De-ice with Rubbing Alcohol


A better de-icer

For most of my life I’ve lived in the Los Angeles area, where the idea of ice on the windshield of the car is only a winter morning fantasy witnessed on television. But last year I spent the winter in Lansing, Michigan, and morning frost was a daily chore to deal with.

Having to deal with the stuff myself, I wondered if there were a better way as it seemed there are so many other ways to remove ice from all kinds of surfaces. So I went to the local hardware store and bought a quart size spray bottle with an adjustable nozzle, and a quart of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol freezes at around -128F–OH) at the local drug store.

The next morning it took a few tries to find the right nozzle setting, but after I got it down the ice quickly melted as the car engine warmed up. I was on the road in much less time and with no new scratches on the windshield. Overall, I have found that a bit of alcohol is a much better method for removing ice from my windshield.

-- Opher Banarie 11/14/11

(A bit of research online shows that 70% isopropyl alcohol in a 2:1 ratio with water seems to be the optimal solution to deice windows (if you have it on hand, methanol is recommended as well), and that it won't hurt your car's paint-job (although it might remove some wax).--OH — editors)