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While your neighbors are racing to the nearest home improvement store in anticipation of the next winter storm, rest easy! You already have items in your home to get you and your car through it. Don't believe us, watch this:
We met up with John Burkhauser, auto expert at Bolt On Technology, for the scoop on how everyday items stashed in your pantry and medicine cabinet can help you weather the next storm. All of these hacks are expert-approved, and while some require a little foresight (keeping your eye on the forecast and prepping the car the night before) we can guarantee you'll be on your way in the morning much faster.
Use science, not muscle, to de-ice, scrape, pry open and de-fog in less time than you can say "bomb cyclone."
How to quickly de-ice a windshield
We all know what a pain it can be to scrape your windshield on a cold and frosty morning. We've resorted to credit cards, keys and even bare nails when a scraper goes unexpectedly missing.
Well, this trick might just change your mornings forever. The secret? Rubbing alcohol!
Mix ⅓ water and ⅔ isopropyl or rubbing alcohol together in a spray bottle. Spray the solution directly onto your front and back windshield and watch the ice melt instantly.
"Because alcohol has a very low freezing point, it causes the ice to break up and melt," explains Burkhauser. "This mixture will never freeze, so you can always keep it in your car for those cold mornings all season long."
When this method was first popularized in a video by WATE 6 weatherman Ken Weathers, some commenters expressed concern that the alcohol could ruin the paint on the car. Burkhauser assured TODAY Home that if you wash and/or wax your car when recommended by your manufacturer, you shouldn't have any issues with most things that come in contact with the paint's surface.
And while we're on the subject, never ever toss hot water on a windshield; you may actually cause the glass to shatter!
How to prevent ice from forming overnight
With a little foresight, you can avoid scraping all together! When there's a cold snap headed your way, head to your pantry for potatoes. Slice the spud in half and rub the cut end directly on the glass or windshield. The sugars from the potato keep water and ice from adhering, and there's science to back it up, too.
"Potato juice, a waste product of vodka distillation, has been used in the snowy mountain roads of Tennessee," says Burkhauser.
Keep slicing the potato to access it's juice as you work your way around the car. One potato should be enough to cover glass around the entire vehicle. It may leave a film, but it's easily cleaned with washer fluid and a few swipes of your wipers on your front and back windshield.
Some even use potato juice beet juice and pickle brine on the ground to avoid the chemicals in rock salt.
How to open a frozen lock
Can't get your key in the lock? Look through your bag for hand sanitizer. The alcohol content here also lowers the freezing point of water and melts the ice inside the lock. Apply a few drops onto the key and gently work the gel in.
Do this slowly, urges Burkhauser. "You'll want to slide the key in and out, then turn it side to side slowly to distribute the alcohol inside the lock."
Once the ice melts enough, you'll be able to open the lock without force at all. Patience is key, folks!
How to keep doors from sticking
"The reason your car door sticks is because water builds up on the rubber seal that sits up against the door," Burkhauser says. The stagnant water freezes overnight, but you can avoid this by lubing up the channel so that the water slides down the rubber.
Simply spray cooking oil on the rubber seal around the frame of your door before a particularly cold night, and wipe off any excess with a paper towel.
While you're at it, spray the oil on the blade of your shovel if you need to dig out, too. It'll help snow slide right off so the back-breaking work is slightly more manageable.
How to keep windshield from fogging
Car windows fog up when humidity condenses onto the glass, creating a hazardous nuance while you're driving. Keep your view crystal clear with shaving cream!
The detergents and soaps in the shaving cream create an invisible but protective barrier on the surface of the glass that keeps it from fogging up in the first place.
Spray shaving cream on a paper towel or rag and spread it directly onto the inside windshield. Allow it to sit for at least 1-2 minutes. Then, with a clean towel, begin buffing it off until the glass is clear and transparent.
This trick even works on foggy prescription glasses, sunglasses and bathroom mirrors!