How to Remove Snow and Ice from a Car

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It’s never a good idea to drive your car with ice on the windows. With the proper tools and approach, it will only take a few minutes to remove the ice and snow from the glass. You, your passengers, and other drivers will be able to travel more safely when you can clearly see where you’re going through the windshield. Here’s how to quickly and safely get rid of ice on your car before driving.

To Remove Snow and Ice, Let Your Car Do Some of the Work

Step 1: Start your car. Take steps ahead of time to make sure your car doors will not be frozen shut. If you can open your car door, turn on the car before you do anything else. Otherwise, use a remote starter if you have one for your car. Keep a lock de-icer on hand, just in case the locks freeze up.
Step 2: Turn the heater on to defrost at the highest heat setting. If your car is equipped with a rear-window defroster, turn it on, too. This is the best way to get your car to help thaw the ice on a frozen windshield on its own, and the whole vehicle will be warm and toasty when you are done.

Clear Snow from the Windows, Hood, Roof, and Trunk of Your Car

Start by pulling the snow off of the roof of the car. Pulling the snow off is more effective than trying to push it off. Use a foam push broom, rather than the soft bristle brush end of an ice scraper. It will safely remove the snow without scratching the paint on your car. The long handle also makes it easier to reach the snow on the roof.
Foam brooms like the Auto SnoBrum are designed for this purpose. You can pick them up online or at area auto parts and hardware stores.
  • Tip: Use de-icer windshield-washer fluid in the winter and top it off regularly throughout the season. That way, if your windshield starts to freeze up while you’re driving or ices up while you’re in the store, you can use the windshield-washer fluid to melt the ice build up.
Next, remove any snow from the windshield and hood, again pulling the snow off to the side. Clear the snow off of the rear window and trunk lid, then move on to the brake lights, headlights, and license plates. This is a very important safety measure that’s often overlooked.

Remove the Ice from Your Car

Materials Needed
  • Waterproof gloves
  • De-icer solution
  • Vehicle ice scraper
Step 1: Put on a pair of old waterproof or dishwashing gloves. Also be sure to keep some de-icer and a pair of waterproof gloves in your car to use when you are away from home.
Step 2: Spray your windshield with a de icer solution. This can be purchased at auto parts stores and online. Some of them even come with a window scraper cap. You can also mix 2/3 cup of vinegar or Isopropyl rubbing alcohol with 1/3 cup of warm water, put it in a spray bottle, and spray your windshield with that, instead of the de-icer solution.
  • Tip: If the ice is quite thick, score it with a window scraper before spraying the de icer solution.
Step 3: Let the de icer solution work for 15 to 20 seconds, then turn on your windshield wipers. The ice should slide right off.
Step 4: Spray the deicer solution on the side windows, outer rear-view mirrors, rear window, headlights, and brake lights. If you use the Isopropyl rubbing alcohol or vinegar solution, take it in with you when you get to your destination. It must be kept at room temperature.
Step 5: Scrape the ice off of the side and rear windows and lights with a scraper. A scraper with a brass blade is best.
Step 6: Wash your hands after using the de icer solution. The de-icing solution is made from chemicals that can irritate the skin, so be sure to clean your hands with warm soapy water (dish soap will work, too) to remove any irritants.
Once your car is completely free of ice and snow, you should be good to get in and drive to work or wherever you need to go. Remember that others may not have been as diligent about cleaning off their cars as you, so use extra caution in less than ideal weather conditions.

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