighter, match or even a blow torch directly onto the lock. This will rather damage your car than thaw it. Also don’t use ice picks or screwdrivers to break the ice within the lock.

What about stuck car doors?

You can apply silicone spray to the door sealing strip the day before. Spray it onto a cloth and wipe the strips down. Alternatively, you can gently break up the ice with one of the spray solutions mentioned above and knock the door – avoid hitting the window, though. Finally, pull the handle gently until you hear the ice crack and then slowly open the door.

How to get rid of ice on the inside of your windshield

What car window covers can’t prevent either: ice developing on the inside of your car. Nor can it keep your windscreen from fogging up. What’s particularly important about this is if you regularly notice frost developing inside your car you should check if all possible openings in your car are truly closed. Usually, a car is well-sealed, so there should be no way for moisture to enter. If there is and you cannot find it, visit a garage to find the leak.

If frost is an on-off issue for you and your car, then it could be because you introduced the moisture. This can happen easily when you don’t kick off the snow from your shoes. In turn, the car carpets soak up the moisture and as they slowly dry, the condensation can develop on the windows. Another possibility for moisture entering your car could be a window you left open by accident. Just make sure everything is closed for the night and you should be fine.

Foggy windows: What you can do the night before driving

Barum Silica Gel Image

When your windows just regularly fog, you can place something inside your car to soak up the moisture. For example:

  • If you have a cat: a sock or cloth bag filled with cat litter
  • Several silica gel packs – that way you can reuse them instead of throwing them out
  • Chalk sticks
  • Dehumidifiers – just make sure to regularly empty the tank, so that the moisture doesn’t accidentally spill in your car

You can also air out your car for a few minutes after you’re done driving by opening the doors and windows. Just remember to close everything again.

Foggy windows: What you can do on the same day

Beside keeping your shoes and clothing as dry as possible so they don’t condensate while you’re driving, you can also turn on the air-conditioning for a few minutes. Simply turn the temperature setting to warm. This generates a dry heat that reduces moisture.

You can also use a chalkboard eraser or a similar sponge to wipe the moisture from your car windshield and windows.

Our Expert's Advice:

Barum Expert with finger-up gesture

Keep the recirculation function turned on when you use the air-conditioning to control moisture. When it’s on, it will reintroduce moisture from the outside into your car.

No car window covers? These things prevent frozen car windows:

  • Mix your own car de-icer with vinegar, alcohol or salt, and apply it the evening before or in the morning
  • Use a make-shift car frost cover with a towel, piece of carpet, cardboard or even shower curtain
  • Park facing east
  • Cover side mirrors with a plastic bag
  • Wipe windshield wipers with homemade solution
  • Prepare your windshield wiper fluid to turn it into windscreen de-icer fluid
  • De-ice car locks with homemade solution or warm your key
  • Keep doors unfrozen with silicone spray or de-icers
  • Keep moisture out of your car with cat litter, silica gel packs, chalk sticks or dehumidifiers

As you can see, there are a lot of ways to prevent ice from spreading on your windshield overnight, just as there are solutions for other cold season challenges. It might seem like a lot but consider this: If you take up our tips, you won’t have to do much scraping. So, enjoy the cold weather and drive safely.

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