Dear Heloise: I enjoy reading your column in our (Warren, Ohio) Tribune Chronicle. A question came up after a friend had to REPLACE HER DISHWASHER.
She was advised not to use the new soap pods; the plastic wrappers could become trapped in the mechanisms. She now uses a gel-type liquid. What say you? -- Alice C., Warren, Ohio
Hey, Alice! Thanks for writing. Consumers have voiced concerns on this subject; here's what a leading detergent pod maker advises:
There may be a blockage in the dishwasher, which can prevent water from dissolving the pod, or
The pod may adhere to the wall of the dishwasher. This usually happens if your hands are wet when you put the pod in the dishwasher. Dry hands are a must.
A plumber we contacted advised: Clean the dishwasher once a month (the calcium in hard water can gum up the dishwasher). A commercial cleaner is fine, or use vinegar. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I read with interest a letter in your column on the scents in men's moisturizers. Why not just use unscented women's products, which are easy to find? I see nothing on the labels barring men from using them. -- M.B., via email
Dear Heloise: I read that adding baking soda to the rinse cycle of a load of towels can help them regain their fluffiness. How much should I use? -- Sara, via email
Sara, great question. Scratchy, musty towels are the worst. What's going on? Buildup, most likely, from too much detergent and poor rinsing.
Wash towels (just towels, nothing else) in HOT water using BAKING SODA instead of detergent. Follow detergent package directions for how much baking soda to use, perhaps a bit less. Rinse twice.
Baking soda is a cleaning champion -- I love it! Cheap, safe and readily available, I've used it for years. Would you like my best baking soda hints? I've compiled them in a handy pamphlet. Visit www.Heloise.com to order, or send a stamped (71 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. FYI: Using too much fabric softener or dryer sheets too often may decrease a towel's absorbency. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I love all your recipes and have collected them for years (just ordered your recipe pamphlets, too!). I've realized that there are many cherished family recipes that no one has written down, so I have made it a point to invite myself over to my mother's home, great aunts' and grandparents' to watch them make/bake/cook a family favorite. They love the attention, and it is a lovely way to stay in touch.
They never measure, so I'm sure to stop them (they usually laugh and say, "Why?") to measure ingredients myself, and write down the details. -- Nora M., Howell, N.J.
A great idea with the holiday season right around the corner! -- Heloise
SOAK IT UP
Dear Heloise: I keep a dry sponge in the refrigerator. It absorbs moisture, and can keep produce fresher a bit longer. -- Gemma E. in Pennsylvania