It seems that windshield are in need of constant cleaning. Our cars go everywhere, and quickly too! Our windshields see a lot. Squashed bugs, crusty, dried bird poop, dirt and gravel are annoying and dangerous when they are plastered all over your windshield. They obstruct your view and can be downright damaging to your car, aesthetically and long-term if left to bake in the sun long enough. If you live in areas that receive snowfall, I’m sure you know all about the hazy film salt from the roads can leave on your windshield. Winter is the enemy.
What is the one thing that can sometimes make plastered bugs worse on the windshield? Using those windshield wipers with some crappy windshield wiper fluid! (Is that just water?) It smears the gunk all over, seriously impacting your vision at that point and you are left with a streaky, sticky mess that is impossible to see through.
In this article, I want to cover a number of different products I have tested and provide insight about the best windshield wiper fluid for the winter, summer and other times of the year.
Rain-X 2-in-1 All Season Windshield Wiper Fluid
HS Windshield Washer Fluid
Qwix Mix Biodegradable Windshield Washer Fluid
More often than not, you are forced to use the gas station squeegee just because your wipers just are not cutting it. It is time to minimize the frustration and time you spend cleaning your windshield because we have vetted out the best windshield wiper fluid for you.
Choosing the best windshield wiper fluid is an essential part of maintaining your vehicle. To ensure you get the best bang for your buck for a quality and affordable fluid, here’s a look at some of the top-rated brands.
Top Windshield Wiper Fluids
Depending on your car, location and needs, choosing a wiper fluid that best suits you can be tricky. It is important to use actual windshield wiper fluid in your car because water will not cut it! It is NEVER a good idea to use water. Water runs the risk of calcium deposits and poor cleaning performance. In cold climates, water will freeze and potentially damage the pump, lines and reservoir. In warm climates, plain water can build bacteria and mold.
Changing or adding windshield wiper fluid is simple. You can consult your owner’s manual to help you locate the location of the washer fluid reservoir. As long as there are not any specific instructions in the manual as to how to go about adding the fluid, it is simple. To add the fluid, you just pop the hood of your car, locate and open the windshield washer fluid cap (there will be a windshield washer symbol on it), pour in the fluid while using a funnel (only fill up to the fill line), and then close the cap. Using a funnel can be very helpful to avoid making a mess. Some of these windshield wiper fluids can stain clothes, so be careful.
1. Aqua charge Windshield Washer Ultra Concentrate
We are all about the biggest bang for your buck. This product produces 55 gallons of fluid because it is highly concentrated. Because you mix the fluid with water each time, the $20 price tag ends up being a few cents per gallon. After vetting reviews, it seems consumers were very pleased with the results, but the feedback warns that it is extremely important to use the correct amount when mixing the product with water for optimal performance.
2. Prestone AS658 Deluxe 3-in-1 Windshield Wiper Fluid
3. Rain-X 2-in-1 All Season Windshield Wiper Fluid
This product is another all-around fluid. Comparable with Prestone’s 3-in-1, this fluid also features a de-icer, a bug remover and incorporates water-beading technology to provide all-around coverage. What more could you ask for? Rain-X always gets good reviews and has happy customers. An all-around product can always be a good choice to opt for.
4. HS Windshield Washer Fluid
Simplicity meets efficiency with this product. This fluid freezes at 32 degrees F, but offers excellent streak-free cleaning for road grime, bugs, tree sap, bird droppings and more. For a more plain and straightforward product, this solution received great feedback. For the consumer who likes to stay easy and basic, this is a fantastic option.
5. Qwix Mix Biodegradable Windshield Washer Fluid
6. Kristall Klar Windshield Washer Fluid
One more concentrated product, this fluid is said to work wonders. This 8.5 oz bottle makes only 12 gallons of pristine windshield wiper fluid. However, this product stands out because it contains water softeners to avoid hard water mineral build up from clogging the spray jets on your car. It is 200 times more concentrated than the average windshield wiper fluid. The product also contains lubricants in its formula to prevent wiper skipping on your windshield. Those annoying noises of your wiper blades grinding on your windshield will be a thing of the past.
