Citrus rinds can eliminate disposal odor

DEAR HELOISE: I would like to know how to keep my disposal cleaner and stop the bad odor. – Nancy, via email

DEAR NANCY: There are a few things you can do to keep the disposal cleaner, which will help stop bad odors. Often there is a buildup of sludge under the gasket. To clean it, remove the rubber ring, if possible (with the disposal off), and clean it and inside the disposal, either with a brush or a clean rag.

It is important to run lots of water so the remnants get pushed all the way through the system. If not, the food might sit in the pipes, which can cause that awful stink.

You also can occasionally put things like lemon or orange rinds, mint leaves or vinegar down the disposal to help relieve the smell. – Heloise

DEAR HELOISE: I took an old, unmatched towel I had and laid it across the top of my refrigerator. When it gets dusty, I can easily throw it in the washer and replace. I no longer have to struggle on a step stool to clean off the top of my fridge. - Carrie, via email

DEAR HELOISE: I am an avid recycler, forever forgetful about returning plastic bags to the grocery store, and I find it a nuisance to store them until returned. Now I straighten out the bag, twist and wind it around two fingers, then tuck the “tail” into the middle, forming a little rosette. I hang one bag near my recycle bin to toss the “rosettes” into. When full, I tie the handles and have a neat little bundle to return to the store. – Linda in Hickory, N.C.

Hints from Heloise is syndicated by King Features Syndicate. Send great hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; by fax, 210-HELOISE (435-6473); or by e-mail,

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