Make Eco-Friendly Windshield Washer Fluid, to Save Time, Money, and the Environment

Learn how to make windshield washer fluid in fast and avoid costly windshield washer fluid refills at mechanic’s shops.


Feb. 16 2024, Published 3:15 p.m. ET

Hand sprays a spray bottle onto an icy windshield
Source: Getty Images

Saving the planet requires creativity. Even if you’re already growing your food or composting your food scraps, your vehicle contributes to daily pollution. But you can minimize your car's planetary impact a bit by learning how to make windshield washer fluid that doesn’t spray toxic chemicals into the surrounding environment.

Article continues below advertisement

Anyone can make windshield washer fluid at home. Check out these simple recipes to make any car more eco-friendly.

The dash of a 1981 Trabant, made in East Germany, displays a button on the left meant to manually squirt windshield washer fluid on the windshield of the vehicle
Source: Getty Images
Article continues below advertisement

What is windshield wiper fluid made of?

Conventional windshield washer fluid is often made with toxic alcohols. The American Chemical Society found that the ethanol and methanol in standard windshield washer fluid products increased tropospheric ozone formation by increasing volatile organic compound emissions (VOCs) per vehicle.

How do I make windshield washer fluid?

Fortunately, you can avoid methanol-based windshield wiper fluid, and instead, learn how to make windshield washer fluid to prevent your car from contributing to VOC pollution. Some companies already make somewhat green windshield washer fluids, per Sanalife, but making the fluid at home will likely be more budget-friendly.

Check out the below recipes to get started.

Article continues below advertisement

Create an eco-friendly, vinegar-based windshield cleaner.

Vinegar is a powerful, all-natural cleaning agent you can use as an all-purple windshield cleaner, and this recipe by Creative Homemaking is simple to follow. Using just white vinegar, dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and water, you can have an eco-friendly windshield cleaning solution in minutes — with economical ingredients you might already have at home.

Raindrops fall on the windshield of a car traveling in traffic during a rainstorm in Wiesbaden city
Source: Getty Images
Article continues below advertisement

If you live in a cold climate, make this de-icer windshield washer fluid.

If your windshield is covered in ice, you can make a de-icer solution. The linked recipe from Stockpiling Moms is a simple combination of two parts rubbing alcohol and one part water.

The alcohol gently seeps into the ice on a windshield and breaks it apart, allowing you to easily scrape it off before leaving home.

Article continues below advertisement

That said, repair shop Houska Automotive cautions people not to pour this de-icer mixture into a vehicle's windshield washer reservoir. Instead, pour it into a spray bottle, and spray it onto your car's windshield directly.

Article continues below advertisement

Here's how to keep your windshield from freezing before rain or snow.

You can use white vinegar to coat your windshield the night before freezing rain or snow falls over your neighborhood.

Auto Glass Express recommends filling a spray bottle with one-quarter water and three-quarters vinegar. Then, spray it all over your windshield and car windows before wiping it down with a rag. If you do this before freezing weather rolls through town, you can prevent ice from forming on the coated glass.

Enjoy saving money and time with homemade windshield washer fluid.

Now that you know how to make windshield washer fluid that’s better for the planet, have fun trying the various recipes. You might find they’re more effective than what you’re used to, and they'll help you avoid wasting time at a mechanic’s shop waiting for a professional refill.

More from Green Matters

Latest Sustainable Living News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Green Matters. Green Matters is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.