Dear Heloise: The store-bought product for cleaning HIGH-EFFICIENCY WASHING MACHINES, due to odor, is quite expensive and needs to be used regularly. Is there a less-expensive way to accomplish this? -- Carol in Royal Palm Beach, Fla.

Yes, there is! Many readers complain about the odor that high-efficiency washers tend to have. You would think that a new appliance would have all the kinks worked out. But it seems not so with these washers.

These cleaners cost around $10, and depending how often you have to use them, it can really add up. But here are some hints to help prevent that gross smell in the first place.

The smell usually is coming from the gasket around the washer’s door. When you wash clothes, the door must be airtight. Water can remain inside the gasket, and since there is no fresh air, the machine smells like mildew, So, to keep this from happening, prop the door open when done with laundry so the water can evaporate. Also, use a cloth to wipe out the water left in the gasket.

Some machines have a “clean washer/refresh” cycle feature that should correct the problem as well.

Another thing to try is vinegar. Dip a paper towel in vinegar and wipe the gasket a couple of times. The vinegar won’t harm the gasket. Let it dry, and prop the door open. Vinegar is a staple that every household should have on the pantry shelf. Its uses are practically endless. I have put together a pamphlet that includes many uses for vinegar around the house. This will save you money, because you can use vinegar instead of other costly cleaners. To get the pamphlet, just send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Vinegar also is a good deodorizer. Use it to deodorize the microwave, refrigerator shelves, lunchbox and even sponges. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Carol Star, via e-mail, sent in a photo of her dog Bella, who likes lying in the garden in the middle of the Swiss chard. To see the photo of Bella in the garden, visit and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I am always finding new recipes on the Internet. Most recipes print out large and on several pages. I bring up the recipe, highlight, copy and paste to my word-processing program. I edit the recipe to my own fonts and size, and remove the extra wording and information I don’t need. I make the recipes as small or as large as needed so that they will fit into my recipe file or cookbook. -- Judy Marik, Mantua, Ohio


Dear Heloise: I’ve discovered that the perforated tops of tissue boxes make wonderful bookmarks. I read your column every day and enjoy it very much. -- Alice Cox, Washougal, Wash.

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

, King Features Syndicate