Best screenwash: no smear here

A clean windscreen means safer driving and we've found the best products to keep your windscreen spotless.

A clear windscreen

by Ryan Gilmore |

The cold season is hard work for a car. Not only do parts such as batteries need extra care, but slush, mud and ice are all waiting to clog up your windscreen.

That's why we all use screenwash. The challenge lies in using one that clears a windscreen without smearing any residual mud or insects across it. Wonder no more and see CAR's recommended screenwash products below.

Having windscreen wipers in sound condition is important too. Read our guide for more information.

Concentrated or ready mixed?

There isn't much difference between the performance of each option. Both will do exactly the same job. The difference is that a concentrated screenwash will require you to add water to dilute it and a ready-mixed one will not.

This means that a concentrated one is better value but isn't the best for topping up on the go unless you have a reliable water supply. On the other hand, ready-mixed screenwash take up more space. It really comes down to preference but we suggest going for concentrated.

What to look for in a good screenwash

When choosing a screenwash, your top priority should be temperature. In the winter months, you'll be needing a screenwash that can cope with the colder temperatures. Some can work at -20 degrees if you live somewhere where it gets really cold.

If possible, find a screenwash that contains Bitrex. This additive is the most bitter tasting thing imaginable and will make anything unpalatable and almost impossible to swallow should a child or animal try and drink some.

Regarding scent, there is no difference in cleaning ability between a citrus-scented screenwash or a berry one. The only difference will be to your nose and the colour of the fluid.

The best screenwash

Autoglym Ultimate Screenwash 500ml

Editoru2019s pick
Autoglym Ultimate Screenwash 500ml
Amazon

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A small bottle of highly concentrated screenwash is what we like because it's good value, it takes up little space on the garage shelf, and diluting takes very little time out of your day to achieve. This 500ml of concentrate makes eight litres of screenwash (1:16 dilution) and remains liquid down to -45u00b0C. Does it clear without a smear? Yes it does. The downside is that it doesn't contain Bitrex so use common sense and don't store it in your child's bedroom.

Prestone Concentrated Screenwash 5L

Best value
Prestone Concentrated Screenwash 5L
Amazon

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This solution is highly concentrated, with a dilution ratio of 1:9 in winter and 1:19 in summer. Therefore five litres will last you so long it may even see you out. Though unable to match Autoglym's -45, the Prestone screenwash will still work down to -23u00b0C. While it's the 'budget' option here it's still very effective.

Holts Concentrated Screen Wash 5L

Best for de-icing
Holts All Seasons Windscreen Screen Wash 5L
Amazon

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With a dilution ratio of 1:9 (in summer, dilute down to 1:1 in winter), this five-litre bottle of screenwash will still last a while. This is great for use in winter because in addition to removing muck, it also melts ice. Contains Bitrex. There's also a smaller one-litre volume available if you'd prefer.

Totally Essential Screenwash 500ml

A bit more eco
Totally Essential Screenwash 500ml
Amazon

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We're not talking radically eco but somewhat improved. Totally Essential's formula is biodegradable and doesn't contain toxic methanol or ethylene glycol. The container is made from recycled plastic. But it needs to be good too because it's a lot more than the other options. And it is. This is even more concentrated than the Autoglym screenwash and can make up to 20 litres of screenwash. It cleans well in a streak-free way. To help battle residue build-up, it also contains rain repellent.

Useful accessories:

Whitefurze 14cm Clear Plastic Funnel

Whitefurze 14cm Clear Plastic Funnel
Amazon

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Screenwash bottles are designed to make pouring easier but accidents can happen. A simple funnel like this will make topping up your screenwash a doddle.

Greased Lightning Crystal Clear 1L

Greased Lightning Crystal Clear Glass and Mirror Cleaner 1L
Amazon

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You might wish to consider a glass cleaner too. We've tested this stuff and it's great, not least because it comes in a volume about twice that of most competition.

Kent Microfibre Glass Cloth

Best glass cloth
Kent Microfibre Glass Cloth
Amazon

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Microfibre cloths are infinitely useful objects when it comes to cars. This one from Kent Car Care will prevent streaks and reduce drying time, perfect for when you've just washed your car's windscreen.

Read next:

Best ice scrapers: you asked, CAR answered

The best car cleaning products

The best attachments to get the most from your pressure washer

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