To the editor:

When cold temperatures arrive, people who park outside find ice accumulated on their windshields. Most folks scrape and scrape to get rid of it.

There’s a much easier, quicker way to clear your windshield of ice. It has to do with the extraordinary properties of alcohol, specifically isopropyl alcohol.

The freezing point of isopropyl alcohol is far more than 100 degrees below zero. And, since it mixes readily with water, you can add it to your windshield squirter tank to make a solution that resists freezing at extreme temperatures. Squirting the mixture on your windshield will immediately melt the ice. The same mixture, used in a hand-held squirt bottle, will do the same and will clear frozen door locks as well.

The isopropyl won’t harm your paint nor the windshield seals. And, since alcohol is a mild solvent, the solution will actually clean your windshield too. The solution will evaporate away in seconds, especially on a moving car, even at extremely low temperatures.

I have a garage, but I use isopropyl in case I run into freezing rain or sleet that accumulates on my windshield. A friend of mine uses it above 70 percent pure and swears by it.

Isopropyl is pretty cheap. The store-bought windshield de-icers are nothing but an amount of alcohol, water and a dye to make the mix look nice. Many use methyl alcohol, called methanol, which is very toxic even with exposure in tiny amounts. When using alcohol, remember it’s flammable. 

Isopropyl is sold at all pharmacies including Walmart. They sell different purity mixes and the percentage of alcohol is on the label. I use about a 40 percent mixture. It works great at the lowest temperatures we could ever see here.

A note for those from warmer climates. Never pour hot water on your windshield to melt ice. The rapid expansion of the cold glass will shatter your windshield into a zillion pieces.