Why Alaskans have dirty windows:

Today, I decided to be a good employee.

On my “to-do” list (which each housekeeper receives as she arrives in the morning) were the following three items:

1. Do laundry
2. Vacuum halls
3. Clean lobby

None of these are a big deal; I figured I would be done within a couple of hours. I started laundry, then tackled the lobby. While cleaning, I noticed that the windows around the front door had streaks on them. No big deal; a couple squirts of Windex and a few wipes with a paper towel later, they were clean. The door, though, predominately consists of window, and it was dirty, too. And it wasn’t just the inside that was dirty. The outside was pretty gross. Surmising that it would only take a minute or so to clean the glass, I decided against taking the rather long walk back to the maids’ room to get my coat. I slipped outside in my t-shirt, ready to clean. I sprayed Windex across the glass and went after it with the paper towel; after two wipes, though, I realized I was in trouble.

The Windex had frozen on the glass.

Things like this don’t happen in Alabama.

It distressed me.

I walked back inside and announced to Ali (the girl who works at the front desk) what had happened. She laughed (quite loudly) at me. However, she is from much farther south as well, and having only moved to Glennallen this summer, she had no clue how to fix it.

I figured I could wipe it off with SOMETHING. I marched back to the maids’ room and checked out my options. The only things back there were cleaning supplies, and I didn’t have any reason to think that one of them would hold up to the cold better than Windex.

Water? Water freezes, but maybe, somehow, miraculously, it could work.

I used a wet rag on the window… it definitely worked to wipe the Windex off, but yes, then IT froze onto the window.

The door was a mess. It was a cloudy, grungy looking nasty mess. (This is the part where I caved and went to get my coat).

After a few minutes of experimentation, I figured out a solution. All I had to do was scrub a section of the glass with a wet rag, and then IMMEDIATELY follow it with a paper towel, drying the water off before it could freeze. It was perfect!

Ten minutes of scrubbing later, I had cleared off about the size of my fist. I might have been determined to clean the glass, but I was not willing to die for it. I gave up on that.

What I needed was something to SCRAPE the ice off the window with. The obvious answer was an ice scraper, which you can find in ANY given car in Alaska. The problem was that only one person that was working today HAD a car at the hotel with them, and she had left to run errands.

Remembering something that I had often done in Kentucky (before an ice scraper showed up in my stocking at Christmas), I dug a Subway gift card out of my purse (thanks, Mom!) and set to work scrubbing at the ice.

The card idea worked great in Kentucky… but in Kentucky it was never 7 degrees outside. My hands got so cold after the first minute of scraping that I had to forfeit THAT battle, too.

Fortunately, soon afterwards the car showed up, and I was able to borrow an ice scraper (and some gloves). It took about fifteen minutes… and a lot of scraping… but when I was done, that glass was CLEAN!

Do they make winter-proof Windex??



  1. Yes – alcohol has a lower freezing point than water – if you can get your hands on some! If not the rubbing kind – well vodka would probably work, but that’s awfully expensive glass cleaner. Probably need the kind that goes in your car! I bet you can easily find all that stuff in Glenallen!

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