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The One Thing Your Car Needs That You Never Have To Buy

Windshield Washer Fluid

First, I want to make it clear that I’m very grateful for the hard-working men and women who drive the snow plows here in Utah. Their efforts keep our roads and highways safe and drivable during the winter months, and that’s no small feat! However, my gratitude for the plows can never fully cancel out how annoying it is to deal with road salt!

The Problem(s) With Road Salt

The main problem with road salt is how much damage it can do to your car. If road salt is allowed to accumulate, it can lead to corrosion on your car’s paint job, frame, brake lines, and more. (Needless to say, we keep our local car washes quite busy during this time of year!)

Related: 17 Brilliant Hacks That Will Make Cleaning Your Car A Breeze

Windshield Washer Fluid

But there’s another problem that drivers face when it comes to road salt, and it’s happens much sooner than corrosion! It’s that salty road spray that coats your windshield in a vision-impairing layer of muck. (And I think we can all agree that’s it’s pretty crucial to be able to see out of your windshield, right?) ;-) I’ve been burning through windshield washer fluid so fast lately that it’s hard to keep up!

Windshield Washer Fluid

And that brings us around to today’s blog post, because I recently discovered a way to make my own DIY windshield washer fluid at home! The ingredients are cheap, it’s quick to make, and it works just as well as the store-bought kind (with fewer harsh chemicals, too!) It may not fix all the problems that come along with winter driving, but at least I never have to worry about running out of washer fluid!

Here’s how it’s done, so you can make your own windshield washer fluid for your car too! :-)

How To Make Your Own Windshield Washer Fluid

Windshield Washer Fluid

You’ll need:

1 gallon distilled water
1 Tablespoon Dawn dish soap
1 cup rubbing alcohol (90% or higher is best)

Windshield Washer Fluid


Pour out 1 cup of the distilled water (to ensure there’s enough room in your gallon container for the rubbing alcohol.) Set it aside to use later, or discard it.

Windshield Washer Fluid

Pour the dish soap and rubbing alcohol into the remaining distilled water.

Note: If you live in a climate that’s warm year-round, you can substitute a cup of plain white vinegar for isopropyl alcohol at this step. The alcohol has a very low freezing point, so it will keep your wiper fluid from freezing even in very cold temperatures. White vinegar will help your fluid dry quickly on your windshield, but will not keep it from freezing since the freezing point of vinegar is only a few degrees lower than water!

Windshield Washer Fluid

Replace the lid on the jug and tip it gently from side to side to mix the ingredients.

Windshield Washer Fluid

Before Using Your Homemade Washer Fluid, Do This Test First

When making your own washer fluid, you want to be certain that it won’t freeze overnight. (Frozen washer fluid won’t do you very much good!) The recipe above includes rubbing alcohol for that purpose, and it should be enough to prevent the fluid from freezing in most climates. But as they say, it’s better to be safe than sorry! So it’s a good idea to perform the following “freeze test” to be sure.

Windshield Washer Fluid

To do the freeze test, just leave your jug of homemade washer fluid outdoors overnight. Check on it in the morning, and if the texture of the fluid hasn’t changed, you can go ahead and pour it onto your car’s windshield wiper fluid reservoir!

Windshield Washer Fluid

But if you check the fluid and it’s slushy or frozen, add another cup of rubbing alcohol to the jug before adding it to your car.

What’s your best tip for surviving the hazards of winter driving?

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Bright Ideas

  • I’ve been using your windshield washer fluid recipe for YEARS and since then, I refuse to use store bought. (Same for your glass/mirror cleaner. ) I somehow lost the written recipe, so I discovered this post while searching. However, this is slightly different than the original, mainly, missing the ammonia. Where can I find the original version?

    • Yes, we did update the recipe. We found this one worked better and many people wrote in and requested something without ammonia. Give this one a try and let me know what you think. :-)

  • Can’t wait to try this! We live on the east coast just off the ocean and the salt in the air forms an awful film on the windows of our house. I’m going to try your formula on our windows.

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