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Old 04-02-2012, 00:57   #1
stormbind
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Windscreen Wiper Gunk

The gunk has been removed and bleach added, thanks to robdrinkswater.

I'm not 100% sure I understand the bacteria thing.

Daily Mail Reports.. very interestingly, that using plain-water as screen-wash risks causing fatal lung infections in drivers - shocking.

I have always used a cheap (but still proprietary) screenwash because I assume any screenwash is better than plain water. In theory a screenwash doesn't freeze as easily, doesn't leave limescale in small places, and cleans better. However, I use Rain-X to improve visibility (it's really useful in wet England) and so I thought I don't need a premium screenwash: Could I have been wrong?

According to Dailymail, every proprietary screenwash has bacteria-killing chemicals and has been killing bacteria. Despite that claim, the tubes in my 75 gradually gunked up with bacto-slime after adding proper screenwash. Humn... I don't know what the slime is:


1. The living bacteria? Unlikely because being stuck together would hinder their ability to feed, but not impossible I guess.

2. Bacteria poo? More likely. For example, I believe the plaque on teeth is the bacteria poo (not the bacteria itself), and it's the same with making cheese/beer/yoghurt/etc. (humans like waste)

3. Dead bacteria? Possibly. Could adding proprietary screenwash kill a whole colony of bacterias cultured over years by a previous owner?

4. Cheap screenwash? Was the brand I used last just a coloured water... humn... I'll post the brand-name later (it was a cheap impulse buy).


So before you all switch to using just-any-proprietary screenwash to save yourselves from an untimely painful death, is there something you can do to flush out the bacteria and stop them dying and turning to gunk?

Maybe bleach will incinerate their bacteria bodies... I don't know... it's interesting though

Last edited by stormbind; 04-02-2012 at 09:05.
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Old 04-02-2012, 08:49   #2
stormbind
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AutoGlym screenwash seems the best rated for winter.
It's 2.69 (+2.99 P&P) at http://www.roaduserdirect.co.uk

Einszett is a concentrate so costs less in postage.
It's 4.99 (+1.75 P&P) at http://compare.ebay.co.uk/like/25098...Types&var=sbar

Halfords don't seem to stock anything that is widely respected. What do you all use?

P.S. What's with the automatically added adverts on this site? It makes my post really hard to read *rant*

... I invented those automatically-adding adverts years ago when I was still learning JavaScript. I made it for a little bookstore in Scotland to automate some webmaster solutions. Then some evil-arse-thieving-American company copied it, claimed it as their patent (wtf?), and made a fortune ruining Internet-sites with links nobody wants. 100% true story. Rant over - sad moment for me

Last edited by stormbind; 04-02-2012 at 09:18.
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:20   #3
iggie
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According to the AA patrol man on the BBC news this morning (Helping the BBC to hype up the "Snow Event" expected later....), simple methylated spirits added to the washer bottle will stop it freezing, and keep it bacteria clean. Meths is cheap!!

The lung infection you are guarding against is Legionella by the way; untreated water in vehicle washer fluid bottles has been found to be an almost ideal breeding ground for the bug. Early symptoms are often mistaken for flu, the more serious symptoms can potentially be fatal, especially for the elderly (That's the 75 brigade), smokers (That's me!) and anyone suffering from a respiratory disease.......
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Old 04-02-2012, 09:52   #4
robdrinkwater
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It's well known that water is an ideal breeding ground for bacteria, washer bottle is no exception, indeed it's ideal as it gets nice & warm most of the time and allows the bacteria to grow.

It appears that the gloop that sticks to the filter in our washer bottles is a mixture of dead bacteria and their faeces.

In the olden days, before preparatory screenwash was common place people actually used to use bleach in their washer bottle as this did the purpose of acting like and anti freeze and also helped keep the water clean and bacteria free, so even back in the 50s the bacteria thing was understood.

It has probably become more of a problem as so many cars have washer bottles of 5 litres or more, old cars often had a bag that held maybe a litre or so, so if you're a low mileage user that water may be in your bottle for a year or more, breeding all those lovely bacteria.

