Are you ready for a little disclosure? I have a secret obsession with car washes. Although you wouldn’t know it by looking at my dirty car, I’m always scoping out car wash locations with the best coupons/prices, the best pre-wash, the coolest scrubbies, the friendliest employees, free vacuums, and a guy at the end who buffs your car dry at no extra charge.
My family noticed this obsession long before I was willing to admit I had a problem.
I’m in recovery now, so I try to focus just on my windshield. (Ok, not true, but I had to segue into the windshield issue at some point.)
Lately we’ve been running out of windshield fluid in our cars every few weeks. Nobody told us that when we moved south we would have a perpetual layer of yellow dust all over our cars.
I’ve recently been informed that the area we moved to has one of the most consistently high pollen counts in the country. True or not, I look like I’m leaving a trail of magic fairy dust behind every time I drive away.
Since I need to be able to see the road when I’m dusting the town with my special fairy blend, I mixed up my own windshield washer fluid that is cheap, non-toxic, and can be used to clean other things.
Non-toxic Windshield Wiper Fluid
You will need:
- 1 empty (clean) gallon jug
- 8 oz. isopropyl rubbing alcohol (high proof vodka can be substituted)
- 1 oz. liquid castile soap (where to buy liquid castile soap)
- 4 drops of blue food coloring (optional)
Pour the rubbing alcohol into the empty jug. Fill the jug with water, leaving room for the soap. Slowly add the soap and optional food coloring to the jug. Cap the jug and gently tip upside down a few times to mix ingredients. Pour windshield wiper fluid into the correct compartment under your car hood.
UPDATE: If you live in a colder climate, use 99% isopropyl alcohol in the winter to prevent the washer fluid from freezing. You’ll also want to double the amount of alcohol used for extreme cold weather.
Reasons to make your own
- Commercial windshield washer fluid is poisonous – It’s made with methanol, which the National Institute of Health lists as a poisonous alcohol that can cause significant damage even in small amounts.
- Homemade is much less expensive – Stores in our area list a 16 oz. bottle of rubbing alcohol at $0.88, a 32 oz. bottle of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap at $13.00, and a gallon of commercial windshield washer at $3.16 per gallon. This calculates to a cost per gallon of around $0.90 for our recipe versus $3.16 for the commercial brands, a savings of more than 350%.
- What are your reasons? Don’t limit this to my imagination, leave a comment with other creative reasons to make your own.
A few notes:
- Use this wiper fluid to clean the rest of the windows in your car or your home.
- It also works great to clean countertops and shine faucets!
- Always remember to label your homemade concoctions.
- The alcohol will keep this from freezing, for stronger anti-freeze protection in severe cold weather, add more alcohol.
- Old gallon jugs from vinegar make the perfect container for storing your homemade windshield formula.
Car wax removal info
Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol is used to remove car wax at a ratio of 1:1 (1 part water to 1 part alcohol). This recipe calls for a dilution of 16:1 (16 parts water to 1 part alcohol), so should not have any effects on the wax. However, we have not tested to see whether this dilution has any damaging effect on vehicle wax because we do not wax our cars. Therefore, if you wax your vehicle, test on a small area before pouring solution in washer reservoir and using.
References and Resources
- Dangerous methanol in commercial windshield washer fluid on National Library of Medicine.
- Methanol poisoning on National Library of Medicine.