Miracle Vinegar Ice Melt


"Saving this idea for the Cold Days ahead! Hate scraping off ice! Ice Proofing the Car Windows with 2/3 Vinegar 1/3 water! Just spray on windows and ice will melt away! Totally making a bottle of this for this winter!" 


This was a request from a friend, who wanted to know how true this pin was. Because honestly who doesn't hate having to take an extra 30 minutes in the winter to shovel your way out, scrape ice, warm up your car. Ick. That's an extra 30 minutes I could have spent in my nice warm bed.  

I was hoping to be able to test this out myself before posting about it, but here in the Pac Northwest we seem to be keeping a steady 40 degrees and rain, so I haven't been able to test it out. However due to science and numbers, I can say this is most likely false. 

Why? Well first off, the pin states "spray your windows and watch the ice melt away!" I've also seen the same idea that says if you put it on your windows before it snows or becomes icy it will prevent ice from building up on the windows. But vinegar (one of the biggest go to miracle items of pinterest - its up there with magic erasers and coconut oil go to Cure Alls) has a freezing point of 28°F. That is only a few degrees lower than water. So if you're outside and it's 31°F and you happen to keep this vinegar mix inside meaning it's room temperature this MIGHT work. It's not going to cause the ice to just melt away though. And if you apply it before night to prevent ice, you're going to wake up to a smelly frozen vinegar water snow ice mix you get to scrape off. On the other hand, the freezing point of  sodium chloride (aka: Salt) is around -6°F, you stand a better chance at getting results with salt water than you do vinegar. 

Now I'm not a car person, but a few forum posts about this also brought up the issue vinegar is an acid by nature, so too much vinegar on your car's metal or chrome trim and detailing might just damage it. 

All in all, this one is a bad idea. Not to mention a time waster, since you're still going to have to scrap that ice once the vinegar failed to melt the ice away. Alcohol based DIY deicers might work better as would windshield fluid designed for winter use. 

But what CAN you do to help cut back time in the morning scraping ice? An amazingly simple item you probably have in your home can in fact prevent snow and ice from clogging up your windshield. Cardboard. Simply cover your windshield with cardboard, holding it in place with the wipers  If that's a little too unsightly for you, you can also buy covers made just for this purpose. 

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

You are wrong. The correct blend of most anything with water will cause the lowering of the freezing point. Salt, vinegar, glycerol, alcohol are all ingredient which can lower the freezing point 20 or more degrees below freezing depending on the concentration. Salt is frozen (solid) at room temperature, yet when you add a little to water the freezing point drops to well below normal. With salt you can drop waters FP to -20ºC--and salt was already solid! It is an effect well known to people that have studied chemistry in college.

Anonymous said...

Oohhh got you moded!!!

JK - I was curious if this actually worked or not too. Anonymous 1 sounds like a physicist. Interesting comment

Anonymous said...

You are correct that additives to water do cause lowering of the melting point (or freezing point if you prefer). That's why salting a driveway helps to melt the snow. It lowers the temperature at which the snow will melt. However, store vinegar is already a very dilute solution of acetic acid in water, so it only changes the melting point very slightly, from 32 degF to 28degF. You have your principles right, but your data wrong, anonymous 1.

CeeCee said...

exactly, Anonymous #2. Where as Anon #1 is correct in their statement that it will lower the freezing point, it only lowers it to a mere 28 degrees, vs 32 for water. Salt water on the other hand has a freezing point of -6 degrees, and most commercial grade deicers can reach up to -25 before freezing. So if you use the vinegar and let it sit over night, depending on the temperatures reached you very well may have a much bigger mess to deal with come morning.

Anonymous said...

I just found this... b/c I was curious. I saw this "tip" on facebook today...and I was wondering if this was a hoax or not. I did a google search and found a windshield business that says "vinegar eats pits into the windshield glass". Not sure if THAT is true but I'll just err on the side of caution and scrape like I usually do....


http://www.pitchengine.com/glassdoctor/glass-doctor-busts-top-5-car-deicing-myths-saves-windshields

CeeCee said...

