Winter cleaning solution


This is going to be my first winter in the biz so I wanted everybody’s take on their winter cleaning solution.

I know I’ve read on other forums about winter windshield wiper fluid but what’s the complete mix?

Also, if you’re doing interior and exterior service on stores and restaurants do you use an exterior solution and an interior solution?


I use methyl hydrate. I find it doesn’t have the crappy soap that wwf has. In fact it has no soap so you can add your own. It also has a lower freezing point, which is very important in our climate.


I use WWF only because I can’t find small enough quantities of methanol (methyl hydrate). I can’t really store a 55 gallon drum at my present location so I’d like to get 5 or 10 gallons of it. My current solution for winter is my standard solution of 1/4 oz of GG4 to 1 gallon of water and I add as much WWF as needed depending on the temp.


So what is the complete mix?

Water qty?
Methyl hydrate qty?
Soap qty?


In Toronto at least, and likely in the States too, they sell methyl hydrate at home depot, in the paint section near the turpentine. Likely at any similar store it would be in the paint section. They come in 4 litre and 1 litre jugs.



Don’t sweat it, you’ll figure that out over time, it varies based on the windchill (yes for some strange reason windchill affects the water), sunlight (if the sun is shining on the windows it may not freeze), type of glass and so on. If it’s near zero you near very little and if it’s -30 windchill you’ll need a lot. If the water freezes on you, you’ll know you need more. So pour a small amount in your water, test it and if it freezes add more. Over time you’ll figure it out.

Also, always use cold water. If the water is warm the water will steam on the windows, the alcohol will evaporate and the water will freeze.

The methyl hydrate doesn’t affect your soap. So use the usual amount. You might need to add more soap in the winter to remove the salt dust on the window but you have to use your judgement.


One last question, If I use WWF (mikep you said it wasn’t a good soap) how will it interact with sunlight if I was to use both? I’ll probably experiment with both methods to see which works for me and what’s more cost effective.

Thanks again.


I would definitely not stop using sunlight if I were to use wwf. Even though there is a soap in the fluid you still need soap. I find you need just as much soap if not more when using wwf. There will be no adverse recation between the two soaps.

Another factor I find, is that you need more soap in the winter because the windows are dirtier than in the warmer months. To get the salt dust off the window, often you need some extra soap.


Mark, Mike>> i think WWF is just as good as the MH, but you have to be careful with adding too much soap, you’ll also find there are some wwf that are not as good as others, i once used the one with Teflon added and i hated it! This winter ill get a few jugs of methyl hydrate to try and compare it and the price savings if there are any. as for the mixture mark, mike was right when he said you’ll figure it out as you go along, if you do windows and it starts to slush up, add a bit more, also if you go in and out of stores and bring bucket with you, you 'll have to add more sooner or later as the alcohol evaporates. Mark you can email me any time you like with questions regarding this subject, i have cleaned windows in dead of winter for over 10 yrs , i dont measure or anything anymore, i just seem to know when to stop adding the wwf. lol



Chemical Safety Data: Methanol[/COLOR][/FONT][/B]

