clean windows


Do you have a recipe for making an outdoor window cleaner? I love using Windex Outdoor Multi-Surface cleaner, which attaches to a hose, but I go through one bottle every time I clean my outside windows, which is very often here in Florida. I have some empty hose-attached bottles. I wondered whether there is are ingredients that I could mix for my own batch instead of buying the outdoor window cleaner. The product is not cheap (varies from $7.99 to $9.99 a bottle). Your help would be appreciated! -- Bonnie R., Florida


Here are two recipes for outdoor window washing.

2 cups rubbing alcohol (70 percent isopropyl)
1/2 cup ammonia
1 teaspoon dish detergent (liquid such as Dawn)
Top off with water until you have 1 gallon of window cleaner
Mix and pour into your bottles.

If your windows are thermal pane or have any type of insulated film, too much ammonia might discolor the windows and stripping. You might notice a lavender haze or cloudiness on the windows. I'm sure this isn't the case for all thermal windows. I would call the manufacturer for their suggestion. It happens with the thermal window inserts, tinted and films, too. Basically anything with an anti-reflective coating or rubber type sealing/stripping. If you have thermal windows, I would avoid the ammonia and use this recipe.

1/4 cup vinegar
1 teaspoon dish detergent (liquid such as Dawn)
Top off with 1 gallon water. Mix and pour into your bottles.

Use a scrubber and squeegee if windows are really dirty.


I have lots of beets in the garden. I have no desire to can this year with a wee little one crawling all around. Can I freeze beets? I never have and don't remember ever seeing them in the grocery stores. -- P.M, New York


Yes, you can freeze beets. Wash them with a vegetable brush and sort according to size. Leave the tap root but trim tops leaving an inch of stem. Cook in boiling water until tender (about half an hour). Drain water. Cool beets (in ice water makes it quicker), peel (remove stem and tap root) and cut into slices or quarters. Package, seal, label and freeze.


I'm trying to find washing soda. I wanted to give homemade laundry detergent a try, so today I went out and bought Zote and Borax, but I could not find the washing soda. They did have large boxes of Arm & Hammer baking soda, but I'm guessing that won't work as a substitute, correct? Do you know where to find this stuff? -- Roxy, Utah


Super washing soda is made by Arm & Hammer. It can usually be found in the laundry aisle of your grocery store. Check hardware stores such as Lowe's or Home Depot, discount department stores, drugstores or health-food stores. If your grocery store doesn't carry it, try asking the manager to order it. You can call Arm & Hammer's customer-service department and ask them for the closest retailer that sells it, or order it directly by calling (800) 524-1328. There are places online that sell it, such as Soaps Gone Buy ( Washing soda works well as a laundry-detergent booster, pre-treater and bathroom and kitchen cleaner (but not on fiberglass sinks, tubs or tile), too. So if you don't like your homemade laundry detergent, you'll have plenty of ways to use up any remaining washing soda.

photo by ga58big