Drivers warned of using vodka to clear frost and snow from windscreens or risk expensive car damage

Drivers warned of using vodka to clear frost and snow from windscreens or risk expensive car damage

WATCH: Drivers warned of incoming snow and ice

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 08/02/2024

- 05:00

'It’s an interesting idea…but one which we would NOT recommend

Drivers are being urged to avoid using a popular windscreen clearing method which involves alcohol and could lead to serious damage to their cars.

The Met Office has issued seven weather warnings for Thursday, February 8, with snow and ice expected to sweep across the nation.

Five yellow warnings and two amber warnings have been issued for snow, ice and rain covering parts of each country around the UK.

Further yellow warnings are in place for Friday and Saturday covering similar areas as Britons could see as much as 25cm of snowfall in some parts of the nation.

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A bottle of vodka and a frozen car windscreen

Drivers are being urged to avoid using vodka on their windscreens


At times when temperatures drop, drivers will often look for methods to help clear their windscreens which may save them time, money and effort.

One technique that has gone viral in recent weeks sees a driver getting a “cheap bottle of vodka” and pouring it over his windscreen, highlighting how alcohol cannot freeze, meaning they do not have to take action in the morning.

Graham Conway, managing director at Select Car Leasing, urged drivers to avoid using popular methods to clear windscreens of snow and frost, despite the popularity of videos showcasing them on TikTok.

He said: “One TikTokker swears by using cheap, neat vodka to prevent his windscreen from frosting over in the night, saving him the trouble of scraping the ice off in the morning.

“It’s an interesting idea…but one which we would NOT recommend.

“Vodka, which has a high alcohol content, could potentially corrode paint if left for prolonged periods of time.”

He highlighted how the car’s plastic may suffer as the alcohol can cause the material to harden and crack, in a process known as “crazing”.

The rubber and plastics around their windscreen and windows could develop small fissures, weakening the material and compromising the integrity of the crucial part of the vehicle.

The TikTok video also recommends that drivers put vodka in their screen wash bottles, which Conway also argues against as it could crack the key component of the vehicle.

Graham Conway highlighted how drivers should be cautious when clearing their windscreens with objects that are not suited for use on cars.

The expert also highlighted the cost differences between vodka, which can cost around £7.99, compared to a de-icer that costs £1.99 and can be used multiple times.

He added: “Once de-icer is applied, it is quick to react and you’ll be on your way in no time.


Man clearing windscreen frost

Some drivers could see as much as 25cm of snow this week


“I’d be concerned about the fire risk posed by vodka, too, with any alcohol at 50 per cent alcohol by volume (abv) and above considered flammable.

“Having a vehicle that potentially reeks of vodka is also problematic in the extreme. Should you have the misfortune to be pulled over by the police, you could face some serious questions about driving while under the influence, despite not having drunk the substance.

“So, overall, when it comes to this ‘hack’, the risks far outweigh the benefits.”

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