How to Fix Frozen Windshield Wipers

Frozen windshield wipers are the last thing you want to deal with on a cold morning, but it’s a problem you can usually fix with a chemical de-icer.
Written by Kathryn Mae Kurlychek
Frozen windshield wipers are the last thing you want to deal with on a cold morning, but it’s a problem you can usually fix with a chemical de-icer.
  • After you turn on your defroster, the best way to fix your frozen windshield wipers is by using a brush or ice scraper and a chemical de-icer to gently unfreeze them. 
  • Even if your wipers are stuck in ice, never pull on your windshield wipers—doing so could cause serious damage. 
  • In a pinch, home remedies like pickle juice, vinegar, or rubbing alcohol can work in place of de-icer fluid. 

The best way to fix frozen windshield wipers

Although it’s tempting, do not turn on your windshield wipers while they are frozen. Instead, turn on your car and use the
button to help melt the ice on the windshield.
While this is working, get out of the car to
remove any loose pieces of ice or snow
using a brush or ice scraper. If you’re using an ice scraper, make sure you’re not hitting the wipers or damaging the windshield in the process.
When you’re ready, try to lift the wipers off using as little force as possible. If they don’t come up easily, do not continue to pull at them—this can cause major damage.
Instead, try following these steps:
  • Use a chemical de-icer on the windshield and wipers, like
    SPLASH Red Hot De-Icer Windshield Trigger Spray
    . Be sure to read the directions before use.
  • Continue clearing off pieces of snow and ice while you work. You can expect it to make progress on your blades within a few minutes. 
  • Gently lift the wiper blades to see if they are still stuck—but, again, if you encounter any resistance, do not keep pulling. Instead, wait a few more minutes before reapplying the de-icer fluid.
Once you can easily lift the wiper blades off, use a cloth to get rid of residual frost on the wiper blades and the windshield. You may need to use your brush or scraper if there are still large ice chunks.
Now that the wipers are free, you can turn your windshield wipers on from the inside of your car. 
It’s best to use a cold-weather windshield wiper fluid, like
Prestone De-Icer Winter Windshield Washer Fluid
, instead of your standard fluid throughout the winter months.
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Three other ways to de-ice frozen windshield wipers

Although chemical de-icers are the most common way to fix a frozen windshield wiper, there are some DIY solutions you can try when you’re in a bind.

Pickle juice

Although this probably isn’t the first thing you reach for when you have car troubles, pickle juice is a surprisingly effective option. Since pickle juice contains salt and vinegar, the brine can help melt the ice on your car’s windshield and wipers.
If you choose the pickle juice route, make sure to rinse off the windshield wipers when warmer months arrive. If you leave pickle juice on your vehicle for too long, the brine can cause rust.


Spray your windshield with a mixture of three parts vinegar and one part water to help melt ice. Make sure the water is room temperature. 
For the best results, let this solution soak overnight so that you can quickly and easily de-ice in the morning.

Rubbing alcohol

Mix two parts rubbing alcohol with one part water in a spray bottle, then spritz it onto the windshield around the wipers.

How to avoid frozen windshield wipers

Frozen windshield wipers may be inevitable depending on your home climate—but you can take some steps to prevent future damage: 
  • Replace your blades: Experts recommend that you replace your windshield wipers every six months to a year. Once they start to tear or decay, they’ll be less sturdy during harsh winter storms.    
  • Use old socks: Find a pair of long socks that you can place over your windshield wiper blades. This can help prevent freezing, especially if you lift the blades off your windshield.
  • Keep your windshield protected: At night, carefully place a blanket, tarp, or piece of cardboard between your windshield and the wiper blades. This should help prevent the wipers from getting stuck.
MORE: 8 ways to prepare your car for winter
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No. While it may seem counterintuitive, boiling water will actually damage the glass on your windshield, and it could shatter. Avoid this calamity by using one of the above recommendations.
You can, but it’s probably not the best choice. Regular windshield wiper fluid can freeze during the winter, which is why it’s best to use winter wiper fluid instead.
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