Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

Making homemade windshield washer fluid can save you money; make sure you use ingredients safe for the hoses, etc. This is a guide about homemade windshield washer fluid.

Windshield wiper tip on windshield
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Tip: Homemade Windshield and Window Cleaners

By Robyn 376 753

The kind of commercial windshield washer fluid that is so convenient to buy at the store contains methanol. Methanol is extremely poisonous and is dangerous to breathe or touch. Less than a half of a teaaspoon can cause blindness and less that two ounces can kill a person.

On top of the dangers to the people using it, it causes environmental damage, by leaking onto the ground when we spray our windows with it. It also gets into the air as pollution. Billions of gallons of this washer fluid ends up in the environment every single year.

Here are directions for making your own windshield cleaning solution fluid.

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 oz. dish soap
  • 6 oz. rubbing alcohol
Rubbing alcohol acts as kind of an antifreeze for your windshield while driving.

Shake this all up in a jug, and then let the bubbles go down and pour into your windshild washer fluid canister to the fill line. Please mark the container with the ingredients so it will be easy to remember how to mix it up.

Another mixture is the following for during the times when you don't really have freezing weather to deal with:

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 8 oz. of glass cleaner
Here is a mixture for cleaning your windows at home in the house. Put the following in a spray bottle and spray onto a window and wipe off with a clean rag using long back and forth motions.
  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 Tbsp. white vinegar
  • 1 tsp. dish soap
  • 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol

    CommentWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Homemade Auto Glass Cleaner

    I am looking for a formula for warm weather windshield-washer fluid. Can anyone help?

    By Al

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes


    Best Answer

    By Jess 132 771 Flag

    November 16, 2015

    I think any natural cleaner for windows would work on auto glass too. Personally, I would make a solution of half isopropyl alcohol and half water. I use this for windows, glass tables and mirrors.

    ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Windshield Washer Solution for Winter

    When I used the windshield washer system on my car last winter (ice condition weather), the water on the windshield became ice very soon. Now what kind of alcohol can I mix with water and at what percent?

    By Mori from Tehran

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes


    Most Recent Answer

    By Terry Houghton 1 Flag

    November 15, 2011

    I find methylated spirits does the trick for my windshield washing as to what strength just keep trying till you find the right mix our winters here in the UK are not as harsh as the USA.

    ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    By Papa 1

    Will adding Dawn dishsoap to the windshield washer fluid help cut the winter grime from windshield? How much do you add?

    By Papa from Blackstone, MA

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

    Most Recent Answer

    By Ginnee 2 189 Flag

    January 31, 2011

    Be sure to clean the wiper blades themselves to get a nice clean windshield.

    ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

    Question: Homemade Auto Glass Cleaner

    By Mary 1

    I need a good, non-streak, washing liquid for the windshield of my car. Not for the windshield washer, this is so I can wash the inside and outside of my windshields and not have a film or streaking.

    Thank you.

    By Mary from Irvine, CA

    AnswerWas this helpful? Yes

    Most Recent Answer

    By Louise B. 6 2,509 Flag

    August 19, 2010

    For the outside, just use water, or dish soap or Mr. clean or similar in water and a squeegee. For the inside, I use Windex and a towel.

    ReplyWas this helpful? Yes

    Archive: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid


    • 3 cups rubbing alcohol
    • 10 cups water
    • 1 Tablespoon of liquid detergent

    Makes one gallon.

    Optional: You can add some blue food coloring if you like!

    Be sure to label the container as this will be toxic for the little ones.

    By Syd


    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    Rubbing alcohol costs 99 cents for 16 oz. (2 cups), thus 3 cups rubbing alcohol would cost 1.49 plus the detergent. Windshield washer fluid is usually on sale for 99 cents or less. (12/13/2004)

    By alobarbear

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    Gas Stations gouge for up to $5.00 bottle. Great recipe if you need some quick until you can get some 99cent bottles (01/26/2005)

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    I have a question. I live in Canada, where it can get very cold. Would this be suitable for winter (-45 degrees C.), or is it just for summer? (02/21/2005)

    By Brenda.

