5 Easy Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid Recipes

I’m sure you’ve had those times when you sit in your car, turn the engine on as you’re about to go on an errand, and you realize your windshield is cluttered with dirt, smears, insects, or road salt. Big deal, you’ll just use your windshield washer fluid, and the day can finally begin. You pull the wiper switch, but nothing comes out of the sprayers. You realize you’re all out of washer fluid, and there’s no way you can drive with an obscured view. 

For the past 42 years of my career, this has happened more than a hundred times, usually at the worst moments when the stores are shut. That’s why I ditched store-bought windshield washer fluid and decided to make some of my own. Today, I will share five super easy DIY wiper fluid recipes for any weather condition that you can try making at home! Let’s get to work!

Advantages of DIY Windshield Wiper Fluid

I was surprised to find there are plenty of benefits to making your own windshield washer fluid. The first one is obvious – no running to the store and spending tons of money on expensive wiper fluid. During winter times, when salty road spray finds its way to your windshield, you can quickly burn through tons of wiper fluid. When you learn how to make your own, you can prepare enough to last the whole winter. 

Another obvious benefit to DIY windshield cleaner is the environmental impact. All recipes featured on this list are methanol-free and pose minimal to no threat to the environment and any animal life that may come across your concoction. If you follow my step-by-step guide, you can make your own inexpensive windshield fluid that isn’t bad for the environment. 

Homemade Windshield Wiper Fluid Tips and Tricks

Since you’ll be working with some chemicals, there are a few important things worth mentioning. Here are some rules, tricks, and warnings to note before we start:

  • Using water as wiper fluid may seem logical, but I suggest you scrap that idea. Water can freeze in winter, and it can cause smearing and even harbor bacteria.
  • If you’re mixing any sort of chemicals, always make sure you’re in a well-ventilated space.
  • Working with distilled water is the way to prevent limescale and mineral build-up inside the fluid reservoir, spray nozzle, and lines.
  • Always mix your concoctions in a clean container to avoid transferring dirt onto your windshield.
  • Stirring isn’t the best way to mix a solution. Shaking the container is! Just make sure it’s tightly sealed to avoid spillage.
  • Before pouring any homemade liquid solution, test it on your windshield so you’re sure it works. Dab a little on a cleaning cloth and rub the dirt from your windshield. Don’t limit yourself by cleaning your front windshield. You can use it on the side and rear windows of your automobile. 

Homemade Windshield Wiper Fluid Recipes

Now that we’ve got health and safety out of the way, we can finally get into the good stuff – my top 5 homemade windshield washer fluid recipes. You can add isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol to any of these solutions to prevent them from freezing overnight. You can upgrade this mix by adding 90 or 99% alcohol in extreme conditions. That way, you can be confident the content inside your wiper fluid container won’t freeze. 

Easy-Peasy Hot Weather Washer Fluid

Sometimes the most obvious solutions are the best – like this dish soap, glass cleaner, and water solution. Get it? All dumb jokes aside, this is an easy mix to make and perfect for the hot summer months. 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 part glass cleaner
  • 3 parts water (distilled if possible)
  • A few drops of liquid dish soap
  • Empty bottle or jug and funnel

What you need to do:

  1. Inside a clean bottle, pour ¾ (distilled) water. 
  2. Add 8 oz of commercial window cleaner to the mix. 
  3. Add a few tiny drops of liquid dish soap for a stronger cleaning solution (optional).
  4. Shake the bottle a couple of times gently to mix the solution. 
  5. Using (distilled) water, flush out the lines and washer fluid container from the previous liquid. Using a funnel, slowly pour your new concoction into the container. 

Moderate Temperature DIY Washer Fluid

Perfect for mild weather. This mix can be upgraded by adding alcohol if you’re nearing the cold months. It’s ideal for hay-fever months and does a great job against pollen. I wouldn’t recommend it for the hot months as vinegar can produce a strong odor when heated up from the hot temperatures. As a tip, try mixing the solution inside clean milk jugs or large water bottles. 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 part white wine vinegar (any other type may stain your windshield)
  • 3 parts water (distilled if possible)
  • Jug and funnel

What you need to do:

  1. Inside a clean water bottle or jug, pour 3 parts (distilled) water. 
  2. Add 1 part white wine vinegar. You can use a teacup to measure the parts. Shake or stir the container to mix the solution. Feel free to add more water or vinegar to modify the solution as needed.
  3. Repeat the cleaning step (Step 5 from the previous guide). Once the washer fluid container is clean, use a funnel to pour in your homemade washer fluid. 

