Dear Heloise: I buy the dishwasher detergent “packs” (worth the extra pennies) AND add approximately 2 cups of VINEGAR to the body of the dishwasher. This is cheaper and works better than the special rinsing agents in the stores. I use the regular wash and dry cycles, and I have nice-looking glasses again. The packs plus vinegar seem to do the trick! -- Becky, via e-mail
Becky, you have discovered why I love vinegar so much! Previously, I wrote about how phosphates have been taken out of detergents, but vinegar helps the new “packs” keep dishes clean! And it’s great for the environment! To learn more about vinegar, order my pamphlet Heloise’s Fantabulous Vinegar Hints and More by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. If you have burned food stuck on the bottom of a pot, soak in vinegar (full strength) for at least 30 minutes, then wash and rinse as normal. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: Check with your nearest art school or college that does pottery. Heavy-duty plastic bags can be used as flaps over wooden shelves to delay or slow the drying of wet pottery, storage for recycled clay, or as covers for large works-in-progress.
Also, dry-cleaning bags are “gold” to pottery classes. There are never enough! They are just the right weight to allow for slow drying of pottery.
Without plastic bags, a lot of pottery would turn into a hard mass before it was trimmed, decorated, stamped, carved or finished. -- Jennifer B., Alexandria, Va.
Dear Heloise: Is it safe to wash and reuse plastic storage bags? I have been doing this for years, washing and rinsing them in hot water and letting them air-dry. To my knowledge, this has never been a problem. However, I read in a newspaper medical column that this is unwise because it could lead to bacterial contamination.
It seems extremely wasteful to use a bag only one time. What do you suggest? -- Cindy D., via e-mail
It’s an interesting question. The answer is yes and no. You should not reuse bags that have held RAW meat, fish or poultry. Items COULD contaminate the next item, so don’t use them for food that may get contaminated. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: When our cat was declawed, the vet used shredded newspaper for her litter box. Since then, we’ve continued shredding newspapers for her litter box at home. We pay for the newspaper anyway, but it isn’t heavy like litter, and we are reusing the paper after it’s been read. -- Beth K., Mattoon, Ill.
This is a great way to reuse your newspapers. Just be aware that the newspaper print may come off onto a cat’s white or lighter-colored fur.
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