The cold weather is often followed by a period of snow as the temperatures drop to brutally low levels. For car owners, this often leads to a rather frustrating winter problem: frozen car doors.
The good news is that there is a solution you can use from an item you probably already have in your home – vinegar. Here is how to unfreeze car doors with vinegar.
Can You Use Vinegar to Unfreeze Car Doors?
Vinegar can be quite effective at unfreezing car doors during winter. Vinegar is rich in acetic acid, which helps prevent water from turning into ice by lowering its melting point.
So if you find your car doors frozen, applying a solution of vinegar can help to loosen the ice. Vinegar works quickly to melt ice (generally within 30 to 40 minutes) because of its high acidity.
How to Unfreeze Car Doors with Vinegar
If you have ever had to park your car out in the cold, then you probably know what it’s like to deal with frozen car doors.
While you can always wait for the sun to do its job and melt the ice away, chances are that will not be helpful late at night or early in the morning. Here are a few steps on how to unfreeze car doors with vinegar:
Mix 1 part of water with 1 part of white vinegar and stir well.
Pour the solution into a sprayer
Spray your vinegar solution on the frozen car door
NB: You can add more vinegar if the snow takes too much time to melt.
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How to Unfreeze Car Doors with Vinegar and Wood Ash
Using wood ash, white vinegar, and water, you can make an ice melt for your car that is also great for your plants.
- Scoop two cups of wood ash from your fireplace and mix it into a gallon of water. Leave the solution to stay overnight
- Clear out all the bits and pieces floating on the surface and transfer the mixture into a separate bucket. Do not discard the sediment that remains at the bottom.
- Stir two cups of white vinegar into the wood ash solution and transfer the mixture into a sprayer.
- Spray the white vinegar and wood ash mixture on your frozen car doors.
This solution can also be great at de-icing your walkways and sidewalks as it helps prevent snow from building up again.
Apart from Vinegar, What Other Solutions Can I Use to Unfreeze Car Doors?
If you don’t have vinegar at home, there are a few other DIY options you can use to unfreeze car doors. These include:
1. Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol has a freezing point of -20 degrees, which is much lower than that of water (0 degrees). Applying it on ice has the same effect as vinegar:
It lowers the melting point of water, causing the ice to defrost. You can also mix the rubbing alcohol with water and store it in a spray bottle for a more durable and portable solution.
To make your own DIY deicer, mix one part of water with two parts of rubbing alcohol (with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol) and stir in a few drops of dish soap.
Spray this simple solution on your frozen car doors to quickly soften the ice so that you can easily remove it with an ice scraper.
2. Epsom Salt
One of the most easily accessible products you can use to unfreeze car doors is Epsom salt.
This household product, which is made from magnesium, melts ice by lowering the freezing and melting points of water. You can also use your regular table salt or sugar in the place of Epsom salt.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda is a type of salt, and you can therefore use it to melt the ice on your car doors. Like salt, it works to melt ice by lowering its freezing point and subsequently accelerating the melting process.
Baking soda is also safer to use than calcium chloride (regular salt), which is more alkaline and can corrode surfaces such as concrete or bricks.
Fertilizer can be a great ice melt, and you don’t have to add any other ingredient. Simply spread the fertilizer over your frozen car doors.
Most fertilizers work on ice because they contain an ingredient known as ammonium sulfate, which helps to speed up the melting process.
However, it is not advisable to spread fertilizer on your driveway, as it can find its way into the sewers once it mixes with the melting ice.
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5. Beet Juice
Believe it or not, you can actually use beet juice to unfreeze your car doors when you mix it with water-based salt brine. Combine 80% salt brine with 20% beet juice and mix the solution well.
The beet juice helps further lower the freezing temperature of water in the salt brine, which, when poured over the ice on your car door, accelerates melting.
Be sure to rinse the solution off using soap and water to prevent staining.
Homemade Salt Solution for Unfreezing Car Doors
As mentioned earlier, salt is one of the most readily available household products you can use to unfreeze car doors. Here are some salt solutions to help you get started.
1. Rock Salt + Water Ice Melt
- Add rock salt crystals into a bucket of warm water
- Stir occasionally until the salt crystals completely dissolve into the water
- Pour the solution into a sprayer and spray over your frozen car doors
You can also add calcium chloride into the solution to prevent the buildup of ice again.
- Mix one part of calcium chloride in three parts of the rock salt solution and stir well until the calcium chloride is completely dissolves.
- Pour the solution into a sprayer and spray over your car doors before it starts snowing.
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FAQs on Unfreezing Car Doors
Can I use cat litter as a deicer?
Spreading kitty litter on an icy driveway or sidewalk can help provide traction and prevent slipping, but you cannot use it to melt ice.
Can I use WD40 as a deicer?
Using WD40 is a great way to keep your car doors from freezing shut. Just a dab of the liquid once or twice a week on your car locks is enough to keep them from freezing.
You can also use WD40 to unfreeze your car doors because it contains alcohol, whose freezing point is lower than that of water.
How can you prevent your car doors from freezing overnight?
1. Cover your side mirrors with plastic bags.
2. Park facing east
3. Use a shower curtain, cardboard, piece of carpet, or towel to create DIY a car frost cover
4. Make your own car ice melt with salt, alcohol, or vinegar and apply it on your car doors when anticipating snow
There is a wide range of commercial sprays in the market for dealing with frozen car doors and windows, but they can be costly. If you are looking for an easily available, homemade solution, vinegar is a great option.
A combination of this household product with water can help to not only melt the ice on your car, but to also prevent its reformation.
However, you should be careful when using vinegar on freshly painted cars, as it can remove the wax from the surface, and it tends to leave behind a stubborn stringent smell.