Important: Any vinegar solution must be modified with isopropyl alcohol when the weather gets cold. 

Heavy Duty Homemade Window Washer Fluid

This is an effective mix for any weather if you’re looking to make homemade universal windshield washer fluid. It will still be effective during the winter as it won’t freeze. 

What you’ll need:

  • 1 tbsp dish soap
  • A gallon of (distilled) water 
  • ½ cup additive-free ammonia
  • Jug and funnel

What you need to do:

  1. Add one tablespoon of dish soap into a jug with a gallon of (distilled) water. You can always add more soap to your solution later if you feel 1 tablespoon isn’t enough. Just make sure to add it little by little. Otherwise, your solution may come out too thick. 
  2. Add ½ additive-free ammonia. Ammonia isn’t as strong as bleach but an excellent substitute for it. Remember never to use bleach as a replacement for wiper fluid or as part of your fluid mix. It is a dangerous mix when in contact with other chemicals and, in the best case, can corrode parts of your car!
  3. Pour into the clean and flushed-out wiper fluid container, test the solution and feel free to modify until you get your desired results. 

Paint Job-Friendly Windshield Wiper Fluid DIY

Are you looking to mix an effective de-icer? Using rubbing alcohol can be great for this purpose and a lot cheaper than washer fluid. This mix is excellent for all weather types, but I love it as it won’t damage your paint job. It uses castile soap, which is made of natural ingredients. Here’s how to make this windshield washer fluid:

What you’ll need:

  • Liquid castile soap (vegetable made soap free from animal fats synthetic ingredients)
  • 8 oz rubbing alcohol 
  • 1 gallon of (distilled) water 
  • Jug and funnel

What you need to do:

  1. Start by mixing the 8 ounces of rubbing alcohol with the gallon of water (preferably distilled). 
  2. Add a few drops of liquid castile soap. Stir the mixture and adjust the alcohol amount when the winter season hits. Remember to check the solution on your windshield with a cloth before pouring it inside your fluid container. 

Homemade Windshield Washer Fluid For Winter

If you’re planning to travel to the cold regions and you know you’ll be leaving your car in the cold, you’ll need washer fluid that you’re sure won’t freeze, especially if you live in areas with temperatures below 0 all year round. In the second case, buying washer fluid can get expensive. Bear in mind vinegar, and window cleaner solutions will freeze and may damage some nozzles and hoses. 

You’ll be happy to know most warm-weather windshield cleaner fluid can become effective in cold weather by adding rubbing alcohol. Alcohol freezes at a lower temperature than water, so it’s a common ingredient in anti-ice windshield washer liquid. 

What you’ll need:

  • 3 parts (distilled) water
  • 1 part white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup of rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol
  • Large jug and funnel

What you need to do:

  1. Pour the distilled water in a large jug until the vessel is about ¾ full. 
  2. Fill the jug with 1 part white wine vinegar. Make sure to leave some space for the rubbing alcohol.
  3. Add 1 cup of rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol and stir well. Test the liquid by cleaning a small part of your windshield.
  4. Next, before pouring into your washer fluid container, leave the mixture outside overnight in the cold weather. This is a sure way to check if your mixture is resistant to freezing temperatures. In case it does freeze, add more alcohol to the mix and test again the following evening.

Need more advice?

There are times when the washer fluid isn’t the problem – there’s plenty of it inside the container. That’s when you realize the windshield washer pump might be broken. If you think that might be the case, I have a great guide on windshield washer pump maintenance and troubleshooting, including ways of identifying the problem and some recommendations on pump replacements. 

In case you’re looking for the best commercially-sold windshield washer fluid, I’d love to give my take on the top brands. You can find the best windshield washer fluid, carefully selected by me, along with pros, cons, and a short but sweet guide on the different types you may come across.

Despite working on automobiles for all these years, there’s always something new to learn. Got any homemade windshield wiper fluid recipes that aren’t on this list? I’d love to hear them. Send me a question through the about section on this website!