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    The alcohol should keep it from freezing. You might want to put in more rubbing alcohol. Try making some, letting it sit outside and see if it freezes (make sure it is not open so pets or animals can get into it.) If it does freeze, add more alcohol. (02/21/2005)

    By Susan

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    Very simple. Isopropanol (aka rubbing alcohol) is not in most washer fluids anymore, and yes it does prevent freezing. Like antifreeze use more in colder climates. The isopropanol also is a great cleaner for glass, and does not streak. You are paying for colored water now, and 99 cents for water makes NO sense. Simplest way is take 1/2 bottle of Walmart brand for Windex and add the rest water, depending on how dirty your windshield gets. Ammonia does a great job also, but diluted. Yes you can safely combine isopropanol and ammonia in same container without any hazard. And now you know. (03/15/2005)

    By the wisdom

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    In Holland we pay $4 for 33 US fl oz (my conversion) which we can then mix with water. I understand in the UK we can use Meths (Methanol) or in Holland Spiritus - actually anything which'll work in a fondue burner. (02/14/2006)

    By dutchdavey

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    How many of you that are telling us about how to make homemade windshield washer fluid have actually tried it, and are you really saving any money than buying it at say walmart or k-mart for a little over or under a dollar? if im trying to save money by making my own and your not, then what would be the point of this? (03/04/2006)

    By Cathy


    Rubbing alcohol may be great for glass, but it can deteriorate rubber hoses with continued use. (08/20/2006)

    By Grace

    Archive: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    Does anyone have a recipe for homemade soap for windshield washers?

    Mami from Pensacola, FL


    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    In New Zealand we don't have the extreme cold temperatures. A tip one of the mechanics told me that I have used that works well, is adding baby shampoo to the window washer. It is much milder than ordinary detergent, maybe you could use that in the summer. You don't need very much.


    By Brent From NZ

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    I also live in Colorado, and what I do to save is simply dilute regular washer fluid with water. With most of the stuff that gets on your windshield from the road, almost straight water works fine. The point of the alcohol in the store bought stuff is to reduce the freezing point, not as much for its cleaning ability.

    So with that said, the amount I dilute depends on what month it is. In January and February, I add little water, in summer time I've used almost straight water. But I usually don't go quite that far. The mix is somewhere in between for the rest of the months. My car is garaged at night, so it stays a smidge above the outside temp. (01/24/2007)

    By Jim

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    What about vinegar and water? (05/03/2007)


    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    Option one: 70% water to 30% non sudsing ammonia. Non sudsing clear ammonia leaves no residue or detergents on your windshield. Ammonia won't freeze like water, either. It won't damage your hoses or wipers over time. You may want to toss in a few ounces per gallon of vinegar as a fortifier. Vinegar will break down grime and also leave no residue. And it is a great deodorizer, not like you need deodorizer on your windshield, but only to beak down grime. The ammonia is what, something like a buck a half gallon. (08/23/2007)

    By Superman

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    I use menthynol 50%, water 50%, and a few drops of dishwashing detergent. (09/21/2007)

    By S Durf

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    Here's how I used to do it, back in the days when Big Lots had 16oz bottles of 70% Isopropyl for a dollar. Not sure if it's still profitable, the cost of the alcohol is the worst part, by the time it gets to $2 a bottle we're talking 50 cents just in this for mix.

    Also you need a big bottle of dish wash detergent like Dawn, but that's too expensive so get the cheapest brand you can find. Big Lots is good for this also, though the best I found was at Dollar General.
    You need to calculate the cents per ounce, a good price is 4 cents per ounce or lower, so if it's a 24 ounce bottle it should cost no more than 96 cents.

    Then you need some 1 gallon jugs, save your milk containers and anything else that fits 1 gallon, you want to make this stuff 4-6 or more gallons at a time or it's not profitable.

    Then, the formula:

    • 1 oz of dish washing detergent
    • 1/3 of a bottle of 70% isopropyl OR 1/4 bottle 90%
    • The rest water.