[FONT=Arial][SIZE=+1] [/SIZE][/FONT] [FONT=Arial][SIZE=+1]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1][COLOR=#0000ff]Common synonyms[/COLOR][/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1]Methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, meths[/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1][COLOR=#0000ff]Formula[/COLOR][/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1][COLOR=#0000ff]Physical properties[/COLOR][/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1]Form: colourless liquid with a characteristic smell
Stability: Stable, but very flammable
Melting point: -98 C
Boiling point: 64.7 C
Flash point: 11 C
Explosion limits 6% - 36%
Water solubility: miscible in all proportions
Specific gravity: 0.79 [/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1][COLOR=#0000ff]Principal hazards[/COLOR][/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1]*** Methanol is toxic. If ingested or inhaled it can cause a wide range of harmful effects, from sickness, heart and liver damage to reproductive harm, blindess or death.
*** Methanol is often a component in “bootleg” liquor (illegally brewed and distilled alcohol) and there have been numerous cases in the past in which the consumption of such a drink has been fatal.
*** Methanol is very flammable. The pure liquid catches fire easily and aqueous solutions containing a significant amount of methanol can also catch fire.
*** The flame above burning methanol is virtually invisible, so it is not always easy to tell whether a methanol flame is still alight.
*** The explosion limits for methanol (the lower and upper percentage limits of methanol in an air-methanol mixture giving a vapour that can explode) are unusually wide. [/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1][COLOR=#0000ff]Safe handling[/COLOR][/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1] Always wear safety glasses.
Remove any source of ignition from the working area. Don’t forget that a hot air gun, a hot plate or even a radiator may be sufficiently hot to ignite the vapour.
You should not breathe in the vapour, so use a fume cupboard if available. If this is not possible, ensure that the area in which you work is very well ventilated. [/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1][COLOR=#0000ff]Emergency[/COLOR][/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1][COLOR=#ff0000] Eye contact:[/COLOR][/SIZE] [SIZE=+1] Immediately flush the eye with plenty of water. Continue for several minutes and call for medical help.
[SIZE=+1][COLOR=#ff0000]Skin contact:[/COLOR][/SIZE][SIZE=+1] A person whose clothes are soaked in methanol will be at serious risk from fire, so immediately remove any contaminated clothing and store well away from a source of ignition (preferably outside). Wash exposed skin with soap and water. If the skin reddens or appears damaged, or if methanol may have been swallowed, call for medical aid.[/SIZE]
[SIZE=+1][COLOR=#ff0000]If swallowed:[/COLOR][/SIZE][SIZE=+1] Call for immediate medical help; if the quantity swallowed is significant urgent medical action is vital. [/SIZE] [/SIZE][/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1][COLOR=#0000ff]Disposal[/COLOR][/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1]Trace amounts of methanol can be flushed down a sink with a large quantity of water, unless local rules prohibit this. Larger amounts should be collected in a non-chlorinated waste solvent container for disposal. [/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1][COLOR=#0000ff]Protective equipment[/COLOR][/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT] [SIZE=+1] Safety glasses. If you need gloves, butyl rubber is a suitable material. [/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT][SIZE=+1][COLOR=#0000ff]Further information[/COLOR][/SIZE] [/LEFT]
[LEFT][SIZE=+1] Methanol
Chemicals in the HSci database
More extensive safety data [/SIZE][/LEFT]
[FONT=Arial][SIZE=+1][SIZE=-1]Link to the Oxford HSci web site [/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]


Yes like many products that we use as window cleaners. We must use caution. When using methyl hydrate you should wear gloves when handling it, and no dip your hands in the water alcohol mixture. You should use cold water to minimize the need of the product, and use it very sparingly. When you have it in a car, or somewhere else, make sure you have plenty of ventilation. Open the windows.

Like anything else caution is in order. Currently there are little alternatives. Isropyl alchol is very expensive, windshield washer fluid is basically methyl hydrate with water and bad soap, so there are similar hazards there as well.

I’ve become much more cautious since learning about the hazards of the product, and so should others who use both methyl alchol and windshield washer fluid.


[COLOR=Blue]We used to burn it in our race cars and I can tell you it is wicked stuff. Be careful.[/COLOR]


As w/ any chemical the less time your hands spend in contact w/ the stuff the better. Don’t think that just because you’re wearing waterproof gloves you’re protected. Always read and follow the MSDS recommendations.


I used to work with the stuff when I was in chemicals. Its a killer, don’t bother using it, or if you are - use full breathing apparatus.


We use isopropyl alcohol, metanol or washer fluid. The two alcohols require a MSDS sheet on hand like on sites where the container may be. They are also flamable and cause concern if container is being used on a rooftop of a comercial bldg. Also the alcohols are higher in cost and rising. Washer fluid does not require MSDS sheet can be purchased almost anywhere but the downside is the color can stain some white stucco or cement buildings.


I carry MSDS information for all chemicals (“required” or not) in a dedicated binder in both my vehicles.