7. Splash Original Blue Windshield Wash
This formula comes in a few different variations of the same concentration for different climates. The variations include 32 degrees F and up, 22 degrees F and up, 0 degrees F and up, -20 degrees F and up and -25 degrees F and up. You have your options here! This fluid is fairly easy to use, as it is premixed and ready to go. While this product is basic and straightforward, you are able to add additives to provide an extra punch for bug removal or Rain-X.
8. Sonax Clean View Windshield Washer
This windshield wiper fluid is also concentrated. The 8.45 oz bottle yields 6 gallons of product. While this formula does a fantastic job removing bugs, grease and grime from your windshield, it is also useful on headlamps and is safe for use on XENON. In fact, this washer fluid cleans all glass! The bottle of the product has a built-in dosing chamber to make mixing easy and user friendly. Measuring out the exact amount of concentrated product to mix with water will be easy. The formula is said to be phosphate-free and has a fresh scent.
9. Prestone De-Icer Windshield Wiper Fluid
We already listed Prestone’s 3-in-1 wiper fluid, but this product is formulated specifically to remove and prevent ice and frost for extreme winter protection. This is your go-to option if you live in a very cold climate or struggle with an icy windshield. The formula even contains a silicone polymer dirt blocker to keep your windshield clean and streak-free for optimal driving visibility.
10. Prestone Bug Wash Windshield Wiper Fluid
Prestone also has a windshield washer formula to fight against bugs. So, if you do a lot of driving on highways or in areas where you collect bugs on your car, this may be the best option for you! This solution forms a barrier to prevent bugs, road grime and dirt from sticking to your windshield and blocking your visibility. More so, this product is said to have a “Power Cleaner” that removes 99.99 percent of ALL bugs. Perfect! Like most others, it is streak-free, so it will leave you with clarity! Lastly, this fluid contains water repellent.
11. Flo Tech Windshield Wiper Fluid
Flo Tech’s windshield wiper fluid is the most concentrated product we were able to locate on Amazon. This product yields between 80-100 gallons of windshield wiper fluid, making it one of the best cost-conscious products on the list. The product is advertised as biodegradable and does not contain any chlorinated solvents.
12. Rain-X Washer Fluid Additive
Rain-X is a pretty popular product. Having water hit your windshield, bead up and travel upwards off of your windshield is a bit of a luxury, which is why the Rain-X washer fluid additive makes the list. Although you need to add it to existing washer fluid, it gives any other fluid the extra boost of that water repelling feature many people seek. This formula is also said to help out in other departments. Essentially, Rain-X additive helps boost the removal power of road dirt, grease and grime. This product treats 4 gallons of mixed or premixed windshield wiper fluid of your choice.
Rain-X producers say that in tests conducted by a major university, superior visibility in inclement weather conditions improved driving response time up to a full second or more. At fast highway speeds, that’s comparable to almost four car lengths of extra stopping distance! Safety first.
12. Prestone Windshield De-Icer Aerosol
Although this is not a windshield washer fluid, it is an important product to be listed for those who live in cold climates. This spray-on aerosol is particularly useful because you literally spray it on your windshield and use the build in scraper to scrape off ice and frost. This makes scraping off snow and ice just a little bit easier! The product even prevents a dangerous refreeze. Many reviews of the product state that it has saved them many times and it is a great item to keep in your vehicle at all times in case of an emergency.
Performance is paramount when trying to find the windshield wiper fluid that best suits you, your vehicle and your needs. If you are reading this and have made it this far, there are a few features you are seeking out the most. Maybe you do a ton of highway driving and constantly have bugs plastered to your windshield and they get smeared by your wipers and baked in the sun? Maybe you live in the cold and winters are miserable with freezing temperatures and frost and ice? Maybe you’ve had enough with smearing, streaking and smudging? Here are a few things you need to consider before clicking add to cart and purchasing your new windshield wiper fluid.
First, how often are bugs on your windshield a problem for you? This is vital. Bugs are not only annoying and damaging to your vehicle after time, but they create visibility issues as well. Safety is priority. If pesky bugs are your main concern, you may want to opt for Prestone Bug Wash Windshield Washer Fluid for the bug barrier mechanism. Prestone’s 3-in-1 and Rain-X’s 2-in-1 formula also may be a good option as they offer bug-repellent as well.
