How to de-ice your windscreen and de-mist it quickly as icy weather blasts UK

The days are getting colder and as commuters prepare for winter, the annual issue of de-icing your windscreen returns – but how can you do it quickly?

Frosty and snow-covered windows are extremely unsafe
Frosty and snow-covered windows are extremely unsafe

As winter looms and the days grow shorter, the appeal of a lie-in and indulging in a few more minutes in your warm cosy bed continues to becomes increasingly tempting.

So, the last thing anyone wants to see as they make the long trudge out to the car in semi-darkness is a windscreen blotted out with ice and condensation.

Sorting out the these common problems has made many late for work, and standing in the cold thawing your windscreen is far from ideal.

The frozen fiasco is caused by moisture on the outside of the car car – usually rain or snow – freezing in extremely cold temperatures. Meanwhile, the mist on the inside is caused by any moisture within the car evaporating and then turning back to liquid when it hits the cold windscreen.

So, what can be done about it? Read on for some tips on how to make your morning routine as painless as possible.

How to de-ice your car safely and quickly

Knowing how to clear your windscreen is a must for all drivers in the UK


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Here’s what you need to do to get going safely without damaging your car.

Check your wipers

Make sure your wipers aren’t on when de-icing your car. If they are, and the blades are stuck to the windscreen, their motor can become damaged.

Always be sure this is the first thing you do in the process of preparing your car’s windscreen.

Start your engine

Turn the position of the car’s fans so they are pointing at the windows using the positioning dial on the dash board, then turn on the fan and set it to the highest heat possible by turning the dial up to full blast.

If you have them, direct the rear fans on to the back window too. Like at the front, this will start to warm the glass up and help to get some of the ice on it to start thawing.

Turn on the air con (if you have it)

Your car’s air conditioning will remove moisture from the air and stop the windows fogging up. Don’t use your hands to wipe the windscreen as this will leave greasy marks.

Use the heat and air con together to start raising the temperature while also removing moisture from the atmosphere, so that you can simultaneously thaw and dry both the cabin and the windows.

Clear off any snow

Be sure to use a soft brush and clear anything covering the engine grill and lights.

Use a can of de-icer and a scraper to remove any loose snow and ice on the outside windows of the car and make sure you get it all off. Drivers have been warned they could face a £60 fine if they start driving with any parts of their vehicle still covered with snow.

How to de-mist your windscreen fast

The process of de-misting your windscreen is similar to de-icing and involves getting to grips with the heating and air conditioning controls in your car.

Point your heater vents at the windows and turn them on to a cool temperature. Then, slowly increase the heat before turning on the air con to remove the moisture from the air inside the car.

If you don’t have air con, the best thing to do is to roll down the windows and wait for the temperature to stabilise. You may have a climate control setting in their car instead and, if this is the case, be sure to use it as this can help to speed up the process.

Another helpful thing to remember is that keeping your windscreen clean is vital for stopping it misting up in the first place. The secret trick? Shaving foam.

Simply apply a thin layer of shaving foam over the windscreen and then wipe it off with a clean part of the same towel.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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