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Can You Use Water as Screenwash?

Can You Use Water as Screenwash?

You know that vision and clarity are non-negotiable when you get behind the wheel, which is where your windscreen cleaning system comes in. But we see a common, concerning question circulating: can you use water as screenwash?

While water might seem like a quick fix for a dirty windscreen, it falls short compared to specialized screenwash solutions. Compromising your safety and clarity on the road is not worth the risk, especially when affordable and effective screenwash options are readily available. 

At Jennychem, we understand the importance of clear vision for safe driving. Our screenwash solutions are an upgrade to ensure optimal performance of your windscreen cleaning system. 

Let's explore why settling for water isn't the best choice and how Jennychem’s screenwash can make all the difference. First, we need to explain the role of your windscreen cleaning system.

The Role of Your Windscreen Cleaning System

The windscreen cleaning system in your vehicle is a critical component that often gets overlooked until you're faced with a visibility challenge. 

Its primary role is to ensure clear sightlines for safe driving, but its importance extends far beyond just clearing off dirt or rain. Here’s a quick overview of the importance of a proper windscreen cleaning system:

  • Visibility Maintenance: The most obvious function of your windscreen cleaning system is maintaining visibility. Whether it's combating dust, bird droppings, tree sap, or sudden splashes from road puddles, the system helps keep your view unobstructed. Clear visibility is not just about comfort; it's a vital safety necessity, especially in challenging driving conditions like heavy rain, snow, or bright sun glare.
  • Protection of Windscreen: Regular cleaning helps prolong the life of your windscreen. Dirt and grime can cause micro-scratches over time, which can lead to more significant damage. The cleaning system works to prevent this gradual wear and tear.
  • Enhanced Driving Safety: A clean windscreen directly correlates with driving safety. Streaks, smears, or films can distort light and impair your ability to judge distances, spot hazards, or react to changing road conditions. The cleaning system, especially when paired with the right screenwash, ensures that such issues are promptly dealt with.
  • Adaptation to Weather Conditions: In different weather conditions, the demand on your windscreen cleaning system changes. During winter, it needs to handle road salt and grit. But in summer, it deals with insect splatter and pollen. A well-maintained system, using the right screenwash, can adapt to these varying conditions, providing consistent performance year-round.

You can learn more about the basics of a windscreen cleaning system in our blog, including how to fill screenwash and where does screenwash go. But let’s get to the question at hand - can you use water as screenwash?

Can You Use Water as Screenwash? 

Water may seem like a convenient and readily available substitute for screenwash, but using it comes with significant drawbacks, especially compared to the benefits of a specially formulated screenwash solution.

Problems With Using Just Water as Screenwash

There are 5 reasons we do not recommend using water as screenwash:

  • Freezing Point: Water freezes at 0°C, which is a common occurrence in the UK winter. Frozen water in the reservoir, lines, or jets can render the windscreen cleaning system useless and may even cause damage. This can lead to your screenwash becoming frozen and not working at all.
  • Ineffective Cleaning: Water alone struggles to cut through tougher grime, oil, and dead insects that can accumulate on windscreens. This leads to streaking and smearing, which can impair visibility and pose a safety risk.
  • Lack of Lubrication: Wiper blades rely on the lubrication provided by screenwash to glide smoothly. Water doesn’t provide this lubrication, which can lead to juddering wipers that wear quickly and leave streaks.
  • Risk of Scale Build-Up: Regular tap water can contain minerals that leave deposits or scale in the system over time. This build-up can clog the jets and reduce the effectiveness of the system. Most of the time when people complain about windscreen washer not working, this is why.
  • Bacterial Growth: Water can be a breeding ground for bacteria and mold, especially when left stagnant. This not only causes a foul smell but can also be a health hazard.

Benefits of Using a Specially Formulated Screenwash Solution

As you’ll see below, all these challenges are addressed by simply using a specially formulated screenwash solution like those we offer at Jennychem:

  • Lower Freezing Point: Screenwash solutions are formulated with anti-freeze properties, making them effective even in freezing temperatures. This prevents damage to the windscreen cleaning system and ensures functionality in cold weather.
  • Superior Cleaning Ability: Screenwash is specifically designed to cut through road grime, oil, and insect remains effectively, ensuring a streak-free and clear windscreen.
  • Protects and Lubricates Wiper Blades: Quality screenwash contains ingredients that lubricate the wiper blades, reducing wear and tear, and ensuring smooth operation.
  • Prevents Bacterial Growth: Screenwash solutions often include components that inhibit the growth of bacteria and mold, eliminating bad odors and potential health risks.
  • Environmentally Friendly Options: Many screenwash solutions, including those offered by Jennychem, are formulated to be eco-friendly, reducing the impact on the environment while still ensuring effective cleaning.

So, Can You Use Water as Screenwash?

So, can you put water in screenwash reservoirs instead? Sure - but you’re setting yourself up for disaster when you do so. 

The risks and drawbacks of using water as a screenwash significantly outweigh its convenience. In contrast, a specially formulated screenwash solution offers numerous benefits that ensure both the effectiveness of your windscreen cleaning system and your safety on the road.

