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How to defrost your car in winter

How to defrost your car in winter

Unless your car’s protected from the elements in a garage, chances are you’ve scraped a few icy windscreens in your time. Here are some tips for swift, effective de-icing, so you can start your journey frost-free.

Daniel Hutson
From the Motor team
minute read
posted 16 JANUARY 2020

How to de-ice a car

Here’s the quickest and easiest way to get your car roadworthy on winter mornings – it could take up to 10 minutes to do a thorough job. 

Use the proper equipment

Never scrape ice from your car with a CD case, credit card or other makeshift scraper. That’s a surefire way to scratch your glass or damage your paintwork. Instead, use a good quality scraper that’s fit for purpose.  

Likewise, never pour boiling water from a kettle over your icy windscreen. The sudden change in temperature could cause the windscreen to crack. Use cool water with a bit of added salt, or a de-icer spray. 

De-fog car windows

Ice and frost aren’t the only cold weather obstacles. Visibility is a huge part of road safety in winter. So before you set off, it’s essential that your windscreen, front windows and rear windscreen are clear and fog-free.  

Set aside five minutes of your de-icing time to sit in the car with the heaters on and get the windows clear. The RAC recommends using the air conditioning as well as the heater – putting the heater on the coolest setting to start with. This will reduce the amount of water vapour inside the car and prevent new ‘fog’ forming.

Forward planning for winter mornings

Save yourself precious warm minutes indoors with a few preparations to cut your defrosting time. 
1. Prevent ice on the windscreen

Use a blanket or a windscreen cover to stop ice forming on your windscreen overnight. Put the cover in place after you get home from work, while the car’s still warm. Then in the morning, just lift the cover off and remove any ice that’s sneaked in underneath.

For an effective ice-deterrent, try soaking a blanket or towel in salt water before putting it on the windscreen. 

2. Fight the fog with shaving foam

According to the RAC, shaving foam is a secret weapon against window fog. Apply a layer of foam to the inside of your windscreen and windows, using a soft sponge or rag. Then buff it away with a clean cloth.  

If you do this regularly, you’ll have a mist-proof barrier as well as a sparkling windscreen.

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