Is your car stuck out in the cold? If you don’t have garage privileges for your car, then you know all too well the pain of a frosty morning and a windshield slathered in a thick layer of ice. Having a clean windshield is a must for safe driving, which is why we’ve collected these 6 hacks you can use to quickly defrost your windshield.

Hack #1: Ice scraper

It’s not ultra-glam, but it’s a must for safe driving. Many are configured so one side is a scraper and the other’s a brush to get rid of the soft snow. (Those of you in cold climates may not realize this is a regional implement. When relocating to Minnesota from the West Coast, I was given one of these and thought it was a fancy BBQ tool.)

Hack #2: De-icer

You can buy de-icer at your local automotive or big box store, but there’s a formula flying around the internet that claims to be just as effective. Take a spray bottle and mix 1/3 part water with 2/3 parts isopropyl (or rubbing) alcohol. Spray your windows and watch the ice melt way.

Hack #3: Wash it off

Dousing your windshield in lukewarm water will melt the ice enough to make it easier to slough off. But don’t be tempted by the thought of pouring hot water over it to melt it completely. In fact, be very, very (VERY!) careful about the temperature and never use water that’s too hot. Boiling water on a frozen or cold window can cause the glass to break, so err on the safe side with water that’s barely hot.

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Hack #4: Your car heater

Granted this one takes a little planning in advance, but if you let your car heater blast for about 5 minutes, your defroster will be much more effective and your wipers can likely brush the slush or snow right off. Of course, don’t ever leave your car unattended or unlocked if it’s running. Car thieves don’t mind a little cold.

Hack #5: Cold air

Wait, what? Before you dismiss this idea, we’re talking about defrosting the windshield while you’re driving. There’s very little that’s scarier than having the window cloud over while you’re frantically trying to read street signs and watch for hazards. If you need to clear the fog stat, you want to quickly lower the temperature inside to stop condensation. And the best way to do that is to open the windows to let in the cold air.

Hack #6: Prevention

Yes, storing your car covered is ideal, but not everyone has garage access. You can still protect your windshield, though, by covering it with a tarp or old sheet or towel. Also consider raising your wipers and covering them with socks at night. They might look a little silly, but they won’t freeze to your windshield.

DIY hacks

about Cathie

Cathie Ericson writes about personal finance, real estate, health, lifestyle, and business topics. When she's not writing she loves to read, hike, and run. Find her @CathieEricson.