I was wondering why I was suddenly getting a HUGE flux of hits on this post today. Sometimes my posts get picked up by places like Life Hacks, what page on facebook if you don't mind me asking?

Anonymous said...

I agree with just covering up the windshield. You can buy something at the auto supply store, or just just use cardboard as they suggest.

Anonymous said...

Facebook Page : Homesteading / Survivalism

Anonymous said...

FB Page : Homesteading / Survivalism

CeeCee said...

thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

That's why I came here. Though I didn't really find an answer. Oh well.

Anonymous said...

Several times, have seen the suggestion on facebook with variations. Your page was one that made more sense.

Anonymous said...

park in a friggin' garage

Michael said...

Gee, why didn't I think of that? What I dope I am to live in a part of the city where street parking is the only option.

Anonymous said...

If the cardboard get wet and then freezes you could have a terrible mess as it tears apart when you try to peel it off the window.

Photobug said...

The best and easiest thing to do is to put a sheet of cheap polyethylene (painter's drop cloth) across your windshield and tuck it inside your front doors and close the doors to keep it in place. I use a sheet that is wide enough to also hang down over my front door windows. I put sandwich bags and rubber bands on my mirrors. In the morning, I just remove all the plastic, shake the ice and snow off them, and throw them into the garage...and off I go while my neighbors are scraping and cursing.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CeeCee said...

Just an FYI - I really don't mind negative or combative comments (They make me laugh, because you're basically arguing science at this point, especially on this post) but I do however delete comments with an insane amount of "The Mother of All Swear Words" in it.

Anonymous said...

So I can say it a reasonable amount then? Sweet thanks!

CeeCee said...

Only if you use it in a positive way to say how much you love my blog :P Then it wouldn't be a "bad" word right? That sounds logical.

Anonymous said...

oh my just scrap the frickin windows!

Anonymous said...

Well people who are disabled or have heart conditions might not be able to scrape and shovel so any winter tips are useful.

Anonymous said...

I was told the Vinegar will ruin my paint job on the car..

Anonymous said...

Seems a little extreme to "scrap" your windows rather than just scrape them.

Anonymous said...

I imagine this would eat at your car considering Vinegar is an acid based substance. Salt water destroys your car, wouldn't this be worse? This would just eat away at your car.

Anna Fine said...

Not everyone has the luxury of parking in a garage!

Anonymous said...

wow that first comment was from someone who need to repeat chemistry. Salt does is not frozen at room temperature. It's a solid it has no freezing point. It does not melt when you add water it dissolves.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha ha. And I thought I was horrible in chem class. so I wonder at what temperature salt turns to a gas?

Miss Laurie said...

Salt vaporizes at 2575 degrees F.

Anonymous said...

"wow that first comment was from someone who need to repeat chemistry. Salt does is not frozen at room temperature. It's a solid it has no freezing point. It does not melt when you add water it dissolves".
It is you who needs to go back to school im afraid ... check what you say before you sound off....salt is indeed fozen in its solid state at room temperature and melts(not disolves in water) to liquid at 801c and boils to vapour at 1413c it is used for at least one aplication in liquid form i know of for tempering steel tools. I have used it myself
dunce hat for you!

Anonymous said...

doctor's office today when sleet started falling, freezing on windshields. Didn't even know where a scraper was as I seldom get out in icy weather (have carport). So I ran out and put the nylon type sunshades I had in my car from a few days ago in Texas that is was 80 degrees and put them on the outside instead of the inside, held by windshield wipers. Luckily no wind blowing and it worked great. Swished them off to a clean window and threw in the back of van and came home. :)

Anonymous said...

Ha! I was just telling my sister I saw this post on FB about spraying your windscreen with watery and vinegar... and that I've tried it and by the time I sprayed all windows and came back around to the windscreen again the ice had melted nicely enough so I could just push it down with my scraper. I am not worried about the little bit of diluted vinegar damaging my car, I think it's probably negligible.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips and not so-tips.. great duscussion

Anonymous said...

could you just keep a spray bottle of a windshield de-icer in your car (don't they have the kind that suppose to cut ice right away..?) for emergencies...? you can spray by the time you get to the other side...it would be easier to scrape..?
am going to try the plastic on the windshield thing / plastic bags on mirrors (cool idea). does it have to be the thicker plastic? i had to scrape this morning.. really sucked!

