Dear Heloise: Your response to Carole regarding her concerns about environmental issues prompted a question.

The trash company sent a notice that everything that goes in the recycle container must be clean (pizza boxes are unacceptable because of the grease). I use a bit of water to clean things before putting them in the recycling receptacle.

During extreme drought, what would be recommended: washing items for recycling, or saving water and throwing them in the trash?

I use the end of the dishwater when possible, or stick items in a free space when I run the dishwasher. It makes sense to rinse the item before the remnants of food or drink have dried. Thank you!

Nancy, via e-mail

Nancy: It can be a dilemma! Most recycle centers just want the can or carton to be reasonably clean, not a drippy, greasy, yucky mess. A quick rinse (or even wiping out with old newsprint or paper towels) is all that is needed.

For people in areas following water conservation and/or restrictions (as many of us are in Texas), it’s better for us to save water. One ingenious reader pulled the top off the toilet tank, dipped the cans in there and used that water to flush.

You have to do what’s right for your environment where you live.

P.S.: If you have other water-saving hints, please send them along!

Dear Readers: Karen in Camarillo, Calif., sent a picture of her 8-year-old mini-schnauzer, Emma, whom she adopted from the shelter. Karen says Emma seems a lot younger than 8!

To see Emma and our other Pet Pals, visit my Web site,, and click on “Pet of the Week.”

Dear Heloise: Kittens are naturally curious and will get into just about anything. Please keep the toilet-seat lid down at all times to avoid a tragedy.

My kitten fell into the toilet and couldn’t get out. Fortunately, I was home and heard him. He was wet, but none the worse for wear.

Carol B., Spokane, Wash.

Carol B.: Meow, wow! Glad little kitty was okay. Thanks for writing.

Dear Heloise: With five dogs, keeping my light carpet clean is a challenge. And when it’s rainy, snowy or muddy outside, forget it!

I was hurrying out the door, and the dogs scampered in from the back yard wet and muddy. Ugh! I had to go because I was running late. When I got home, the paw prints had dried. I took a stiff brush and gently loosened the paw prints. A thorough vacuuming, and the prints disappeared!

Lucia in Texas

Dear Heloise: My husband’s workshop has no plumbing, and therefore no running water for hand-washing. I fill an empty liquid laundry-detergent jug with water and place it next to a roll of paper towels. The spout allows easy access. It’s great for camping, too.

Judy C. in Paragould, Ark.

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

2015, King Features Syndicate