DIY Windshield Washer Fluid

Posted on April 11, 2017 by Chris Duke
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Are you out of windshield washer fluid for your vehicle and, like me, you are tired of running to the store to get more? Not only can the process of getting some when you’re out be a nuisance, but did you know that you can make some right now without leaving your home using stuff you’ve already got?

It’s not so much that it costs a lot (averaging $2-$5 per gallon). It’s just a hassle. I ran into a situation the other day while doing some basic maintenance on my F-150, and I really didn’t want to run to the store just to get a gallon of blue liquid… again.

If I didn’t figure out a quick and easy way to do-it-yourself, I’d forget about it. Then the next time I am out driving and need to clear my windshield and it’s still empty, some expletives would be spoken!

In this very moment, not only did I find out how to “brew” my own windshield washer fluid at home in a couple of minutes, but I found out that most commercially sold washer fluid is made of nasty, extremely poisonous chemicals that could poison you, your children, and your pets!

Here’s how easy it is to create your own windshield washer fluid that is not just safe and environmentally friendly, but you can do it right now without leaving your home or your shop…

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Before I give you the simple recipe, please read these next two paragraphs. Most cleaning products these days contain a certain amount of nastiness that you should keep away from your kids and pets. But did you know that most windshield washer fluid contains a poisonous alcohol called methanol? Some have small amounts of ethylene glycol as well. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the common blue washer fluid looks like juice to children and if consumed, could lead to poisoning.

Don’t believe me? Just take a look at the specs and warnings for the popular brand “Peak Windshield Wash”. That’s one long document, full of warnings! Yikes! The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) also says it is harmful if inhaled, causes damage to organs, it’s toxic to your skin, and is a highly flammable liquid and vapor.

No, you don’t need to put on a complete hazmat suit in order to use store-bought windshield washer fluid, but you do need to be careful.

My Windshield Washer Fluid Recipe

There are several different ways to make your own windshield washer fluid. I tend to opt for what is simplest and quickest, using items I already have around the house (or my shop).

Summer Blend

Here’s what you need:

  1. Liquid glass cleaner (think Windex)
  2. Water
  3. Empty (and clean) 1 gallon jug
  4. Measuring cup (1 cup)

How to mix:

  1. Fill your measuring cup with 1 cup of glass cleaner
  2. Pour it into an empty (and clean) 1 gallon jug
  3. Top it off with water. Distilled water is preferred (especially if you have “hard” water), but hey–we’re cheaping out here, so tap water is fine
  4. Shake well (and do the happy dance while you’re at it)
  5. Top off your vehicle’s windshield washer reservoir

See? I told you it was simple.

Winter Blend

The above solution works great for summer weather when you don’t have to worry about your windshield freezing over. Here in San Diego, we almost never have to worry about frosty car windows, so my summer blend works all year long.

That is why methanol or ethanol-based mixtures exist. They prevent your reservoir from freezing, and the fluid from freezing onto your windshield. But there is a much more environment friendly solution: rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol). You probably have that in your home or shop, too. If not, your local grocery store has it.

Here’s what you need:

  1. 1 cup of rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
  2. Summer Blend (see above)

Basically you’re going to want to follow the Summer Blend steps, but before adding the water, add the 1 cup of alcohol.

Alternate Solutions

If you’re in a pinch and don’t have any glass cleaner, use 1 tablespoon of liquid dish soap (Dawn takes grease… out of your way!) Any grease-removing liquid dishwashing detergent will work just fine.

Final Notes

Please note that your new homemade blend of fluid is still dangerous to consume, so be sure to label it and keep it out of reach of your children and pets.

Got any other suggestions, tips or tricks? Be sure to comment below!

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