Bit the bullet and bought a car last year. Never thought I’d own a car, actually. They seemed like a lot of trouble in the winter, among other things. And though I chose one of the most fuel-efficient cars out there today, it still consumes a lot of nasty chemicals. Gasoline, motor oil, coolant, brake fluid — all necessary evils. But how about windshield washer fluid?
The store-bought stuff is freaky blue, green, red or yellow. I felt weird buying these, and thought there might be a better way. I heard about using vinegar to clean windows and sought out a recipe that was safe enough to put into my car. The trick is to dilute with water.
Makes 1 gallon
1/2 cup white vinegar
3 1/4 cup distilled water
1 teaspoon liquid dish detergent
Mix all ingredients well in a 1 gallon jug (~3.75 L). When you’re running on empty, add to your windshield washer fluid reservoir as normal.
Comment: If you’re concerned about a vinegary odour, relax. It only lasts for about a second and does not linger. If you must insist, you can add a few drops of your favourite essential oil, like orange or something. This solution will also unclog the spray nozzles of your car.
Obviously if you live in a place that has frosty winters, you’ll have to make sure to use up what’s in your reservoir by the time freezing point comes around. Keeping this in mind I don’t add the full gallon to my car all at once. Some DIY recipes use alcohol to avoid freezing but I hear the price of this ingredient is now on the expensive side, making the effort less than cost-effective.
Even though I can only use this recipe in the summertime, it halves the guilt of using conventional windshield washer fluid for the rest of the year. But if you’re lucky enough to live in an area where it’s mild all-year round, you should definitely give this a go at least once… and know I’m jealous of you.