I am fortunate, I always use screenwash additive anyway, always have, but I also do so many miles in all our cars and insist on a clean windscreen, so I go through screenwash like there's no tomorrow, expensive but worthwhile IMO. So I guess I am less likely to see the bacteria problem than a low mileage user who has just water sitting in the tank for ages.

It's only like 'Diesel Bug' which is a bacteris that live on the energy in the diesel, making the disel virttually useless over time & multiplying at an alarming rate. Only way to kill it is to have the tank out, and disinfected.

Regards, Rob.
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Old 04-02-2012, 11:11   #5
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The gunk is probably a biofilm. Bacteria, molds and algae live in and form this film. The biggest risk is from Legionella bacteria as has been said, but some molds can be nasty as well, and they can be the real pain to remove. Best not read the Daily Fail as a good source of anything though..

Most screen washes will kill them, but keep the concentration high. Bacteria can survive some fairly toxic environments, some can even eat petrol. Part of the problem is a move towards using ethanol based washes instead of methanol. Ethanol needs to be in a higher concentration to kill the bugs. The problem is methanol is toxic to us as well. Isopropanol is a good compromise, but a little bleach is a good idea, but id use thin bleach, not thick bleach, which also contains Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), which isnt great for rubber.
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Old 04-02-2012, 15:52   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rovex36 View Post
The gunk is probably a biofilm. Bacteria, molds and algae live in and form this film. The biggest risk is from Legionella bacteria as has been said, but some molds can be nasty as well, and they can be the real pain to remove. Best not read the Daily Fail as a good source of anything though..

Most screen washes will kill them, but keep the concentration high. Bacteria can survive some fairly toxic environments, some can even eat petrol. Part of the problem is a move towards using ethanol based washes instead of methanol. Ethanol needs to be in a higher concentration to kill the bugs. The problem is methanol is toxic to us as well. Isopropanol is a good compromise, but a little bleach is a good idea, but id use thin bleach, not thick bleach, which also contains Sodium hydroxide (caustic soda), which isnt great for rubber.
If you are going to use bleach leave it in your bottle overnight then disconnect your washer tubes at the jets and pump into another bottle then flush your bottle with a hose, you don't want bleach even thin,highly diluted on your paintwork Dave
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Old 04-02-2012, 16:11   #7
Rovex36
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Its fine on waxed paint, people put way to much in though, you only need maybe a teaspoon full in 3 or 4 litres. Its less harmful to your paint than the screenwash itself.
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Old 04-02-2012, 17:44   #8
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Originally Posted by Rovex36 View Post
Its fine on waxed paint, people put way to much in though, you only need maybe a teaspoon full in 3 or 4 litres. Its less harmful to your paint than the screenwash itself.
Please don't quote things like this as commercial bleach [Sodium Hypochlorite] varies from 2-15% active chlorine and I can assure you it could damage your paintwork. A 5% solution will eat through wood prior to dilution. I have spent the last 15 years working with this product and would not use it anywhere near my cars paint Dave
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Old 04-02-2012, 18:00   #9
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Thick or thin, all domestic bleaches contain sodium hydroxide to ensure the stability of the hypochlorite (bleach) solution. If you don't fancy using household bleach there's always hydrogen peroxide. This is probably more effective per spoonful than 'bleach' and only degrades to water.

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Old 05-02-2012, 12:37   #10
stormbind
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Originally Posted by Rovex36 View Post
Most screen washes will kill them, but keep the concentration high. Bacteria can survive some fairly toxic environments, some can even eat petrol.
The cheap stuff I was using was ready-mixed "AutoAce" from a 99p store. It's probably coloured water.

I'd rather use one that's recommended from now.

What's the side-effects with petrol-eating bacteria?
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:48   #11
Rovex36
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The petrol and diesel eating bacteria turn the fuel to a thick sludge. Its a strain of Pseudomonas usually. Its unlikely in a working vehicle but can happen im cars in scrap yards and ones hardly every used where the fuel doesnt get used.

I use Nomfest screenwash from eurocarparts and slug in a bit of methanol i get from work. Just lately ive noticed a lot of cheap screenwash appearing, most of it has hardly any anti-freeze protection at all and is most likely just water and a detergent, nothing more.
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