Why does my windscreen freeze on the inside? Causes, prevention and how to clear it

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We take a look at why the inside of car windows freeze, as well as unique hacks on how to clear and prevent it from happening again.

As the cold temperatures continue in the UK, drivers are waking up to find their car windows frozen over.

Frozen windscreens aren’t uncommon in the winter months and the current cold snap is enough to send drivers regularly reaching for the ice-scraper.

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However, it is not just the outside of the windows that can be affected as as the inside of car windows can also freeze, leading to drivers taking more time and effort to clear their cars.

Here we take a look at what causes the inside of car windows to freeze, as well as tips on how to clear it and prevention.

What causes a windscreen to freeze on the inside?

Ice forming on the inside of a windscreen is caused by exactly the same things that causes it on the outside of the glass - moisture and temperature. When the interior temperature of your car gets low enough any moisture in the air will condense and start to cling to surfaces, including the windscreen and windows. Once it makes contact with cold glass it will then begin to freeze.

Excess moisture inside a car is caused by a variety of things. It can be as simple as a wet coat, pair of shoes or umbrella left in the car overnight. Alternatively, a window accidentally left open could allow rain or snow to get in. Even having the heater up high just before parking can leave additional moisture in the air.

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More serious but sometimes harder to spot are problems with the car’s drainage or ventilation. Anything that lets water into the car or stops it draining properly can lead to the car being constantly damp and vulnerable to icy windows in winter and fogged-up windows in warmer weather. Look for signs such as wet floor mats or seats and check for any obvious signs of damaged door or window seals or blocked drain holes in the bottom of the door.

How to remove ice from inside a car window

If you come out to find the inside of your car windscreen iced over you should use the same methods to clear it as you would for the outside - heat and the right tools. Use your car’s heating system to aim hot air at the windscreen and an ice scraper (not a credit card or CD case) to gently scrape the ice clear. Make sure to lay a towel along the dashboard before you start to soak up the water, just try not to cover the air vents.

Removing ice from the inside of a car windscreen uses the same method as clearing the outside Removing ice from the inside of a car windscreen uses the same method as clearing the outside
Removing ice from the inside of a car windscreen uses the same method as clearing the outside | Yekatseryna - stock.adobe.com

How to stop a ice forming inside a car

The best way to stop your windscreen freezing on the inside is trying to remove as much moisture as you can from the car’s interior. If there’s an obvious source - be it wet clothes or dodgy door seals - fix that first.

If the cause is less obvious you can use special dehumidifier pads to suck moisture from the air. These reusable bags contain silica, are widely available and only cost a few pounds. A quick alternative is to place a tub with some salt, rice or cat litter in it in your car as these will all drawn moisture out of the air. Just make sure to replace it regularly.

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If you park in a garage, leaving a window open a crack can help damp air escape the car. You can also try treating the windscreen. First thoroughly clean and dry the glass - water particles cling to dirt. Then apply a thin film of shaving foam to the glass with a microfibre cloth before buffing the foam off to a streak-free finish. The detergent in the foam helps create a barrier so the moisture cannot stick to the glass.

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