That being said, if you’re in a pinch and just need to get your windscreen reservoir clear for a quick trip, yes - you can use water. Don’t look at it as a long-term solution though. Instead, rely on Jennychem’s lineup of simple, highly-effective screenwash.

Get Affordable, High-Quality Screenwash at Jennychem to Ensure Clarity on the Road!

You can achieve unparalleled clarity and safety on the road with Jennychem's high-quality screenwash solutions. We offer an array of solutions, including: 

  • Screenclean Super: This highly concentrated screen wash with antifreeze properties is perfect for any weather. Whether you’re dealing with summer's sticky bugs or winter’s relentless salt and grime, it’s your go-to solution. Offering protection down to -18 degrees Celsius, it’s not just effective but also economical and eco-friendly.
  • Ready-To-Use Screenwash -6 Degrees: Perfect for those who prefer a simpler approach. Designed for immediate use without the need for mixing, it ensures streak-free visibility at temperatures as low as -6 degrees. It’s the ideal choice for drivers who value convenience without compromising on quality.
  • Concentrated Extreme Winter Screenwash -28 Degrees: This is your ultimate defense when the weather turns exceptionally harsh. Capable of functioning efficiently in temperatures down to -28 degrees, it offers powerful de-icing action, ensuring your windscreen remains clear even in the coldest months.

Our products are designed with your needs in mind, offering easy-to-follow directions and versatility for every season. You won’t have to stress over how to dilute screenwash or how much screenwash to put in

Should you need advice on which screenwash is best for your situation, or assistance in using our products, our team is always ready to help. That being said, we’ll walk you through the basics os using our screenwash below!

Tips on Using Our Screenwash

Just as with our resources on how to use a salt spreader or how to use snow foam, we’re passionate about empowering you to make the most out of our products. So, we’ll cover the basics of using our screenwash below to ensure clarity everytime you get behind the wheel!

Proper Mixing Ratios for Different Temperatures

Each of our products come with different recommendations as far as how they should be diluted.

For example, our Ready-To-Use Screenwash is designed for convenience and doesn't require any mixing. It's pre-diluted to remain effective down to -6°C. That being said, here are some recommendations for the other solutions we offer:

  • Screenclean Super: This concentrated formula needs to be diluted before use. In mild conditions (above 0°C), a mix of 50% water to 50% screenwash is sufficient. For colder temperatures, especially close to -18°C, use it in a more concentrated form, such as 70% screenwash to 30% water.
  • Concentrated Extreme Winter Screenwash -28 Degrees: For extreme cold, minimize dilution. In temperatures nearing -28°C, use it neat or with a minimal amount of water to ensure the best de-icing and cleaning effectiveness.

Application and Refill Guidelines

The last thing you want is to be on the road with a clouded, streaky windscreen only to discover your reservoir is empty. So, regularly check the screenwash level in your vehicle, especially during winter months when usage is higher.

Always ensure your vehicle is on a level surface and cool if recently driven when refilling. Open the screenwash reservoir cap and fill it up to the indicated max line. Avoid overfilling to prevent spillage.

After refilling, test your windscreen washers to ensure the screenwash is flowing correctly. This is also a good time to adjust the washer jets if they're not hitting the windscreen effectively.

Storage and Safety Tips

Store your screenwash in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. Extreme temperatures can affect the composition and effectiveness of the screenwash. Screenwash should be stored securely, out of reach of children. 

Always use gloves when handling concentrated screenwash solutions to prevent skin irritation. If any product gets into your eyes, rinse immediately with plenty of water and seek medical advice.

Dispose of any unused or old screenwash responsibly. Do not pour it down the drain. Check with your local waste management services for proper disposal guidelines.


There you have it - all you need to know about using screenwash rather than water. At this point, the only thing left to do is get the best car screen wash at Jennychem! 

And remember - we are also your trusted source for the best car drying towel in the UK, best car freshener in the UK, best car snow foam, best tyre shine, best car wash bucket, and everything else you need to keep your vehicle in tip top condition!

Closing Thoughts on Can You Put Water in Screenwash

So, can you use water as screenwash? While it can be a temporary fix in a pinch, it falls short of the efficacy and safety provided by a quality screenwash, especially in diverse weather conditions. 

Using water alone risks freezing, reduced cleaning power, and potential damage to your vehicle’s windscreen system. For optimal clarity and safety, investing in a high-quality screenwash from Jennychem is essential. 

Our blog has more resources on maximising your vehicle maintenance routine. Learn about the differences between antifreeze vs coolant, how much AdBlue to add, best way to dry car, which engine coolant for my car, where to put antifreeze, snow foam vs car shampoo, and more.

Or, browse other essentials for vehicle maintenance - like our antifreeze for car, windscreen defroster, professional car interior cleaner, cleaning products for car, car snow foam, car wash soaps, Ad Blue for sale, de-icing salt, salt spreaders, etc.

Don't compromise on your road safety, choose Jennychem for the best screenwash solutions that ensure clear visibility in all driving conditions!

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