Elisha said...

This is the reaon I wouldn't do this. Vinegar is bad fot your car and the window. Do this repeatedly and you may have bigger window problems on your hand.

~Sweet T~ said...

FYI: Another take on Vinegar damaging windows …

Windex (and other glass cleaners) are normally 5% ammonia in some sort of volatile solvent, with some detergents and other chemicals. The more environmentally-friendly variants replace the ammonia with acetic acid. A solution of 5% acetic acid (typical white vinegar) isn't going to hurt anything that 5% ammonia wouldn't.

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/vinegar.asp

~Sweet T~ said...

FYI: Another take on Vinegar damaging windows …

Windex (and other glass cleaners) are normally 5% ammonia in some sort of volatile solvent, with some detergents and other chemicals. The more environmentally-friendly variants replace the ammonia with acetic acid. A solution of 5% acetic acid (typical white vinegar) isn't going to hurt anything that 5% ammonia wouldn't.

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/vinegar.asp

~Sweet T~ said...

FYI: Another take on Vinegar damaging windows …

Windex (and other glass cleaners) are normally 5% ammonia in some sort of volatile solvent, with some detergents and other chemicals. The more environmentally-friendly variants replace the ammonia with acetic acid. A solution of 5% acetic acid (typical white vinegar) isn't going to hurt anything that 5% ammonia wouldn't.

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/vinegar.asp

OR as PhotoBug suggested :
The best and easiest thing to do is to put a sheet of cheap polyethylene (painter's drop cloth) across your windshield and tuck it inside your front doors and close the doors to keep it in place..
-Or- use a sheet that is wide enough to also hang down over my front door windows.
• Put sandwich bags and rubber bands on my mirrors.
• In the morning, - Just remove all the plastic, - Shake the ice and snow off them, - And throw them into the *garage...
And off you go while the neighbors are Still scraping and cursing.... :)

[* Only one problem, if you have a garage, all this is useless.. haha. So I would say - Throw them in the store room... :) ]

~Sweet T~ said...

** Throw them in the store room....
Because if we had a "garage" then we really wouldn't need all this, Right?!?! :)
Good suggestion, tho... Thanks
Never thought about the 'baggies & rubber bands' on the mirrors...

~Sweet T~ said...

The issue of whether this method of ice prevention will indeed pit windshield glass is a matter of contention, with some cautioning that it does:

Pour a mixture of vinegar and water on the windshield so that it freezes to the glass before the rain does, thereby preventing ice. Unfortunately, vinegar eats pits into the windshield glass.

However, others assert that vinegar is commonly used in glass cleaning solutions and ordinary household vinegar is far too weak a form of acetic acid to produce this sort of damage:

Very few acids will dissolve glass — that's why they keep them in glass bottles. Does your vinegar bottle look pock-marked?

Windex (and other glass cleaners) are normally 5% ammonia in some sort of volatile solvent, with some detergents and other chemicals. The more environmentally-friendly variants replace the ammonia with acetic acid. A solution of 5% acetic acid (typical white vinegar) isn't going to hurt anything that 5% ammonia wouldn't.

Yet others note that even if vinegar doesn't harm windshield glass, it might cause damage to paint, chrome, or other exterior surfaces, so it should be used on automobiles with caution and wiped up promptly if spilled.

Not sure -"READ" articles & decided for yourself…

http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/household/vinegar.asp

-or-

http://wafflesatnoon.com/2013/11/16/vinegar-windshield/

CeeCee said...

I think the bigger issue at hand though, is even if this is fairly ok to use on your car, the fact of the matter stands is that vinegar freezes at 28*, probably even higher temps since the original idea involves mixing it with water. If it's cold enough for ice to form on your windshield, it's probably cold enough for this to freeze as well. I was personally really excited when I saw snopes had finally gotten to this idea, but disappointed once I read they only focus on the idea of it damaging your car - that's an afterthought in my opinion about this idea, since the original idea stands the chance of failing miserably.

