The best methods for defogging, defrosting and removing ice from your car’s windshield

scraping snow and ice off of car windows

We’ve all been there: You walk out your front door with just enough time to make it to work, school or an appointment and you notice that your windshield is covered in ice or fogged up. You need to get it cleared quickly and get on the road.

The following are some tips for efficiently removing fog and ice from your vehicle’s windshield for improved visibility and safe driving, gleaned from AAA’s New York region blog.

How to quickly defog your windshield

If your vehicle’s windows have condensation on the inside, don’t turn on your heat to the highest setting. Instead, use cold air and your defroster, according to AAA’s New York region blog. This will stop condensation from forming because the inside temperature Choose the climate control setting that draws air from outside the vehicle instead of the “recirculation” setting. The recirculation setting uses air from inside the vehicle, which causes the windows to become foggy or frost over on the inside.

Road and Track magazine suggests this method of defogging your windows instead, which includes cracking windows and turning on the air conditioning.

What not to do

Don’t use your hands to wipe away condensation from the inside of your windows. If you can’t wait for the defroster to dissipate the fog, use a clean cloth to clear the condensation.

cleaning snow off of car windowsHow to quickly defrost and remove ice from your windshield

Turn on your vehicle and turn on your defroster. This will help to loosen the ice on your windshield. To loosen ice on your headlights, make sure they’re turned on.

Make sure there isn’t any snow or ice blocking your car’s tailpipe before you turn it on. If there is, clear it. A blocked tailpipe can create carbon monoxide, which can be fatal to occupants in the car.

Let your car run for a few minutes. Then, use an ice scraper to clear away the ice. Thicker ice may take longer to melt and remove. You can also use windshield de-icer, available in a sprayer bottle, which works to melt ice.

What not to do

Don’t pour hot or warm water on vehicle windows to melt ice. This could cause the glass to crack. Instead, be patient with scraping and defrosting.

Don’t try to use your windshield wipers until they are free of snow and ice.

Don’t forget to remove any snow that’s on the top of your vehicle and on the hood. Snow can fall onto your windshield or could blow onto other vehicle’s windshields, decreasing visibility.

Have any other suggestions for defogging, defrosting and removing ice from windshields? Share them in the comments below.

4 more winter car care posts:


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.