Dear Heloise:

What is the best method to clean the grout between ceramic kitchen tiles? The house is older, and the grout is quite dirty and doesn't appear to have been cleaned in some time.

Albert Chulay

Colorado Springs

Grout can usually be cleaned with a commercial grout cleaner, which generally costs less than $10, and a little "elbow grease," or here's a Heloise solution to try:

Mix 3/4 cup of regular household chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of water. Wearing rubber gloves, old clothes and eye protection, work in a small area at a time, using a soft-bristled brush, and scrub the grout with this solution.

For stubborn stains, let the solution sit for a few minutes, then scrub, rinse and repeat if necessary.

Follow up by rinsing the grout area thoroughly with clean water and then move on to the next section.

FYI: Be careful not to splatter any of the solution on surrounding surfaces.

If cleaning the grout yourself does not help, you might want to regrout or call local tile companies to get quotes on having the tile regrouted and sealed.

Dear Heloise:

I must do my laundry in the apartment laundry room. Instead of carrying the heavy laundry- soap container each time I do laundry, I measure out the required amount of soap in eight-ounce plastic yogurt containers.

Once used, they are thrown away.

M. Joan Douglass

Columbus, Ohio

Those yogurt containers can be used more than once. In fact, as long as they hold up, use them!

Dear Heloise:

I purchased a plastic-bristle broom from a discount store to clean my shower and bathtub. This broom is used only for my shower or tub.

It is so easy, and you never have to get on your knees again! The broom is slanted and can easily get in the corners of your shower. The plastic bristles will not scratch your shower or tub. Just use your favorite bathroom cleaner and voila{grv}!

Paula, Jacksonville, Fla.

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