Hints From Heloise: Preventing a musty smell

Dear Heloise: We live in the Pacific Northwest (where it rains a lot) and leave our home for six months in the winter. We leave the heat set at 50 degrees while we’re gone. When we return, the house has a MUSTY SMELL that has invaded the bed linens, drapes and carpets. It takes weeks of cleaning, laundering and airing to get rid of the smell. Is there anything we can do to prevent this from happening? -- Cher in Washington

The blame might be on mold and mildew for that musty smell. But the real key is air circulation. If you have a close friend or family member whom you trust, have that person come by monthly to open up the house and get some air moving. There also are new thermostats that you can program to come on only an hour or so a day, which in your case would be worth the investment.

If you think mold or mildew might be the problem, try installing dehumidifiers with a timer, which will take water out of the air in your home. For more recommendations on handling mold and mildew, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s Web site at www.epa.gov. -- Heloise

Dear Heloise: Please remind everyone that when you take an appliance to be repaired, you should make sure you record the serial number first. I took my very expensive vacuum cleaner to a manufacturer-authorized repair facility and got the wrong one back. I can’t prove that it’s not mine, because I did not have the serial number written down, and the repairman did not record the serial number of the machine on the repair bill. Lesson learned. -- Bobbie, via e-mail

Thanks for sharing your story, and I’m sorry to hear about your vacuum! This is an important hint, though, for all — record the serial number, take a picture or mark an appliance in a way that ensures you get the right one returned to you. I say grab the red nail polish! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: When the kids are sick, especially during flu season, it isn’t always so easy to kick the lovable bundle of germs out of the bed just to wash the sheets. Instead, I now change the pillowcases daily until the kids are feeling well. This makes them feel slightly better, and I feel better knowing I am cleaning what I can until they are well and I can get all of the bedding cleaned. -- Ellen G. in Illinois


Dear Heloise: A reader suggested leaving the stove dome light on as a reminder that something is cooking. I use it as a reminder that something needs further attention, such as being placed in the refrigerator after it cools. -- D.L. in Nebraska


Dear Readers: When putting paper in the printer or copier, put a piece of colored paper (like purple) in between the last five to 10 pieces, and it will alert you that the paper is about to run out. -- Heloise

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com. Please include your city and state.

2012, King Features Syndicate



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