Simple actions can save thousands of gallons of water

DEAR HELOISE: Here are a few of my water conservation hints:

* After a quick rinse in the shower, turn the water off, shampoo, lather, turn the water on and rinse. Showers are under four minutes. We don’t take baths (uses too much water).

* When sprinklers are on, run each zone for five minutes, repeat twice. There is enough time for the water to soak into the ground, and you won’t have water running down the street.

* Run a full dishwasher and a nearly full washing machine (too full will not get clothes clean).

* We put a 5-gallon bucket in the sink and catch water for any use. If it is soapy, use it to run the garbage disposal; if not, use it to water plants or grass. — J.B., Dallas

DEAR J.B.: Saving water is a top priority in many parts of the country, including my home state of Texas, which is facing one of the worst droughts in decades! Remember, a drip or small leak can waste thousands of gallons daily. Saving water is good for Mother Earth and your household budget. — Heloise

Scented vacuum

DEAR HELOISE: Upon cleaning up after my dog, the canister on my upright vacuum began retaining a “doggy smell.” I tried cleaning the canister and vacuuming up scented pellets, but each time I vacuumed, my home would smell like dog.

In frustration, I put a tablespoon of freshly ground flavored coffee in the canister before I vacuumed and was amazed. The delightful coffee scent overpowered the doggy smell, and my entire home now smells like vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut or whatever ground coffee I’m having! — Kathi, via e-mail

DEAR KATHI: Try a drop of perfume or essential oil, like orange, on a tissue in the canister for a different scent. — Heloise

Cooking-oil pouring

DEAR HELOISE: I like to use just a little cooking oil to fry something, but it’s so easy to pour too much. A simple solution dawned on me. With my latest bottle, I punched a small hole in the seal instead of removing it. Now, I remove the cap and use the bottle like a squeeze bottle. — John Chapman, Dallas

Stay-put trash bag

DEAR HELOISE: One of my worst frustrations was the trash bag sagging down and trash falling out. To keep this from happening, my husband put a large binder clip on the front and one on the back to hold the bag on the trash container. — Frieda Gothard, Arlington, Texas

Stop mold’s hold on bathroom

DEAR HELOISE: Can you please tell me how to get rid of shower-tile mold and scum? I have tried almost everything on the market, and I also use a scrub brush. Anything with bleach usually works, somewhat, for a very short period of time. — Eileen Maronna, via e-mail

DEAR EILEEN: If it keeps coming back, then it is probably plain old bathroom mold/mildew.

To help keep mildew from forming:

* Turn on the exhaust fan, open a window (if possible) and leave the bathroom door open so the moisture can escape.

* Wipe down the water residue on the tiles with a squeegee or towel.

* After a shower, leave the shower door or curtain open until the area is completely dry.

* Make a mixture of 1 cup chlorine bleach and 1 gallon water. Apply it to the tile, keeping surfaces wet for five minutes to kill the mold, then rinse and dry.

Once you do this regularly, you shouldn’t have to deal with that pesky mold and soap scum. — Heloise

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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