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Vinegar and Water Melting Ice Trick – Does it work?

Have you heard about the vinegar and water melting ice trick? Does it really work?

For many of us here in the U.S. there is a lot of snow. That means that, more often than not, when you go outside in the morning, your car will be covered in snow and ice.  

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was something easy that would make melting ice on your windscreen and car windows?We've all seen this tip floating around Pinterest for a vinegar and water recipe that makes melting ice on a car windscreen really easy. Does it really work? Find out at

There is a meme currently running the rounds on Pinterest that says that vinegar and water mixed 2/3 to 1/3 if effective in melting ice so you don’t have to scrape. But does the vinegar and water ice melting trick really work?

Vinegar and water ice melterDoes this vinegar water melting ice trick really work?

Well…not quite in the way that the photo might indicate. Sadly, there is no cure all for ice scraping with a single spray of the mixture.

However, the process is based on some facts.  To get it to work properly, when you are expecting ice in the morning, spray your windows with the mixture the night before. Then, the following morning, the windows should be clear of the icy mess. 

How does it work? vinegar contains acetic acid, which lowers the melting point of water – preventing water from freezing.

If you come out in the morning to a frozen car window and then spray the mixture on it, it might help to loosen the ice slightly. However, by then you could have scraped it all clean anyway.  

Room temperature water or cold water would loosen the ice a bit so that is easier to scrape Be sure the temperature is well above freezing or it will just refreeze.  Warm or hot water could actually crack the window so it should not be used.

Another thing to keep in mind with the vinegar water solution is to not use it on a windscreen with cracks or chips that have not been repaired. The acidity in the mixture could cause further damage to these chips.

Other ways to melt ice on a windshield

While the vinegar water trick above doesn’t have great success, there are some ideas for melting ice that do work.

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Scraping the windshield to remove ice

The fastest, safest, and most reliable way to get rid of the ice is the old fashioned way. Start the car, turn on the heat and blast it at the windows, then WAIT and scrape.

Note: Even this method has some warnings. My husband once cracked a windscreen simply by turning the heat on the windows and leaving it to work. He thought it was because the windscreen might have had a chip in it which weakened the wind screen glass.

There really is no substitute for the tried and true ways that we have been practicing for generations. Car heat works for starting to melt ice and good old elbow grease gets rid of it all.Heating your car and scraping the ice is still the best way to get the ice off.

Start your car and let it idle

When you start your car a bit before you want to use it, the car will heat up and the fan will also heat the windshield, melting the ice.

The down side of this method is that it takes the longest to work.

Use alcohol and water to melt ice

Keep a bottle filled with 2 parts of rubbing alcohol and one part tap water. Store the bottle in a room that is at room temperature. The temperature of the mixture causes some of the ice to thaw.

As the heat transfers from this melted area, the unbroken ice nearby will also start to melt.

Commercial de-icers

There are many commercial products that are made to melt the ice on windshields.

Some also thaw frozen locks and are effective in sub-zero temperatures. These products work more quickly than waiting for the heater in the car to melt the ice on the windscreen.

Make sure that the product you choose claims to be harmless to your car finish.

Saltwater solutions for melting ice on car windows

We all know about using salt on frozen sidewalks. The same principle holds for saltwater solutions and windshield ice. Road salt works best, although table salt will work in a pinch.

To speed the process of removing the ice, use a plastic ice scraper to remove it as the ice begins to thaw. Don’t press the scraper against the windshield since this could scratch the glass if enough force is used.

Note: care should be taken with any salt water method of removing ice, since it can also damage paintwork on the car if it rests on it for too long.

Cover the windshield to prevent ice forming

This takes some forward planning but is very effective if you are expecting a light snowfall.  

Cover the windshield with something light such as a sheet, or towel and weigh it down so that ice won’t build up. Soak the cover with a salt water solution and place it over night. Keep the cover away from the paintwork.

NOTE:  if you are expecting a lot of snow, don’t use this method.  The covering will be very heavy and hard to remove the next day.

It’s a good idea to keep an ice scraper in your car all the time if you live in an area with many freezing temperatures. You never know when you will need it!

Removing ice from side mirrors

Many newer vehicles have plastic mirrors which can scratch easily. One trick that my husband has used successfully is to place plastic bags over the mirrors to keep the ice from forming in the first place.

Once again, this method requires thinking ahead and listening to the weather forecast.

Now it’s your turn

What methods have you used to remove ice easily from your car windscreen? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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Heidi Mirz

Wednesday 10th of February 2021

Will the vinegar/salt effect the paint?


Thursday 11th of February 2021

I don't mention vinegar and salt in this post. Salt and water are mentioned. However, salt can be corrosive on the paintwork so care should be used with any salt formula.


Saturday 16th of November 2013

I say three is no substitute for starting the engine and blasting the heat. But like you said, scraping is faster.


Saturday 16th of November 2013

*there* is no substitute


Friday 15th of November 2013

WARM or HOT water applied to a window in the cold will CRACK the window in most cases! lukewarm or cold water will loosen up ice, without the damage. (even cold water is many degrees warmer than ice, but without the extreme change in temperature, you avoid the risk of damaging your windows)


Friday 15th of November 2013

Thanks for the comment. I did have the wording that temps needed to be above freezing but have added a bit more to make it more clear.


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