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Best ways to defrost a car windscreen without an ice scraper

Fed up of sitting in your car waiting for the ice on the windscreen to melt? Here’s how to defrost car windscreens easily and quickly

On a cold winter’s morning it can be tempting to start the car, whack the heaters up to max and leave the car running while you finish getting ready. This has to be the worst way to defrost a car windscreen – not only are you burning fuel and creating pollution unnecessarily, but your unlocked idling car is an easy target for opportunistic car thieves.

So, what should you do instead? What’s the best way to defrost a windscreen? Here are a few easy ways to clear the ice.

Ice scraper

You might call upon the trusty ice scraper, which scores points for being very cheap and effective – although, obviously, some chilly manual labour is required. And you need to remember to scrape off all your windows, lights and any sensors your car has for forward-facing cameras and lane-keep assist. You can grab ice scrapers in most petrol stations, supermarkets or online.

De-icer spray

Available in the same places as an ice scraper, a can of de-icer spray can quickly clear a frosty windscreen. Simply apply sparingly and watch the snow melt away. However, the chemicals in de-icer spray are bad for the environment, and de-icer can make your windscreen fog up – at which point, you’ll need to read our guide on how to demist your windscreen.

Alternatively, you could create your own, eco-friendly de-icer by mixing a tablespoon of salt with two cups of water. The salt will start to melt the ice, but you could give it a helping hand by also using a scraper.

Heated windscreen

Car windscreen defrosting

About now, Ford owners will be smugly pointing out that their cars have a heated front windscreen as well as a heated rear one. Ford’s Quickclear heated windscreen takes just a few seconds to melt ice and snow from your vision. But you might still need to de-ice the side windows. And occasionally, you might find the heated screen elements getting in the way of your forward visibility.

Ford used to hold the patent for heated front windscreen technology, but now more and more cars are starting to come with heated windscreens.

Buy an electric or hybrid car

It might not be feasible to buy a new car at the drop of a hat – although we have a wide choice of electric cars and hybrid cars if you fancy a change – but plug-in cars have a distinct advantage in winter. If your car allows you to schedule charging times through a phone app, chances are you’ll also be able to preheat the cabin before you get in. So your car can be defrosted and toasty while you’re still having your toast.

This is the best and most efficient way to heat up an electric car, as relying on the car’s heating system will reduce your range.

Quickest way to defrost a car windscreen

Let’s not bother with the ice scraper or de-icer spray. Just get some warm water in a jug, pour it over your windows and drive off. This has to be the quickest and easiest way to defrost your windscreen, requiring minimal effort and time – but there are downsides, which we’ll get to.

This also works with warm water in a sandwich bag, if you’re a TikTok content creator. As an added bonus, it’ll keep your hands nice and warm, too.

It’s important to make sure you don’t use boiling water straight from the kettle, because this can cause the windscreen to crack or break. The colder it is outside, the more likely you’ll break the windscreen, but we’d avoid boiling water altogether just to be on the safe side.

But you also can’t just use cold or room temperature water – you might find that the windscreen freezes over again once you start driving.

Defrosting a car FAQs