Anonymous said...

You should never assume. I actually tried this-and yes, the temp was below 28°- and it actually worked. Saved me a lot of time since I didn't have to stand out in cold scraping the ice off. Plus, there was no damage to my windshield. I think this article is based off of a hypothetical situation instead of someone actually going out and trying it. I don't think it's right for someone to be like "Here's why I think this won't work, but wait, I haven't actually tried it." So please people, don't let someone else's opinion deter you from trying a helpful tip.

Anonymous said...

I have tried it too and it worked wonders for me. It was 20 degrees when I went outside this morning and my car was iced except for where I sprayed the windows. Also, the "pitting" of the windows is not true. If it was, why would they bottle the vinegar in glass bottles? That doesnt pit, does it?

Anonymous said...

you really think that a glass bottle is the same as your windshield? smh

Anonymous said...

I just tried this and it works.

Judi Howlett said...

I live in Wisconsin and i use this all the time 3/4 cup vinegar to 1/4 cup water and it works awesome .. dont always believe what people post saying things are not true .. oh and it works to melt ice from stuck shut doors ..

Anonymous said...

I LIVE IN CLEARWATER FLORIDA....WHAT IS THIS ICE STUFF EVERYBODY IS TALKING ABOUT ?

Anonymous said...

I live in MN and moments ago tried this. It is 8º windchill right now and we are having s sleet storm so the ice was ready to be tested. It worked fine. As a matter of fact, I not only did the windows, I tried it on a trash can lid, a bird house roof and even my concrete steps. Works better than scraping.

Ohio baby! said...

it is -6°F here and much colder with windchill. My car doors are completely frozen shut so I'M going to put this vinegar/water idea to the test. Wish me luck :)

Matt Bland said...

The real trick is to WASH your windshield with the vinegar and a lint-free towel. That will remove all or most of the tiny dust particles that cause the frost to form and cling to your windows. As far as some people saying it pits your glass, doesn't vinegar come in glass bottles? How many of those bottles are pitted when the vinegar is gone?

Matt Bland said...

As far as the OTHER people saying that glass bottles are not the same as the glass in your windshield, yes it is. Laminated glass (what your windshield is made of) has a sheet of plastic sandwiched between two sheets of glass. The glass is the same type of glass as the bottle of vinegar. I have been a glazier for nearly 10 years. The silica content of the two types of glass varies only a few percent.

Anonymous said...

Okay, obviously none of you ever grew up in the upper north. Aside from the cardboard or cover which are sold and a great idea, the rest is wrong. It's true that vinegar and even alcohol at a high enough concentration, will eat through your clear coat, the same one protecting your paint from road salt and sand. They will also eat through your paint. The ones designed and marketed for vehicle use are designed to not do this. In all honesty, the best way is to wake up early enough to turn your car on and let it warm up. Turn your defroster and heater as well as the rear defroster on high. Go back out about 20 to 30 minutes later and push it all right off. Another way is that you don't have to completely melt the ice. You only have to warm the underside connected to the windshield in-order to detach it. Then all you do is push it off. So just get the defrosters heated and on high, a few minutes and it will scrape off easily. In a hurry, this works I have been doing it for years. If in a hurry start your vehicle give it 5-10 minutes to warm turn the heat and defrost on high. Have a big pan of boiling water and slowly pour it over the ice. Right after follow up with windshield de-icer, or the de-icer you should have in your windshield washer. Yes the water will cool and freeze fast but not after melting and removing ice. The de-icer in the windshield washer fluid will keep it from icing. However it will ice on the body of the car.

Anonymous said...

Though I will admit I never thought about trying saltwater. That is a very interesting Idea, I will have to try that sometime. However, as it stands when you're -20 degrees below zero and -40 with windchill salt does nothing. They stop putting salt on the roads when the temperatures go below 0, as it will not melt or prevent melting. They then use sand, lots and lots of sand. Oh, my poor car. Never drive a sports car in the winter, tip. Yes I am an idiot!

Anonymous said...

