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Natural? Windshield Wiper Fluid

So this hasn't happened yet, but someday my car window washing fluid will run out

I use vinegar for a lot of indoor cleaning-- and it's good for windows

but will it somehow damage my car if I pour a gallon in where the usual cleaning fluid goes?

Logic would lead me to believe it would be just fine-- the vinegar is already in a plastic jug and it doesn't harm glass.

anybody do this themselves or hear about it somewhere?

Some googling turned up a recipe

-Distilled Water
-Isopropyl Alcohol (doesn't freeze till -20 F)
OPTION: RainX additive: $8/10oz (I have seen this for ~$5)

Mix: 1 gallon water, 8oz Alcohol, 2oz soap (+/- 2oz RainX).

Benefit? Normal fluids use Methanoyl = poison



( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 26th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
Wouldn't hurt your windshield, but your paint is another story.
Jun. 26th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
Valid Point Brought up
Another rumor is that vinegar poured onto a car can cause discoloration. This is not true. Unless the vinegar is very acidic and left on the car in the sun for a very time, it will not destroy car paint.

Read more: Best Way - Ways to Destroy Car Paint | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/way_5175848_ways-destroy-car-paint.html#ixzz0s00BeVVn

though I suppose they could be wrong
Jun. 26th, 2010 10:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Valid Point Brought up
Repeated use without washing it off promptly would certainly damage the clear coat if it maxes it through the wax. If you're one of those people that washes twice a week and waxes once a month, then probably no problem, but I think it would be problematic for people like me who wash twice a year and wax every four years. :)
Jun. 26th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Valid Point Brought up
Very true! I was by no means saying you were wrong-- that was only the first google link that showed up

I usually take my car through a car wash once a month due to frequent traveling and thick bug build up- a car wash is supposed to dispose of the run off properly as opposed to my home stuff soaking into the ground.
Jun. 26th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)
isn't wiper fluid made not to freeze in below zero temperatures? sounds like a bad idea to me and if it did freeze it could cause damage to your car.
Jun. 26th, 2010 10:04 pm (UTC)
A Truth!
A typical commercial vinegar with a 5% acetic acid content will have a freezing point of about -2 degrees Celsius (28 F).


hadn't even thought of that - well bummer. I guess there went that idea ^_^
Jun. 26th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
Re: A Truth!
I agree with the paint issues but my windshield cleaner definitely freezes.
Jun. 26th, 2010 10:22 pm (UTC)
Re: A Truth!

Do you live in a place where that will be a very big issue? I generally just use plain water for my wiper fluid and find that unless it is on some of the *really* cold days the heat from my engine is generally enough to keep my washer well from freezing. If you are in a place that is really cold, though, I'm not sure there are a lot of good natural methods. I read where some people have used detergents to help, and we all know there are various brands of detergent that are more earth-friendly than others. :)
Jun. 26th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
Re: A Truth!
The issue is also with applying washer fluid to the windshield in colder temperatures. Anti-freeze washer fluid won't freeze on contact with the windshield in cold temps and will actually help remove frost and ice. Washer fluid without that, however, will turn your windshield into solid ice if you use it in cold temps.
Jun. 26th, 2010 11:46 pm (UTC)
Re: A Truth!
When I still lived in Kansas, my windshield washer fluid would freeze-fraction itself in the middle of winter. The heat of my engine did nothing to help that.

Plain water? Not a chance.

There are places where I know people use plain water instead of washer fluid, but those places don't get very cold.
Jun. 27th, 2010 02:44 am (UTC)
Re: A Truth!
It's a very bad idea to use plain water in place of washer fluid.

Jun. 26th, 2010 10:16 pm (UTC)
Personally, I just use water. The ambient tempurature drops below freezing a handful of days here in winter, so I make sure to let the reservoir run low towards the winter to allow plenty of expansion room. When the windshield gets grimmy or covered in bug splatter (since no washer fluid will do a good job getting this stuff anyway), I grab a cloth and use what I use on my home windows to get it clean.

For everyday use, plain water works fine.
Jun. 26th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
My folks use diluted Simple Green to help with bug splatter and stuff, since Simple Green is non-toxic to the environment.
Jun. 26th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
Vinegar shouldn't hurt anything in the system that sprays your washer fluid. Saying what will or won't hurt the paint is harder, the way cars get painted has changed a lot, and changed several times, over the past twenty or so years, so what will hurt the finish on one car may not affect the finish on another. If you're worried about it, you could try a test patch somewhere that doesn't show, like the inside of your door frame.

If you use the recipe containing alcohol, you may want to bear in mind that you might start going through wiper blades like crazy. Rubber and alcohol don't usually play nice together, and it may cause the blades to crack and come apart.

The freezing thing - some wiper fluids freeze, some don't. It will say on the side of the bottle what the temperature rating is. Some are basically just water, ammonia, and blue dye, with some kind of surfactant or emulsifier thrown in. Others have anti-freeze and de-icing compounds in them. At any rate vinegar, water, whatever, will be fine in the summer months for sure. If it does end up freezing, probably the worst that could happen is that your fluid reservoir might crack, or one of the tubes running from the reservoir to the pump, or from the pump to the spray nozzles on your hood might start leaking. None of those things should be a difficult or expensive fix, if it happens.
Jun. 27th, 2010 02:09 am (UTC)
Or it sprays fine but freezes on contact with your windshield, resulting in a windshield you can no longer see through, which in turn could very well result in an accident. Anti-freeze in washer fluid is not there only to prevent damage to the washer dispensing system.
Jun. 28th, 2010 03:29 pm (UTC)
I'd be really wary of adding the dawn. That stuff foams, and that's something you definitely don't want your washer fluid to do.
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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