DIY tutorial: windshield washer fluid for your car



windshield washer fluid

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This time of year where I live is often referred to as the “mud season”. It runs from the closing of the ski resorts to the beginning of June and everything is very, very muddy. Including my car!

Needless to say I go through a fair amount of windshield washer fluid this time of year. Actually, come to think of it, I go through a fair amount of the stuff YEAR-ROUND.

Fortunately, the hubster (Dave) usually keeps me well-supplied with the blue stuff.

Unfortunately, he’s out of town this week and I completely ran out.

windshield washer fluid


I could have gone and bought a gallon easy enough…but in the name of DIY, I felt like I had to at least see if there was a “homemade” version I could try.

Little did I know how simple it was to make…and little did I know that commercial windshield washer fluid contains a nasty chemical called methanol, which the National Institute of Health lists as a poisonous alcohol that can cause significant damage even in small amounts.  Yikes.

windshield washer fluid

Here is an easy do-it-yourself recipe using basic household ingredients.


You will need:

  • 1 empty (clean) gallon jug
  • 1 gallon water 
  • 1 tablespoon dish soap (use whatever you have on hand. I used Dawn)
  • 1/2 cup non-sudsing ammonia  (Note: You can substitute vinegar for ammonia if you prefer)
  • A few drops of blue food coloring (this is optional but I think it’s a good idea because it serves as a reminder/warning of the contents)

Fill an empty gallon container with water. (This is a good way to repurpose 1 gallon plastic vinegar jugs, which I seem to go through a lot of!)

Add, dish soap, ammonia, and food coloring (optional). Recap the bottle and gently tip upside down a few times to mix ingredients. Pour into the windshield wiper fluid reservoir of your car.


windshield washer fluid

This mixture should work in most climates…but when the weather dips below freezing, add 1 cupisopropyl alcohol. If you’re concerned about whether your homemade mixture will freeze, leave it outside overnight (in cold weather) and check it in the morning. If it’s frozen or slushie, add additional alcohol.

Be sure to keep the mixture out of reach of animals and children.


windshield washer fluid


When I first considered trying this, I thought maybe this particular DIY idea was taking things a little too far. But I don’t think that way at all anymore!  This is actually an ideal DIY, even if it doesn’t save you any money (but most likely it WILL!)

It’s simple to make…..with common household ingredients…..AND it eliminates the use of methanol, which any way you look at it, is a good thing.