Note: If you are just now switching over to a bug-friendly windshield wiper fluid and currently have a nasty buildup of bugs on your windshield, vinegar is said to be very helpful in removing the bugs and grime from your glass. Just be sure to NEVER put vinegar in the windshield wiper reservoir as it can damage it.
Ice and Frost Prevention
Do you practically live in the tundra and constantly fight a frozen windshield? To protect your car and windshield from damages and for your convenience, looking into a windshield wiper fluid that fights ice and frost in extreme temperatures is vital. If your windshield wiper fluid does freeze, this could damage the pump, lines and reservoir because of the expansion of the water, all costly and dangerous.
On a side note, if your windshield wiper fluid does happen to freeze, never use hot water to try and thaw it out. The hot water mixed with the cold water can actually crack and break your glass window.
If you need to invest in a winter-friendly windshield wiper fluid, either Prestone’s 3-in-1 or Rain-X’s 2-in1 is a superb option as they both offer other features as well. However, Prestone’s De-Icer windshield wiper fluid is specifically focused on battling winter’s nasty effects on your washer fluid and can leave you confident that it will not freeze. Also, do not forget that some of the other products discussed also have de-icer or have the option to add methanol for an anti-freeze feature.Prestone’s De-Icer Aerosol is a great extra product to keep in your car for extreme situations. With this can, you spray it on your windshield and use the built-in scraper to remove snow, ice or frost from your windshield.
Do you experience a lot of rainfall on the road? The amazing water beading feature of Rain-X and similar products are almost luxurious. Sometimes, in a light drizzle, using your wipers is not even necessary as the water glides off of your windshield so nicely. This feature makes a dramatic difference in rainy driving conditions and visibility. In a downpour, water repellent truly helps get that water out of your way faster. If this is the main feature you are seeking, take a second look at Prestone’s 3-in-1 formula or Rain-X’s 2-in-1 formula.
Keep in mind that Rain-X additive can be added to any washer fluid to enhance the performance.
Concentrated and Cost-Effective
The concentrated windshield wiper fluid we mentioned are all great options with some differences amongst them. What is great about purchasing a concentrated option is that they can be mixed with water to produce gallons and gallons of windshield washer fluid, saving you plenty of cash in the long run. Some of the concentrated options, such as Aquacharge Windshield Washer Ultra Concentrate require additives for non-freezing features but are great options for non-streaking. Flo Tech’s concentrated product can yield up to 100 gallons of windshield wiper fluid and is even biodegradable. Sonax Clean View Windshield Washer is great for use on all types of glass, even XENON headlights.
So, take some time to sort through the differences listed in each concentrated option provided.
Health and Environment Concerns
So, we learned earlier that in warmer climates, using plain water can breed bacteria, specifically Legionella bacterium, which causes Legionnaire’s’ Disease and pneumonia when you breathe it in off of the windshield. Sometimes, using only water can just create a terrible mold build up as well. However, using windshield wiper fluids doesn’t always have to be harshly toxic either. Products such as Flo Tech Windshield Wiper Fluid are biodegradable and non-chlorinated. Sonax Windshield Wiper Fluid is phosphate-free. Kristall Klar Windshield Wiper Fluid is ammonia-free. With these options, caring for your health and the environment is made a little easier.
Note: if you notice a strong chemical smell from any windshield wiper product, discontinue use and opt for a more environment and health friendly option.
When you are shopping for the best windshield wiper fluid, chances are that price is just as important to you as performance is. It seems that if you live in a warmer climate, a more general windshield wiper fluid is ideal for you. In colder climates, a more specific fluid is essential. Concentrated options offer a larger bang for your buck. You have a big decision to make.
Keep in mind that if your windshield wipers have been making an absolute mess of your windshield, despite a good windshield wiper fluid, it may be time for some newer or better wiper blades. Old or cheap wiper blades can be damaging and obstructive to your visibility.
Price is a big component in your decision. Remember that you truly do get what you pay for. More basic fluids may not perform as well as those specifically designed to meet a specific need. Paying a little extra for the best product will pay off in the long run.
With many options available, meeting your consumer needs for a clean windshield is easy. Safety is the main concern of any road trip!