Dear Heloise: Last year, we had a new well put in, and now we have been having problems with HARD-WATER STAINS in sinks, toilets and the shower. Please advise on how I can remove the stains. Thanks. -- Sandra S. in Michigan

Hi, Sandra, and thanks for writing. If the “stains” are orange or look like rust, then they probably are from iron in the water. These will need to be treated with a commercial rust remover.

However, if the stains are from hard water, then just plain old white or apple-cider vinegar should work. You can heat it (not boiling) and pour it in a sink that has a stopper plugging the drain. Let it sit for an hour or so, then scrub. You can do the same with your toilet, pouring vinegar into the bowl, letting it sit, scrubbing and flushing.

For the shower, shower heads can be removed and soaked overnight in vinegar. Or tie a plastic bag over the shower head -- fill it with vinegar so that the shower head is completely submerged, and in the morning, scrub clean. For the rest of the shower and tub, just pour vinegar on the stains and scrub as you go. There are so many uses for vinegar! You’ll find these hints and more in my vinegar pamphlet. To receive a copy, please send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Most vinegars will last indefinitely, so be sure to stock up when they are on sale, and keep plenty in your home for all your cleaning needs! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I saw a letter asking about a lady using five dryer sheets at the laundromat (Heloise here: It was in a previous column that a reader had seen another woman do this). I save my used dryer sheets, and when I am out of sheets, I recycle the used ones, using several at a time. Maybe that was what she was doing. I read you every day as my mom read your mom. Thanks for all the good tips. -- Kathy L., via e-mail

Kathy, that could have been what she was doing. Of course, the makers of the sheets say to use them only once because the majority of the fabric softener has been used the first time. My take? Give it a try, and if it works for you, go for it! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I usually have a small container of yogurt at my desk for an afternoon snack, but I’m always cleaning up the specks of yogurt that come flying out of the container when I pull back the foil top. My computer monitor and keyboard get hit the worst.

But this solves it: Now I punch a tiny hole in the foil first with the tip of a pencil or ballpoint pen. That lets the pressure out safely, and no more mess! -- Loni C., San Antonio

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.

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