Is Water a Safer Alternative for Windshield Wiper Fluid?
Updated: Oct 2
Windshield wiper fluid and windshield wipers help clear out debris or gunk on a car’s windshield that may obstruct our line of vision while driving. It’s a legal requirement in the state of Texas to have some variant of windshield wiper fluid at all times to ensure safety among drivers. Although it is important to have windshield wiper fluid, it’s not mandatory to have the exact chemical mixture in your washer fluid reservoir; you must have a functional alternative that will be able to replace it. One of the most popular alternatives individuals swear by is using water, but just how safe is it for you and your vehicle?
The Dangers of Substituting Windshield Wiper Fluid for Water
Using water as a stand-in for windshield wiper fluid may seem like you’re saving a few extra dollars, but it could cost you a pretty penny during the colder months. We may live in South Texas, but that doesn’t mean we haven't experienced freezing temperatures in the river city. If the water freezes within your windshield fluid reservoir, it may cause the tubing to burst and lead to a heap of costly repairs.
If you are using water as an alternative, you may find it nearly impossible to clear the bird excrement, bug goo, or any other fun on-the-road surprises that are currently caked on your windshield. Plain water does not have the same cleaning power as the chemical compounds found in the windshield wiper fluid. Don’t make driving a hassle, purchase windshield wiper fluid to make your daily commute smooth sailing.
The most troubling danger of substituting windshield wiper fluid for water is the possibility of contracting Legionnaire’s Disease. This disease is a type of pneumonia caused by the Legionella bacteria that can cause fever, chills, shortness of breath, muscle aches, diarrhea, and the list goes on. Legionnaires develops from the Legionella bacteria developing in warm stagnant water and may be contracted by simply breathing it in. The survival rate from contracting the deadly disease is from 5-30%, depending on your overall health. It’s not worth your life, skip the health scare, and use windshield wiper fluid.
Why People Choose Water Over Windshield Wiper Fluid
Windshield wiper fluid can cost anywhere between $3-$80 depending on the quality and type of substances within the fluid. Fortunately, we lack the need for high-end anti-frost windshield wiper fluid due to the Texas heat, so thankfully your purchase should not be over $15. You may think you're doing your billfold a solid, but in reality, the negatives truly outweigh the $3 dollars you just saved.
Environmental Impact & Toxicity:
Windshield wiper fluid is a highly toxic compound with ethanol, methanol, isopropanol, ethylene glycol, and Butanone. This noxious matter is poisonous to humans, animals, and living vegetation. If accidentally consumed, it may cause an upset stomach, vomiting, then later feel or exhibit dizziness, sleepiness, confusion, and drunkness. If not adequately pumped out of your system or prompt treatment, you could suffer permanent blindness, coma, or death.
A Safer Alternative
There are safer and less toxic alternatives to windshield wiper fluid if you really wish to do without the poisonous mixture.
White vinegar: This natural substance will not freeze in cold conditions and is a known effective glass cleaner. Ensure that you dilute the vinegar in three-part water to safeguard the acidity won’t destroy your paint. Make sure to clear out the windshield wiper fluid reservoir frequently to avoid damaging the internal compounds.
Household Glass Cleaner: Although it may have unsafe components, it’s still less destructive than methanol. Make sure to split the ratio from 1 part cleaner to 3 part water to prevent damage to your tinting. (Only useful during warmer weather)
Soap-alcohol: Mix a gallon of water in a container with a cup of vodka or isopropyl alcohol. Shake the mixture, add a teaspoon of Castile soap or mild dish liquid soap, and shake again. If the weather is within freezing consider adding another cup of alcohol.
Need a Fix?
Whether it’s something as simple as an oil change, or as big as an engine replacement; trust in Seymours to help keep your car rolling on. Need your vehicle serviced? Request here or call (210) 341-1171 today.