    Yes, eyeballing is OK, but watch it with the soap.

    This works great, not sure how freeze resistant it is, but it's way better than store bought washer fluid. Have I used it?
    I have been making it like that for 4 years now. (11/14/2007)

    By 8307c4

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    For a washer fluid to not freeze in temps down to -40 C, the mixture would need to contain almost 70% methanol. This makes the mixture not only very flammable, but also very expensive for those without access to industrial chemical suppliers, where methanol can be purchased for considerably lower prices. (12/14/2007)

    By Aris

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    Be careful what you mix. I added Joy detergent and vinegar to my purchased blue fluid to help cut the grime of the windshield salt, here in Minnesota. Within a week I replaced the windshield wiper pump. It was frozen up. Another week, I replaced the rear window pump; it too was frozen. When was the last time you heard of these failing? I assume this mixture degraded the seal on the pump, and the fluid migrated into it. (01/07/2008)

    By garagechuck

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    We used alcohol and water in the military, in helicopters. We used a 50/50 mix in the winter and it was cold, the fluid never froze. (03/14/2008)

    By Mark

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    I am up here in Montreal. Snow, ice and -35 are not uncommon. Because of our dependency on WWF, it sells for about 3$ a gal. That may on a good week last 3 to 5 days. Hence the motivation to look for the home brew.

    I found a manufacturer who has in his web site the formulas for about 5 grades of cleaner. The wetting agent they add in very small amounts helps to reduce streaking. As a old school photographer, the term wetting is well known and was used to the same end on film. A very cheap and concentrated product called "Photoflo". Hope this helps. Info site: recochem.com


    By Chris

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    I have determined the actual formula for a popular
    premium washer fluid:

    % by Weight

    • 35% Methanol (wood alcohol)
    • 63% water
    • 2% automotive antifreeze(also colors the fluid)

    I have used this for many years with excellent results. Good to at least -40F.

    The key is methanol; the heavier alcohols such as Isopropyl require much higher percentages to work.
    You have to use about 70% by weight for 90% Isopropyl to have the same effect, the cost is too high.

    By Real Chemist

    Archive: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    Does anyone have a "recipe" to make your own freeze-proof windshield washer fluid?

    God Bless.

    By Sheila from Springfield, IL


    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    Yes, its very easy to make. If you look at the ingredients of store bought windshield washer fluid, it uses methanol alcohol. You can't really buy that off the shelf, but you don't need to. Basically you need to add ammonia and/or isopropyl rubbing alcohol to your recipe to keep it from freezing.

    What I do is take a gallon jug, add water until its about 2/3 full. Then I add any kind of window cleaner. I open the window cleaner and pour some of it in. If it's winter time and you are afraid of it freezing, add a bottle of some type of rubbing alcohol. I only add the Windex so it's blue.

    You can just use rubbing alcohol and mix that with water. Most rubbing alcohol is about 70 or 80 percent strength. So personally I would add say 16 ounces to 48 ounces of water and mix.

    The whole purpose of making it yourself is to save money over buying it, so keep that in mind. (02/22/2010)

    By jimthecook1969

    Archive: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    I am looking for a homemade car window washer recipe.

    By drmegumi from Albuquerque, NM


    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    Frost-Free Windshields

    Vinegar will help keep windshields ice and frost free. When a car has to be left outside overnight in the winter, coat the windshields with a solution of 3 parts white distilled vinegar to 1 part water. A good tip for frost free windshields is believe it or not shaving cream. Rub it in good and wipe off when it starts to fog up, then reapply. You can also use the above tip with alcohol instead of vinegar; I like the green kind best. (04/08/2010)

    By laura343

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    I fill a gallon bottle with a few drops of liquid dish soap, about 1/2 C white vinegar, and the rest water. (07/30/2010)

    By cmolinger

    RE: Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

    In the summer I just use water with a splash of used blue print ammonia to prevent streaking and a squirt of dishwashing detergent. (09/14/2010)

    By twsarch

    Make Your Own CleaningFebruary 29, 2012
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