Dear Heloise: I have a HARD-WATER RING inside my toilet. You had a solution in the Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press some time ago. Would you please reprint it? -- Donald in Michigan

This is an easy fix, Donald. Start breaking down the stain by pouring several cups of full-strength household vinegar into the bowl. After 10 minutes, scrub and flush.

If the stain lingers, drain the water from the bowl by force-flushing the toilet. To do this, fill a mop bucket a little more than halfway and steadily pour down the toilet, which will drain from the pressure of the water. Then put toilet paper over the stained area and soak it with vinegar. Let this sit, and scrub later. Vinegar is all-natural, environmentally friendly and, best of all, cheap! For more money-saving hints that use vinegar, order my Heloise’s Fantabulous Vinegar Hints and More pamphlet by sending $5 and a long, stamped (66 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Have hard-to-remove stains on bathroom fixtures? Cover with tissue, spray with vinegar and leave on for a bit before scrubbing off. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have read many hints in your column about security and car keys. When I know I am going somewhere that I will be using valet parking, I always grab my spare key. It is on a key chain by itself. When I get to the valet, I hand the person the spare key and keep my regular keys with me. This way, the valet only has access to the car and nothing else, like my home keys, etc. -- A Reader, via e-mail

Very smart, and I do the same thing. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Can you suggest anything to remove a scratch from a bathroom mirror, probably caused by wearing a ring while cleaning? -- Jamie, via e-mail

Jamie, I can try to help. Scratches can be hard to get rid of. It sounds like the scratch is on the surface. If it is a light scratch, you can try to buff it out with a compound, which can be found at a glass-supply store. Use the powdered form, put it on a damp cloth and rub in a circular motion. This can be tough and will take some elbow grease. Hopefully, this will help remove the scratch. And this is a good hint to remind other readers not to wear jewelry while cleaning. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Between your mom and my mom, I got a great education in “domestic engineering.” One hint that your mom wrote in one of her books, and that my mom gave me along the way, was while doing housework, pretend you are moving and the movers are charging by the pound. I found that it is the encouragement I needed. -- Linda T., North Port, Fla.

This is a good way to clean out a closet. Do one closet or drawer a week, and throw out junk and pass on good things to charity. -- Heloise

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

, King Features Syndicate