Dear Heloise:I know you're a big fan of vinegar, but is it safe to clean my toilet? I have a septic system.
—Glenna in IndianaWpGet the full experience.Choose your planArrowRight
Glenna in Indiana:Glenna, absolutely! Vinegar is safe and milder than caustic cleaners designed for the toilet, and those commercial cleaning agents can eat away the good bacteria in your septic system.
To safely and inexpensively clean your toilet bowls, pour a generous glug of vinegar, followed by a heavy sprinkling of baking soda, into the bowl. While the mixture is bubbling up, scrub the bowl (get under the rim, too). Let it soak for 30 minutes and flush. That’s it. Just another reason to keep lots of vinegar at home for cleaning many, many surfaces! For a list of vinegar uses including cleaning, cooking and even beauty hints, order my six-page vinegar pamphlet by visiting Heloise.com, or by sending a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope together with $5 to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. For really stubborn toilet bowl stains, use undiluted vinegar directly on the stain and scrub with a brush.AdvertisementStory continues below advertisement
Dear Heloise:Each of my bathrooms has three wall switches: one for the lights, one for the exhaust fan and one for the heater.
To aid guests, I color coded two of the switches. Using a dab of nail polish on the switch handle, I marked the fan switch blue and the heater switch red. Now there's no confusion.
— Tom C., Richardson, Tex.
Dear Heloise:Here's a hint for artists. For an easy palette cleanup, I use a medium-size, white plastic cutting board with a handle at one end as a paint palette.
I slide a gallon-size zipper-top bag over the cutting board and distribute the paints on the bag. When I take a break from painting, I cover the paints with a sheet of plastic wrap. This will keep the paints from drying out for a few hours, sometimes even a few days, until I can get back to that painting.AdvertisementStory continues below advertisement
When I'm finished with that palette, I slide the plastic bag off into the trash. No more palette scraping!
— Bobbie M., via email
Dear Heloise:Want to give your hair a boost, that is to say, a bit more volume? It's easy. Simply change the part in your hair. Combing the hair to the other side can lift up those roots. Also, hair that is one-day dirty seems to style more easily.
— Veronica in Alabama
Dear Heloise:A used dryer sheet makes a good scrubber for the sink and countertops. It has a "nubby" texture that cleans well but doesn't scratch.
— Helen in Georgia
Helen in Georgia:This is a great idea! Used dryer sheets have all kinds of uses: dusting electronics and your car’s interior, freshening musty smells and removing pet hair from clothes and furniture. Use your imagination!
Heloise’s column appears six days a week at washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.
2020, King Features Syndicate