Dear Reena: I am wondering what the secret is to really clean, shiny windows without any streaks? My home has a lot of windows and I have used vinegar and water to clean them, wet newspapers and commercial glass cleaner. They all do a great job of getting rid of dirt and bug marks etc., but no matter what kind of cloth or paper towel I use for the final wipe, the windows are quite streaky.
Dear Val: Purchase a good quality squeegee, a wet mop and a window scraper. Here is a window cleaner recipe: In a four-litre spray bottle, mi 1 cup rubbing alcohol and 1 tsp cheap shampoo.
Fill to the top with water. Spray windows and scrub with a wet window mop. Use a scraper to remove any dried-on bugs and leaves.
Avoid cleaning windows when the sun shines directly on them. The sun will dry the windows too quickly, which will result in streaks.
Clean the water off of the glass with a squeegee. Wipe the edges of the squeegee after removing water. Dry windows with either a good quality microfibre cloth or old, dry newspaper. Crumple it up and rub the windows
until they're dry.
For extra shine, put cornstarch in a bucket with water. Wipe windows and dry with a microfibre cloth or newspaper.
Dear Reena: I have asthma and am trying to make household cleaners out of products that do not have perfume. I recently made laundry detergent that seems to be very successful. I used washing soda, borax and soap granules, but left out essential oils.
I also made dish detergent (not dishwasher detergent) with much less success. I found the ingredients were highly perfumed, causing pulmonary problems.
These ingredients were: shredded Sunlight bar soap, Castile baby soap (not perfume free), Arm and Hammer Washing Soda and vinegar. I am looking for non-perfumed products to make dish detergent but am not having any luck finding them in the retail stores. Can you help me with this problem? I also found the recipe I used did not make suds and looking at a dishpan full of murky water is not pleasant.
I did find Kirk's bar soap online but the cost is prohibitive.
Dear Donna: No need to ever purchase dish soap again. This solution is not only easy, it is also very economical.
Take slivers left over from your favourite scented or unscented soap bars (Sunlight laundry bar soap will not work) and let them sit overnight in a jar of water.
Shake the contents and pour a few tablespoons of it into your dish water. As the jar sits over the next few days and the contents thicken, add enough extra water to make the solution easy to pour.
Lots of bubbles and great cleaning power!
Dear Reena: A friend has a new dryer and it has a sticky substance inside the drum of the dryer. How should she proceed to remove this sticky substance?
Dear Sandy: A very simple remedy is to dampen a dryer sheet and use it to wipe the inside of the drum.
If you are opposed to dryer sheets; clean the drum with rubbing alcohol.
If the mess is extremely gooey, wipe with peanut butter, then clean with soapy water.
But there shouldn't be any goo in a new dryer. Did she phone customer service at the store?
Dear Reena: What kind of flower is Dianthus, I have seen it listed as a perennial and as a hardy annual?
Dear Megan: The Dianthus genus includes carnations and sweet william. A sweet william might be an annual while a mini-carnation might be a perennial.
And how the plants behave depends on the climate where you live. A plant that is perennial in a mild climate might be an annual in a place with harsh winters. So you need to identify exactly which Dianthus you want to plant and where you want to plant it.
Ask for advice at a reliable garden centre.
Dear Reena: I am making homemade perogies and as I boil them, they open. What am I doing wrong?
Dear Anthony: One common cause of perogie explosions is that the dough is stretched excessively after filling perogies. If the dough is forced to stretch beyond its limits, it will pop open when heated. Overstuffed perogies are sure to burst open when boiling. Fill them as much as possible while still being able to seal edges easily, and take the time to seal edges well.
Boil water and remove perogies as soon as they float to the surface, about seven minutes.
Extra Tip: To freeze perogies, flour them and lay them flat onto a cookie sheet with wax paper. Once frozen, drop them into sealable bags or freezable containers.
Dab vinegar on mosquito bites and bee stings. As well, a warm cloth dipped in vinegar, rubbed lightly over sunburns will soothe the pain.
Undiluted vinegar makes a great spray for anthills.
It's delicious with chicken strips or nuggets. Into a small bowl combine: 3/4 cup mayonnaise, 3 Tbsp honey, 2 Tbsp mustard, 1/4 tsp dill (optional) and 1 Tbsp lemon juice. Stir well and serve.
Check Reena's new website - reena.ca - to send tips and questions, to find missed columns or mislaid solutions, or to engage Reena to speak at an upcoming event.