Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Clear the Ice Off Your Windshield SAFELY!


It’s the time of year when snowstorms turn to ice storms and lay down coats of ice over our windshields. Nothing is worse than hacking at a sheet of ice on a miserable morning in the middle of a nasty ice storm and trying to clear the ice so you can go to work. You can run your car with the heater on and after a while you can break loose the ice by hacking at it with an ice scraper.  Then there’s when you’re in a hurry and have to drive to work with a 12 inch hole in the ice in front of the driver’s side (see above) and the side windows down so you can hang your head out. Who needs it?

The easiest way to clear your windshield is by going out the night before and throwing a tarp over your windshields. Unfortunately, we don’t always get warnings of ice storms the night before. So next time you go out to get in your car and go to work, find the windows coated with ice here’s what you can do to safely remove the ice and get on to work without cracking your windshield.  And best of all it’s cheap and uses stuff you can find in your cleaning closet.

FYI - A hockey stick is NOT a good window scraper.

  • Cold water
  • 2 household sprayer bottles
  • High quality ice scraper
  • Warm gloves
  • Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol
  • Vinegar
  • Dishwashing Liquid


  1. Mix ½ cup rubbing alcohol with 4-5 drops of dishwashing detergent. Pout the solution into one of the sprayers and mark it.
  2. Mix 3 cups vinegar and 1 cup cold water
  3. Put on your warm clothes and gloves and grab your ice scraper and bottles of solution.
  4. Spray the ice over the windows and mirrors with the alcohol/dishwashing liquid solution and let it sit 5 minutes.
  5. The ice should lift off the glass. You may have to break it loose from the frame of the windshield or the metal edges around the mirrors with the ice scraper.
  6. If the ice is very thick, you may have to repeat spraying the ice with the alcohol/dishwashing liquid solution a time or two to get the ice to release.
  7. Once all the mirrors and windows are clear, spray with the vinegar/water solution to clear away the soapy residue and you’re done. Make sure and clear the entire window for you own safety and so you won’t get stopped by the cops.

This is NOT the fun way to remove ice. It's hard
on your hands and your windows.
You can also spray your windows the night before with the alcohol/dishwashing liquid solution to prevent ice from forming and sticking to your windows. You can also take the bottles along with you to work and spray the windows before you go in, in case another ice storm hits while you’re at work.  Of course a tarp is best way to keep ice off your windows if you have to park out of doors, but if you don’t want to fool with that, the spray on solution works too. Before you drive home spray with vinegar water and wipe the windows clear. 

Whatever you do, don’t use hot water on a frozen window of any other heat source for that matter. It can crack the glass, especially at very low temperatures. Salt on the car windows is also a terrible idea because of the danger of rusting and pitting metal car parts. Avoid hitting the ice because at low temperatures your car windows are easier to break.  

Especially don’t use antifreeze on your windows. It tastes sweet to animals and is highly poisonous. Spill some on the ground and you can accidentally kill your neighbor’s pets.


WBNT-10TV:  AAA Offers Advice for De-Icing Your Car

Dollar Stretcher: Homemade Window De-Icer

Reader’s Digest: 12 Ways to Use Rubbing Alcohol

Monday, February 06, 2017

Homemade Anchors - The Concrete Jug

Spring is approaching and fishing season looms.  Here's a quick and cheap anchor for your canoe, rowboat, Jon boat, skiff or other small craft to keep you from drifting while you're fishing.

  • Half gallon plastic jug - Use a bottle with as thick a plastic as possible. The plastic protects your boat's finish when you're pulling the anchor back on board. A squared milk jug works even better because the mouth tends to be larger and it won't roll around in the bottom of the boat.
  • Concrete mix with small aggregate.
  • Half inch x 6" plus eyebolt with nut 
  • Half inch nylon or polyethylene rope

  1. Mix concrete with water to make a thin but not watery mixture - about the consistency of oatmeal.  
  2. Pour the concrete mix into the plastic bottle and fill to the top
  3. Screw the nut on the bottom of the eyebolt and shove it into the mouth of the bottle so that the eye sticks out the top.
  4. Allow the concrete to set hard.
  5. Tie 50 feet of half inch rope to the bottle through the eyebolt or the handle. Use a bowline knot so it won't slip and so you will be able to untie it if you need to replace the rope or change the configuration of the rope in some way. 

This anchor is heavy, but it may drag. There are no tangs so if there's a breeze you may move a little bit as the jug drags over the bottom. It's usually easy to drag up at the end of the day for that reason, though. Because it's plastic, the anchor will last a long while. Eventually the plastic bottle may degrade and fall apart. Just peel off the old plastic an the anchor will still work. You'll probably want to cover it with something to keep it from scratching your boat.