A clear windshield is what is the first step towards safe driving as the driver’s vision will be significantly affected by any dirt, dust, or another type of debris, particularly in poor driving conditions. Most drivers reach out to commonly available windshield cleaners which have methanol as an active ingredient. Methanol is a substance that poses a threat to the environment even in small quantities. This leads to many car owners who have this knowledge, look for safe, cheap alternatives.
It is very true that other cleaners available in the market do not get the job done as well, nor are they completely environmentally friendly. Thus, we have brought you this guide where you can learn to make your own DIY windshield cleaning liquid at home, which by the way is very easy to make as well!
Options To Make Your Own Washing Fluid
To prepare your windshield cleaning liquid, you need some household staples and a little amount of spare time. We have brought you multiple options to make your own washing fluid at home, with whatever ingredients you can find at your home easily.
1. Window Cleaner
A diluted window cleaner can serve as an ideal windshield wash. However, you must ensure that no residues are left behind to be sure about its effectiveness. Using distilled water instead of tap water will ensure that no mineral deposits are built up in the pump or nozzle of the washing system.
Below are a few steps to prepare your DIY windshield washing liquid with a window cleaner:
- Grab an empty container with the capacity to hold around 1.5 gallons of liquid.
- Pour one full gallon of distilled water in the empty container.
- Add a cup of window cleaning liquid and mix well with the distilled water.
- Test this solution on a clean rag. If it wipes off all the dirt and debris without any residues, you are all set with your DIY windshield cleaning liquid!
2. Ammonia and Dish Soap
This is a great option for you if you often drive through muddy areas, but take great caution when handling ammonia. Use ammonia that doesn’t have any surfactants or additives, and use it in a space with good ventilation. Moreover, ensure that the ammonia you use doesn’t cause any suds. Similarly, the dish soap you use must not foam a lot as it is not appropriate for the glass. Again, use distilled water only so that no mineral deposits remain in the container pump or the spray nozzles.
To prepare the ammonia and dish soap solution, follow these steps:
- Get an empty, clean container having the capacity of one-gallon liquid, and add a gallon of distilled water in it.
- Add 1 tbsp of dish soap to the water. Make sure That you carefully measure as if added too much the mixture will become very thick.
- Add half a cup of ammonia to the mixture now.
- Mix the ingredients well and conduct a patch test on a small area before you use it in the car.
Vinegar is very popular for its cleaning characteristics and is often used as an alternative window cleaner. It is also great to use as a windshield cleaner, but make sure that when using it no stains or residues are left behind. However, the use of vinegar in warm climates is not recommended since it causes a very bad odor.
Below are the steps to prepare your DIY windshield cleaner using vinegar:
- Get an empty container with adequate capacity.
- Prepare the solution using ¾ parts of distilled water and 4 cups of white vinegar.
- Shake well to combine the ingredients well.
- Test the solution on a small area before using it on your car.
Note: If you live in an area with freezing temperatures, conduct a freeze test before putting the solution on your vehicle. Leave a small amount of the solution outside overnight and check it in the morning. Incase it freezes, ass two cups of white vinegar more and conducts the freeze test once again. If this concentrated vinegar solution also fails to sustain the temperature, our final option is right for you.
4. Rubbing Alcohol
This is not exactly a distinct cleaner but an addition that can be made to either of the options above. Adding rubbing alcohol to any solution can prevent it from freezing. It is recommended to use 70% rubbing alcohol in mild winters, while in extreme temperatures 99% rubbing alcohol proves to be more effective.
Use the following steps to add running alcohol to your favorite cleaning solution:
- Prepare your choice of cleaning fluid and add a cup of rubbing alcohol to it.
- Pour a small amount of the solution in a cup and leave outside overnight.
- If the mixture freezes, add some more rubbing alcohol to the main solution and conduct the test again.
Safety Tips for Homemade Windshield Cleaning Fluid
The cleaning solution you use must not freeze as a basic point for your vehicle’s health. If this happens, the hose will be ruptured and you may have to incur an expensive repair.
Make sure that your windshield cleaner fluid reservoir is empty before making a switch to a different mixture. Moreover, flushing clean water in the lines to prevent any potential clogs is a great thing to do. If you are using the same cleaner, just fill it to the top. Using a funnel is a great idea to pour in the fluid as it prevents any spillage, as, despite the solutions being diluted, your paintwork can still be affected by them.
Ensure that you store the cleaning fluid in a safe place. All the containers having such liquids must be marked appropriately and be out of reach of kids and pets in the house. Maintaining a uniform temperature is also necessary to stop them from freezing as this will prevent any contraction or expansion in the containers that may lead to any potential spills or other dangerous incidents.
Plain water can also be used as a substitute for any of these mixtures mentioned above, in cases of emergency only, as water alone can not cut through the grime as effectively. Moreover, plain water also provides a breeding ground for various types of bacteria to thrive in it.
Finally, if the sensor present in your car can not measure the amount of windshield washer fluid present in the reservoir accurately, then simply add some blue food color to your solution which will prevent the sensor from misreading the levels of fluid present in the reservoir.