Home Made Screen Wash

Home Made Screen Wash Ideas – Do they Work?

If you spend any time behind the wheel of your car then you know how important it is to have a clean windscreen. But how can you achieve this cheaply and what happens if the garage has sold out of regular screen wash? Home made screen wash is simple to make but does it work and is it safe to use without damaging your car? There are all sorts of horror stories out there about screen wash damaging the paintwork or blocking the nozzles up. Whatever the season your road safety is seriously compromised if you do not have a clean windshield and a full tank of screen wash. If you buy your supplies from the local garage then the chances are that you will be spending up to $50 a year on these products. Home Made Screen Wash is practically free! Read on to learn the secrets…

Car Cleaning Mentality:

Home Made Screen Wash - Clean Windscreen

Home Made Screen Wash can be a good way to keep your windshield clean and so help optimize your visibly for safer driving. There are plenty of screen wash alternatives to try!


Generally there are two kinds of car owners…those who spend all Sunday morning cleaning and polishing their car (is this really a substitute for masturbation?) and those who only clean their car the day before it is due to be sold. It has to be said that the Meany Goat does fall into the latter category, and I once bought a brand new car and only cleaned the outside the day before I sold it three years later! However, when it comes to car safety then if you clean nothing else then always make sure that your car windows, number plates and headlamps are all gleaming. This makes common sense from a road safety point of view but will also keep you clear of unwanted attention from the local traffic police…who can also fine you! Equally, if you are involved in any kind of car accident and there is the possibility that you had reduced vision due to a dirty wind screen then you could also run into problems with your insurance claim. All ways round it makes sense to keep your windshield clean, but what is the best way to do this without spending a lot of money on the commercial products? Well, home made screen wash is cheap and easy to make so lets check out the options!

Home Made Screen Wash Options:

The first practical consideration is the season. In the summer most of us don’t have to worry about our home made screen wash freezing up, but what about in the winter?

Summer Screen Wash Recipe

When temperatures are above freezing then home made screen wash is really easy to make…

  • Use Clean Tap Water – Fill the screen wash reservoir nearly to the top with water
  • Add Vinegar – Just tip a tea spoon full of regular or spirit vinegar into the screen wash reservoir
  • Add a Few Drops of Dish Soap – Just a small squirt….too much and you will end up with froth everywhere

Simple as that! Cleaning the wiper blades with a cloth and some vinegar will also stop them from squeaking! There are scare stories that the dish soap can damage the paintwork of your car since it contains salt. Well, a few drops of highly diluted washing up liquid will only contain a minute amount of salt compared with the spray from the road which will contain huge amounts of salt residue from the winter salting.

Winter Screen Wash Recipe

Once there is a risk of low temperatures then you need to use a slightly different recipe for your home made screen wash…..

  • Use Clean Tap Water – Fill the screen wash reservoir nearly to the top with water
  • Add Vinegar – Just tip a tea spoon full of regular or spirit vinegar into the screen wash reservoir
  • Add a Few Drops of Dish Soap – Just a small squirt….too much and you will end up with froth everywhere
  • Add Meths – Tip a few tea spoons of Methylated Spirits into your mixture. You can also use Vodka if you live in an area where you can buy it really cheaply (eg Poland)

Most commercial winter grade screen wash contains alcohol based chemicals to reduce the freezing point so meths or vodka will do just the same job…the colder it is the more you need to add. This website will enable you to work out how much to add: How much Ethanol to add for freeze protection.  Cheaper screen wash will show acetic acid in the ingredients instead…this is our old friend vinegar which will also work but does not have such a low freezing point so you still run the risk of blocked jets.


Other Considerations:

Bacteria and algae can build up in the screen wash reservoir and this can have some serious consequences:

  • The Slime from Bacteria and Algae can block up your washer jets
  • The Dirty Water in the Reservoir may harbor the dangerous legionella bacterium

Commercial screen wash usually contains additives that will kill bacteria and algae. If you only ever use water as a screen wash then there is a risk of nasty stuff growing in the reservoir that may block the washer jets. Usually it is pretty easy to unclip the reservoir and wash it out thoroughly once a year or whenever the water smells bad. Research from the UK does indicate that there is a credible risk of contracting legionnaires’ disease from contaminated screen wash water. The disease is spread in water mists or droplets and can easily thrive in warm stagnant water…hence the risk. So the general advice is to use plenty of screen wash since this prevents it going stagnant and so also reduces the possibility of the jets getting blocked.

In the winter remember to flip up your wiper blades while you are parked in order to prevent them getting damaged by becoming frozen to the windshield……
Home Made Screen Wash - Frozen WindscreenHome Made Screen Wash - Prepare for Frost
If you leave your wipers like this in the winter then they can freeze onto the windscreen and you may damage them… they are costly to replace!Always remember to flip up the windscreen wipers if you leave your car outside while there is the risk of frost or snow, it takes just seconds!

Take a Frugal Tip from the Meany Goat and save a few bucks by making your own windshield washer fluid. Use plenty so that you drive safely with good clear visibility….regular use will help keep the jets clean as well! Screen wash alternatives really do work!

Here is a good visual guide showing exactly how to prepare your Home Made Screen Wash in bulk:

How to Make Windshield Washer Fluid

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