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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.
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:
Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
I am looking for a formula for warm weather windshield-washer fluid. Can anyone help?
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.
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
In the States we can purchase windshield washer fluid that won't freeze in the winter. Check and see if you can find something like that where you live.
When the winter is coming, and along with the cold comes having to scrape the car windows every morning. That is a serious pain for us, considering I am height challenged. I have a difficult time reaching the center of the windshield.
Surfing the net looking for de-icing solutions, I came across some reader tips on The Dollar Stretcher. Here is some of helpful suggestion for this problem.
1. To place 3 parts vinegar and one part water in a spray bottle, spray the windshield and all the windows and mirrors before you go to bed at night, and in the morning you should have ice free windows.
2. To use two parts rubbing alcohol to one part water, and you should have no more ice.
3. To place a lightweight tarp or an old sheet over your car, and any ice buildup should quickly melt away. Sometimes this doesn't work though, because where I live, we get too much snow for lil ole me to just pull off the tarp with all the snow on it.
4. To mix rubbing alcohol and a few drops of dish liquid. Spray the windshield and in a few minutes, the ice will lift right off. Makes scraping much easier.
There are usually two kinds of washer fluid, summer formula which is good for dissolving bug guts, and winter formula which does not freeze. If you have below freezing temperatures, you should be able to purchase this.
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.
Regular rubbing alcohol will work fine if added to washer antifreeze that is not strong enough. Add about 6oz. to a typical 1-gallon washer reservoir and it will boost the anti-freezing ability greatly.
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.
By Mary from Irvine, CA
We have always used just a small amount of non-sudsing ammonia in a bucket of warm water, and a microfiber cloth to clean the windows in the autos, and home. Be sure to wear some gloves, and keep a window open for fresh air, as ammonia is irritating to most people.
I know I sound like a broken record, but I use white vinegar for cleaning anything and everything. It will definitely cut grease. If it is being used on something I am not sure of, I try a small patch, and then rinse it well. So far I've been completely satisfied.
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.
Use any window that does have any ammonia. The spray can is the best.
Use baby shampoo and water . We use it to clean windows completely before tinting them. Works like a charm
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
I would not add any Dawn dish washing soap to the windshield fluid. First you will get a lot of bubbles and soap film. Second, there will be a build up of soap scum in the small hoses that run from the fluid reservoir and then the washes will not work until the hoses have been replaced.
I agree, do not add dish detergent to you windshield fluid! You could damage a lot of parts and end up costing more than a lifetime worth of buying windshield fluid! Buy yourself a squeegee like they have at the gas station, and just clean your windows periodically. If you are out driving, and the car is warm, just toss some clean snow on the windshield before you get out, run the wipers, and that helps, too.
Be sure to clean the wiper blades themselves to get a nice clean windshield.
I DISAGREE!!! AS LONG AS YOU ONLY USE A TINY AMOUNT OF DAWN IT WILL NOT CAUSE ANY PROBLEMS! I USE IT ALL OF THE TIME IN MY OWN VEHICLES' WINDSHIELD WASHER/WIPER FLUID. I MAKE MY OWN WINDSHIELD FLUID AND HAVE USED THIS IN ALL MY VEHICLES FOR YEARS! FOR 2 GALLONS OF WINDSHIELD WASHER FLUID I USE 2 CUPS OF RUBBING ALCOHOL , 2 CUPS WHITE VINEGAR AND 1/4 TEASPOON OF BLUE DAWN DISH LIQUID ADD WATER TO THIS MIXTURE TO MAKE 2 GALLONS.
I LIVE IN NORTH CAROLINA AND WE DON'T HAVE A LOT OF SNOW AND ICE. IF YOU DO LIVE IN AN AREA WHERE SNOW AND ICE IS AN ISSUE YOU CAN SUBSTITUTE THE CHEAPEST VODKA AVAILABLE FOR THE RUBBING ALCOHOL OR YOU CAN JUST ADD A CUP OR SO OF CHEAP VODKA TO THE BASE RECIPE.