Esh, I need more coffee. I meant prevent icing, sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows you should never ever pour boiling water on cold glass. It will bust that windshield open. Try lukewarm water and I do mean lukewarm. I was cooking in my oven and using a pyrex rectangular shaped dish. I don't use it often, I open the oven and peeled the foil back and added cold tap water, the whole dish shattered into hundreds of pieces. I never did this again. Never pour boiling water on a windshield in cold weather.

GROOVIX GROOVE said...

Greetings to all,

I have a method to share. I have been doing the following in Northern New Jersey every time Mother Winter leaves us a gift of toil and trouble. Firstly, make certain you have Calcium Chloride, spray bottles, plastic bucket, flat broom/s, shovels. Depending on the severity of the storm, you must arise with anticipation or early enough to do this, if you have to go in to work or if you decide your children will go to school, if schools are open. Dress warmly in layers and please wear gloves and head cover. Make sure you are wearing boots or impermeable footwear, if possible. Have a hot cup of coffee/tea/cocoa, before or even during the extrication of your auto,(Thermos or water bottles work fine).

NOW: prepare hot, "not boiling", water in a spray bottle or a large reservoir,(bucket) and as you are outside next to your vehicle, carefully pour the hot water over the driver-side door, door seam and handle. (You will do the same afterward for the passenger door, mirrors, windshield and rear glass). When the driver-door opens without problem, enter and "start your engine" and turn on the heater on the closed-circuit windshield setting at the hottest level and allow your car to warm up inside, close your car's door. Then as you pour rest of the hot water on your vehicle, the ice or snow will melt instantly.

NOW: you may be able to remove the rest of the snow with a broom, yes a broom, not a shovel. If the snow is soft, the broom should remove it easily from your car's windows, roof, trunk, etcetera.

The undercarriage is always a challenge and it is why you must start your car's engine as soon as you melt the ice or snow from your driver-side door. Make certain you have also poured hot water also over any snow that may be blocking your driver-door's exterior, at the bottom, etc. If you remembered to turn on your car's heater, let your vehicle run for awhile, the car's engine will melt or soften the snow underneath. After twenty or so minutes, your car's interior will be very nice and the snow and ice from the windows will have begun sliding off as the ice/snow is defrosting. You might want to sit inside your now warm car for a few, before finishing the job.

NOW: with your plastic or steel shovel, you can begin to remove the snow blocking your car's path of exit. If the snow is ice-like or too hard, you must use hot water again to melt the snow and then removal with the shovel becomes so much less taxing. Remember, you must pour calcium chloride onto the pavement and areas where the water you poured, landed. This will make it safer for any pedestrian or vehicle traffic. When you are redy to move your car, turn your steering left and right several times to release the tires from the snow underneath. Carefully drive forward and reverse several times also to loosen the vehicle from the snow. When safe, carefully exit the spot and drive with your loved-ones in mind always. It keeps us from driving like idiots, well some of us...

I understand that this all sounds like too much work or too difficult, however, inclement weather is never easy on us and snow storms maybe the worst, only after hurricanes. Yes, I've also been through three hurricanes in Florida. It is a hassle either way, yet I have used this method in the winter, successfully and been on my way to work or whatever else on my agenda.

Use the least common denominator and if you DO NOT need to go anywhere for the rest of the storm or day, please stay inside until it's over. When it's allowable, do your duty safely. Most importantly as with everything in life, be safe and use sound judgment. Always be certain you can do this sort of physical activity and if you have cardiac conditions, get a younger person to do it for you. No shame in that.

Peace and God Bless!!!
Antonio Melero

Anonymous said...

Never pour hot water on an ice covered window you can crack the glass also you can do one of two thing to deice any car very easily in about ten minutes, either start the car and let it run with the defroster on or buy a block/ oil heater for your car and do it that way, its been a pretty rough winter this year and I have never spent more then ten minutes clearing off my car except when my door was frozen shut which I went in through a different door and then after I unfroze it I coated the weatherstripping ( the price of rubber on the inside of your car door) with a dry lubricant to prevent any more freezing.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who has lived near the beach can tell you, Salt water + car = damaged paint. Don't use salt either!

Post a Comment

ShareThis