Windshield Washer Fluid $$$ - Page 3 - Fuelly Forums

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Old 02-14-2009, 05:11 AM   #21
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Ok, found more....
http://www.thriftyfun.com/tf883828.tip.html
Apparently high methanol prices are to blame for high washer fluid prices. Read the whole thread, there were lots of warnings about things to avoid when making your own. Here's a couple formulas:
Quote:
Post By Real Chemist (Guest Post) (02/09/2009)

I have determined the actual formula for a popular premium washer fluid:

% by Weight
35% Methanol (wood alcohol)
63% Water
2% Automotive Antifreeze(also colors the fluid)

I have used this for many years with excellent results. Good to at least -40F

The key is methanol; the heavier alcohols such as Isopropyl require much higher percentages to work.
(Have to use about 70% by weight for 90% Isopropyl to have the same effect...cost is too high)
Quote:
Post by 8307c4 (5) | (11/14/2007)

Here's how I used to do it, back in the days when Big Lots had 16oz bottles of 70% Isopropyl for a dollar...
Not sure if it's still profitable, the cost of the alcohol is the worst part, by the time it gets to $2 a bottle we're talking 50 cents just in this for mix.

Then it takes TIME, you know, time is not free, so the cost has to be at least 1/3 of what I'd pay at a store or I can just pick it up already made and save myself the hassle.

So then you need a BIG bottle of dish wash detergent, like Dawn but that's too expensive so get the cheapest brand you can find, Big Lots is good for this also thou the best I found was at Dollar General.
You need to calculate the cents per ounce, a good price is 4 cents per ounce or lower, so if it's a 24 ounce bottle it should cost no more than 96 cents.
Yes, cheapest soap, it will still work way better than you'd think.

Then you need some 1 gallon jugs, save your milk containers and anything else that fits 1 gallon, you want to make this stuff 4-6 or more gallons at a time or it's not profitable.

Then, teh formulae:
1 OZ of dish washing detergent
1/3 of a bottle of 70% isopropyl OR 1/4 bottle 90%
The rest water.
Yes, eyeballing is ok but watch it with the soap!

Works great, not sure how freeze resistant but it's way better than store bought washer fluid.
Have I used it?
LOL I been making it like that for 4 years now.
One person posted about diluting regular WWF with water. That wouldn't be good enough for me, but maybe I could dilute regular stuff with water and a little of any of the ingredients discussed in this thread.
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Old 02-14-2009, 06:07 AM   #22
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I can't seem to find the scented additives for the washer fluid that I used to. A couple friends of mine used to use them cuz it was a quick and easy way to get a spritz of scent in the car, all you had to do was set the ac to outside air.
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Old 02-14-2009, 09:49 AM   #23
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yea i just use regular dishawshing soap and water, doesnt take much soap either.
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Old 02-14-2009, 10:13 AM   #24
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Isn't Methanol just modified ethanol that makes it poisonous to drink . . . and of course ethanol is in short supply and very expensive to produce . . . or so we are led to believe. Sounds like it would be easier to pull the ethanol out of gasoline and make some ethanol free gas and washer fluid. There is car antifreeze in there too?? That sounds a little weird . . . propalene glycol? Maybe some RV antifreeze would be good since it is non-toxic. hummmmm
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Old 02-14-2009, 11:21 AM   #25
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No, methanol is alcohol made from wood. It's poisonous in pure form (let alone any additives).

Pulling ethanol out of gasoline sounds like far more work than it's worth. It would probably be a better idea to distill it from cheap wine, the kind that people give as a gift but never drink. Know anyone with a still? That, or if you're diluting it a lot anyway, just buy some grain alcohol at the liquor store.
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Old 02-14-2009, 01:37 PM   #26
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In either of those cases its going to be cheaper to buy washer fluid rather than distill cheap wine, or buy grain alcohol. For that matter, why not just buy some cherry schnapps and make washer fluid with that so you could get the "air freshener scent" as someone else mentioned in this thread.

-Jay
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:30 PM   #27
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That depends on the concentration you plan to use.

I was thinking about it...Yellow-bottle HEET gasoline anti-freeze is 99% methanol. Doesn't that stuff go for $1?

Does anyone have any good ideas for stuff that will lower the freezing point in very dilute concentrations? Most alcohol ideas suffer from cost issues as Jay describes above, and other stuff may need to be too concetrated to make good washer fluid; RV or radiator anti-freeze would probably cause lots of streaking at the necessary concentration.

Propylene glycol is good down to -76. Toluene is good down to -140 but may be bad for paint (isn't it sold as a paint thinner?). Ethanol, methanol, and propyl alcohol do better than that. Isopropyl alcohol 70% is good down to -26.7F, which might dilute cheaply enough.

OTOH, for all that effort and cost, I could just cut the blue stuff to 50% and add my own ingredients and it should survive down to 10 degrees well enough. It's $1.64 at WalMart.

I want to experiment with this now but we've got our nights forecasted mostly at 18 degrees F for the next few weeks...and I can't afford to replace a washer resevoir.

http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasc.../chem00924.htm has a lot of math/chemistry instruction on how to calculate the freezing point of a mixture.
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Old 02-14-2009, 05:22 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theholycow View Post
So that's just Simple Green 5% and water 95%, or was that Simple Green added to something else?
HolyCow,

The way I do it is to make up a small container ( around 2 litres) with 5% Simple Green and then the rest water.
This stays in the garage and I add to the washer bottle in the car as needed.

I have tried ammonia from the hardware store and it does work to remove road grime but the smell though the cabin vents is really eye watering.

The Simple Green is much easier from that point and it is just as effective on road grime.

Some alcohol might be needed where the temps in the Winter ware well below freezing.

Cheers , Pete.
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Old 02-15-2009, 12:18 PM   #29
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Walmart last night . . . $2.50 for the Rain-X washer fluid bought a bottle of that and the Blue Coral washer fluid was 1.64 a gallon.

Anyone using the 1lb fat short propane cans may want to check the weight - looks like they downsized that recently to less than a pound . . . nothing like running out an hour earlier from a shorted tank!
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Old 02-15-2009, 05:38 PM   #30
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My radiator and windshield washer have in common....distilled water. No minerals.

The washer is a 5:1 mix using Amway LOC Glass Cleaner.

For bugs and oily film...Costco Baby Wipes. It leaves a film, but the washer takes it right off.
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