I DON'T HAVE ANY SOAP SCUM BUILD UP IN MY WINDSHIELD WASH FLUID CONTAINER. THE ALCOHOL AND THE VINEGAR PREVENT THAT HOWEVER I NEVER USE ENOUGH DAWN LIQUID DETERGENT TO CAUSE SUCH AND ISSUE!
When making the windshield wash fluid is there something I can put in it to make rain drops roll of like Rain-X?
You need a little silicone oil in the mixture. Here is a recipe. itstillruns.com/
I know there are lots of great recipes online, but when I talked to my mechanic about this a while back, he strongly recommended NOT making any kind of homemade windshield fluid EVER.
I wanted to do it to save money and because I learned about the the dangerous chemicals in them (super bad for people and the environment.
He said that he has seen the homemade kind freeze up in the winter and crack the thing that holds the fluid and that is a big expense to repair it. He also saw people who had the stuff FREEZE on their windshield in the winter and cause accidents because they could not see when it flash froze. That one scared me really bad.
I trust him implicitly so when he gave me this lecture, the store kind won.
I am still not happy about the chemicals so I just learned to use the stuff very sparingly.
I clean my wiping my windows with a clean rag and water if I see it is dirty before leaving home. That doesn't help when I am driving and need it, so I only give it one squirt, do not hold it down and spray. Usually that does the trick. If not, I give it one more quick squirt.
Just my 2 cents worth...safety first for me and cars...I drive an 11 year old car and I need it to last another 11 or more years...so I made this compromise! Thanks for listening!
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I am looking for a homemade car window washer recipe.
By drmegumi from Albuquerque, NM
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 Laura Brown
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)
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)
Does anyone have a "recipe" to make your own freeze-proof windshield washer fluid?
By Sheila Saey from Springfield, IL
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)
Does anyone have a recipe for homemade soap for windshield washers?
Mami from Pensacola, FL
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
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)
What about vinegar and water? (05/03/2007)
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)
I use menthynol 50%, water 50%, and a few drops of dishwashing detergent. (09/21/2007)
By S Durf
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 $2 a bottle we're talking 50 cents just in this for mix.
Also you need a big bottle of dish wash detergent like Dawn, but that's too expensive so get the cheapest brand you can find. Big Lots is good for this also, though the best I found was at Dollar General.
You need to calculate the cents per ounce, a good price is 4 cents per ounce or lower, so if it's a 24 ounce bottle it should cost no more than 96 cents.
Then you need some 1 gallon jugs, save your milk containers and anything else that fits 1 gallon, you want to make this stuff 4-6 or more gallons at a time or it's not profitable.
Then, the formula:
This works great, not sure how freeze resistant it is, but it's way better than store bought washer fluid. Have I used it?
I have been making it like that for 4 years now. (11/14/2007)
For a washer fluid to not freeze in temps down to -40 C, the mixture would need to contain almost 70% methanol. This makes the mixture not only very flammable, but also very expensive for those without access to industrial chemical suppliers, where methanol can be purchased for considerably lower prices. (12/14/2007)
Be careful what you mix. I added Joy detergent and vinegar to my purchased blue fluid to help cut the grime of the windshield salt, here in Minnesota. Within a week I replaced the windshield wiper pump. It was frozen up. Another week, I replaced the rear window pump; it too was frozen. When was the last time you heard of these failing? I assume this mixture degraded the seal on the pump, and the fluid migrated into it. (01/07/2008)
We used alcohol and water in the military, in helicopters. We used a 50/50 mix in the winter and it was cold, the fluid never froze. (03/14/2008)
I am up here in Montreal. Snow, ice and -35 are not uncommon. Because of our dependency on WWF, it sells for about 3$ 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
I have determined the actual formula for a popular
premium washer fluid:
% by Weight
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