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Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

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

Mami from Pensacola, FL


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

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

Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

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


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

Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid

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

By S Durf

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

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

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

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

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:


By Chris

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

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