Dropping Your Sun Visors Can Actually Help Defrost Your Windshield

Imagine: it’s a cold winter morning, and you’re late for work. You stumble out to your car with a coffee in one hand and your keys in the other. You manage to get the snow and ice scraped off your roof, thaw out your door handles, and start your car up–only to find your windshield completely frosted over. So you have no choice but to dial your defrost up to maximum and wait. What would you say if I told you that you do have a choice? By flipping your sun visors down, you can defrost your windshield faster.

Can dropping your sun visors help defrost your windshield faster?

According to Fox 4 News, if you point your sun visors straight down, you can create a pocket that traps some of the warm air coming out of your dashboard vents–and defrost your windshield faster.

Closeup of a blue car with its windshield covered in ice crystals.
Icy windshield | David Potter/Construction Photography/Avalon via Getty Images

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Why would this work? Because normally, the warm air coming out of your car heater dashboard defrost vents passes by your windshield once before floating along the roof and toward the back of your car. Back there, it doesn’t do much to help defrost your windshield.

Losing all of this warm air means you must heat the entire car before the windshield begins to defrost in earnest–and this is why it can take so many precious minutes when you’re late for work. But when you can keep even some of this air circulating against the top of your windshield, it will defrost faster.

Using your sun visors has a second benefit: Normally, your windshield defrosts from the bottom–by the dashboard vents–toward the top. If you begin driving before all the ice is gone, you’ll find yourself hunched over, squinting through a tiny hole at the bottom of your windshield.

Keeping warm air circulating at the top of your windshield helps its entire surface thaw evenly. This can help prevent the dangerous hunch and squint maneuver.

Can you defrost your windshield quickly?

One way to speed up defrosting your windshield is to keep a spray bottle with 1/3 water and 2/3 rubbing alcohol in your car. When you get in your car and find the windows frosted up, simply spritz them with the mixture in your spray bottle, crank the defrost, and watch the ice melt away.

The view of a snowy winter road through a partially defrosted car windshield.
Partially defrosted windshield | Michal Fludra/NurPhoto via Getty Images

According to the Family Handyman website, we have basic chemistry to thank for this life hack. Rubbing alcohol does not freeze until 128 degrees below zero. So when you spray this mixture onto your frosted-up windshield, it melts the layer of ice on the glass.

Can you prevent your windshield from frosting up?

One interesting life hack that may prevent your windshield from frosting up is filling a sock with kitty litter, tying off the top, and leaving it on your dashboard overnight.

Closeup of the ice crystals forming on the back window of a frost-covered car.
Ice crystals on a car window | Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

How could an oddly shaped beanbag fashioned from a sock and kitty litter keep your windshield from frosting up? Your windshield frosts over when the temperature in your car drops and the moisture in the air trapped in your cabin freezes to the coldest nearby surface–the glass.

Kitty litter is designed to soak up lots of moisture. A bunch of kitty litter in your car will actually pull the moisture out of the air before that water can become ice on your windshield.

So there you have it: You are not doomed to suffer from an iced-up windshield every morning this winter. You have several options to defrost your windshield quickly, or even prevent it from frosting completely.

Next, read more handy automotive life hacks you can use to maintain and repair your car or watch more winter-specific car tips in the video below:

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