De-ice your windshield with cola

I’m sure none of you are late driving your kids to school because you forgot to de-ice the windshield. But if you are, Virginia from Dublin, Ireland offers this hack:

In a hurry to de-ice the car windows? Out of windsheild-wiper fluid or can’t find the scraper? Pour a can of cola on the window! The acid (famous for cleaning tarnished pennies) clears iced windows.

I suggest following up with a car wash — I can’t imagine the acid is great for the paint. At the very least, you’re left with a sticky mess. Another option: old credit cards make fine scrapers if the ice is thin (and your arms are long).

Related: Use junk mail fake credit cards as dish scrapers

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  1. LeAnn says

    You can also use a bottle of WARM water, and immediately turn the wipers and defrost on. Not quite as sticky!

  2. says

    This is an awful idea. The soda will eat the paint on your car. If you’re de-icing, chances are you won’t be able to wash the car for a while (until it warms up), so it will just be a big mess and can cause some serious damage.

  3. Carol says

    I’ve used Coke for this, followed by washer fluid once the deicing has occurred. Coke is also good for the greasy buildup on the windshield that washer fluid can’t seem to break through in the spring.

  4. Hank Scorpio says

    Dear God, NO! I was walking past a skip once where somebody had thrown their half-drunk can of Coke in, but missed and hit the back of an expensive sports car parked next to it. The paint had bubbled and peeled away where the Coke had spilled over the rear of the car. This is a terrible idea – the best way to deice is to use *cold* water – warm or hot water can crack or shatter the windscreen.

  5. w says

    Do you think you could use diet coke? It is less sticky because it doesn’t have sugar. I wonder if it would still work?

  6. Keet says

    This is honestly one of the worst ways I’ve heard to clear an icy windshield. As already stated, the acids in the cola will also damage your paint. I’ve spent over 30 years in Alaska (born and raised). If there’s no scraper in the car, an old library card, gym card or rewards card will do in a pinch, but for the really stubborn ice, you can make your own home-made de-icer from isopropyl alcohol.

    Mix a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol, a quart of water, and a drop dishwashing liquid. Increase alcohol levels for a more rapid effect (remember, more is not necessarily better, but adding alcohol seems to make this work more quickly).

    Also, putting vinegar and water in a bottle (1 part water, 2 parts vinegar) and applying before you turn in for the night should help prevent ice buildup. You can also put this mixture in your washer fluid tank.

    In an absolute pinch, warm water will work, just keep the wipers going so it doesn’t immediately freeze on the windshield again.

  7. Parent Hacks Editor says

    Keet: I’m inclined to trust a native Alaskan when it comes to de-icing tips! I intend to bump yours up to a post tomorrow (an any other handy ideas that come through today). Thanks —

  8. says

    Not that this is the greenest solution, but when I lived in Alaska, I’d run outside in my pajamas, turn on the car and let it warm up while I finished getting ready. When I came out, I just wiped away the melted slush with the windshield wipers. I honestly don’t remember every scraping ice off a windshield the entire time I lived there.

  9. Gordon says

    The acid in coke isn’t the important part of this trick. If you have any liquid you can use it to melt the ice.

    Thought-experiment: If coke had magic de-ice properties how come it still freezes like water when left in the freezer?

  10. Lemon says

    Um, why not just start the car 5 minutes ahead of time? And if all these people are worried about acid eating through paint… why in the heck are people DRINKING this stuff?!?!?!?!?

  11. says

    While it may not be great for ice, it IS a great solution for road film. I have used a can of coke to de-gunk my windshield on many, many occasions when I couldn’t get the windshield fluid to work. It has never eaten the paint off any of my cars, either. (Though I do wash them when I get the quickest chance.)

    And no, diet coke does not work the same. Neither will Pepsi, Sprite, or Dr. Pepper. It must be Coke.

  12. bee says

    My question is, who lives in a place where there is ice and doesn’t have a scraper in their car? I live in Ohio and my scraper stays in the car year-round. Then again, I was a girl scout. Be prepared!

    That said, I am tempted to try this just out of curiosity! I wouldn’t trust it on my car, but what about sidewalks, front doorsteps? Would it eat concrete the way salt does?

  13. Keet says

    Sorry all, I was focused on the problem stated. I agree on two comments made after mine. It’s always a good idea to leave a scraper in your car if you live in an area that gets ice/frost, even if it’s just a few times a year. You’ll be happy you left it in the trunk all those months ago.

    And yes, possibly not the greenest, but unless someone’s just flat out of time, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t start their car 5-20 minutes before they’re leaving. People that live in cold climates will also typically get a block heater, oil heater and/or battery heater that they plug in overnight to keep the engine at a warmer temperature. Prevents wear on the engine when it’s started and potentially reduces the amount of time the car must run before the windows are clear.

    One point I forgot to mention about the self-made alcohol solution. Alcohol can eat away the wax covering on your car’s paint job…so be sure to re-protect that paint as soon as you can.

  14. Heather says

    I have used coke to degrease a windshield. On a roadtrip while it was raining and the windshield wipers just smeared the rain, we stopped at a gas station and picked up a bottle of coke and carefully poured it over the windshield. This works amazingly well.Diet coke will NOT work. Also, you do not have to worry about paint removal if you just carefully pour it on the windshield. The coke should not touch any paint on the way down. We have done this numerous times and never had any problems.

  15. stacy says

    I don’t know about car windshields (don’t own a car) but coke is AMAZING for cleaning baked-on food off pots. Just scrub them out the best you can, pour some coke in the pot (or pepsi) to cover the bottom, and bring to a boil. I was initially skeptical, but once it ended my apple-butter nightmare this fall I was sold.