Windshield washer fluid is an important part of maintaining your car. Most store-bought wiper fluids contain methanol, a toxic chemical that is dangerous even in small amounts. Because methanol is bad for your health and the environment, some people choose to make their own windshield wiper fluid without methanol at home. You can easily make your own windshield washer fluid with common household ingredients and save money in the long run too.
Method 1 of 4: Diluting glass cleaner
Step 1. Pour 4 liters of distilled water into a clean, empty bucket or container
Choose a bucket or container that is easy to pour and that has a capacity of at least 5 liters. Always use distilled water to prevent mineral deposits in the spray nozzles and pump in your car.
In an emergency, you can use tap water. Don't forget to replace the fluid as soon as possible to avoid damaging your car
Step 2. Add 250 ml of glass cleaner
Use the glass cleaner you have chosen in the store. Make sure to choose a cleanser that produces little to no lather and leaves no streaks. This method is good for everyday use, especially in summer.
Step 3. Mix the liquids well by shaking the bucket or container and then pour the mixture into the reservoir in your car
If this is your first time making your own windshield washer fluid, test it on your car first. Dab some of the mixture onto a clean cloth and wipe it over a corner of the windshield. The ideal product removes dirt without leaving streaks or residue.
Method 2 of 4: Mixing dish soap and ammonia
Step 1. Pour 4 liters of distilled water into a clean pitcher
Use a funnel if you find it difficult to pour the water in without spilling. Choose a pitcher that is easy to pour and that has a capacity of at least 4 liters. Make sure to keep the cap so you can easily mix and store it.
Step 2. Measure out a tablespoon of dishwashing liquid and add it to the water
Don't use too much soap, or your windshield washer fluid will become too thick. Just use the detergent you have on hand. Make sure you use detergent that doesn't leave streaks or residue on glass. If it foams too much, try a different soap. This method is best if you know that you will have to drive your car over muddy terrain.
Step 3. Add 125 ml of ammonia
Use non-foaming ammonia that has no ingredients and surfactants added. Be very careful when performing this step, as concentrated ammonia can be dangerous. Work in a well-ventilated area and wear gloves. When the ammonia has been properly diluted by the water, it has become relatively safe to use in windshield washer fluid.
Step 4. Close the jar and shake it to mix the substances together
Test the windshield washer fluid before using it. Dab some of the mixture onto a clean cloth and wipe it over a corner of the windshield. If the liquid removes dirt without leaving any residue, it is ready to use.
Method 3 of 4: Add rubbing alcohol to prevent freezing
Step 1. Add 250ml of rubbing alcohol to the wiper fluid from the previous two methods when the temperature drops below freezing
Use 70% rubbing alcohol during a mild winter. Use 99% in extremely cold weather.
If you have nothing else, you can also use strong vodka instead of rubbing alcohol
Step 2. Leave a small container with the mixture outside overnight
If the liquid freezes, add at least another 250 ml of alcohol. Test the product again. This step is very important to prevent the fluid from freezing and popping the windshield washer fluid hose.
Step 3. Mix the ingredients well by shaking the jug
Remove all summer fluid from the reservoir before pouring in the winter fluid. If there is still enough summer liquid in it, it can dilute the alcohol in the winter liquid. If the alcohol is diluted enough, the liquid will freeze.
Method 4 of 4: Making liquid with vinegar for cold weather
Step 1. Pour 3 liters of distilled water into a clean, empty pitcher
Make sure you use a pitcher with a capacity of at least 4 liters. If the pitcher has a small opening, use a funnel to make it easier to pour the water into it. Write the contents on the jug with a waterproof marker.
Step 2. Add 1 liter of white vinegar
Use only white vinegar. Other types of vinegar can leave residue or stain your clothes. This is the best wiper fluid to remove pollen.
Do not use this method in warmer weather. Warm vinegar has a foul, pungent odor
Step 3. Mix the ingredients thoroughly by shaking the jug
If the temperature drops below freezing, test to see if the wiper fluid freezes before pouring it into your car. Leave a small cup of the liquid outside overnight and check in the morning. If frozen, add another 500 ml of vinegar to the jug and test again. If the liquid freezes again, add 250 ml of rubbing alcohol and test again.
- Refilling windshield washer fluid is easy. Simply open the hood and locate the windshield washer fluid reservoir. This is a large, square, white or transparent tank in the front of the car. Often the reservoir has a simple click cap that you can easily remove without tools. There is an image of a diamond on the cap. Use a funnel when topping up the liquid to avoid spilling.
- When changing from summer fluid to winter fluid, be sure to remove any remaining summer fluid from the reservoir. If the liquid you're using now contains methanol, the safest way to do this is to transfer it with a roasting pipette.
- In an emergency, you can also just use tap water instead of windshield washer fluid. However, water alone does not clean as well. It can also become a breeding ground for dangerous bacteria.
- Recycle old containers of milk, vinegar and detergent to make and store the wiper fluid. Make sure to rinse them thoroughly before using them.
- Clearly write the contents of the windshield washer fluid container, especially if you are reusing an old container. You can also dye the wiper fluid a blue color using food coloring to make it look like store-bought wiper fluid.
- These homemade types of wiper fluid are less dangerous than methanol, but can still be harmful if swallowed. Keep the liquid out of the reach of pets and children.
- Always use distilled water when making windshield washer fluid. The minerals in tap water can cause deposits that can eventually clog the nozzles and pump in your car.
- Do not mix vinegar with soap. They can react with each other and clump, clogging the hose.
- You can also use these mixtures as an all-purpose cleaner for the windows and the rest of your car.