Dear Heloise:

How do I get those water spots off my stainless-steel sink and make it shine again? Help!

Brenda Perkins Washington

Brenda, we took your question to a couple of stainless-steel-sink manufacturers, and here is what they had to say: To keep water spotting (which could also be mineral deposits) from developing, wash and dry the sink after each use. Allowing water to sit on the steel causes these stubborn spots to develop.

And to keep your sink looking its best, here are some other suggestions:

Don't use abrasive cleaners, steel wool or scrubbing pads to clean the sink. If you rinse these cleaners off in the sink (oven cleaner is an example), be sure to rinse the sink out immediately after use.

Don't let metal items sit in the sink, because they could rust and damage it. Keep in mind that this includes metalware, skewers or even canning-jar rings.

If you use sink mats, they should be removed daily to prevent rusting and pitting of the sink.

When cleaning the sink, rub with the grain of the metal, not against it.

To disinfect the sink, wipe the sink with a solution of one part household bleach and one part water, then rinse well. Do not let the bleach set on the sink for a long period of time. To remove most stains and dirt, just use hot, soapy water -- this should do the trick.

Dear Heloise:

Earlier this year, my wife and I agreed to replace the carpet in our TV room. Eager to move ahead with the upgrade, we ordered carpet and arranged for installation.

On the happy day, I realized that removing the furniture for the carpet installers would necessitate disconnecting all of the components from the TV and reconnecting them when the installation was complete. I broke into a cold sweat when I looked at the dozens of cables snaking from one system to another in seemingly random order.

Problem: How do you remember how to hook up your entertainment-system components long after the manuals have been lost or discarded?

Solution: With a digital camera, photograph the back of each component individually and the system as a group, and use the photos as a guide for reconnection! I keep the pictures for future reference.

Scott Brown, via e-mail

Love it, love it, love it! Another use for a digital camera to solve a household dilemma.

(c)2004, King Features Syndicate