Dear Heloise: I have heard that you can add vinegar to your dishwasher to help eliminate white spots if you have hard water. How exactly is this done (which compartment, and how much)? Thanks for your great column! —Kate Ediger, Roswell, N.M.

Yes, vinegar can help remove hard-water mineral buildup, but please first check your owner's manual to be sure using vinegar is OK for your dishwasher before following these steps:

Begin by starting the empty dishwasher on a regular cycle — do not use dishwasher detergent. Let the cycle run for a couple of minutes, until the bottom of the dishwasher has begun filling with water (just open the door carefully and take a peek), then add 2 to 3 cups of white vinegar to the water, close the door and let the dishwasher complete the full cycle. Note: You can repeat this process if necessary.

When done, the hard-water deposits should be a thing of the past, and to keep them from accumulating again, run vinegar through a complete cycle periodically. In fact, vinegar can be used to clean a large number of things in the home: exhaust-fan grille, coffee maker, shower heads, ceramic tile floors and so much more. You'll find these and many more uses in my six-page vinegar pamphlet, Heloise's Fantabulous Vinegar Hints and More. To receive a copy and begin cleaning with the most versatile and inexpensive cleaner you'll find, please send $4 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (63 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. FYI: Did you know that most vinegars, especially white, will last almost indefinitely on a pantry shelf? So stock up, and you'll always be ready to tackle most any cleaning chore. —Heloise

Dear Heloise: We go to Florida in an RV for the winter. When packing our RV, I use shoe boxes for storage. I put my spices in one and over-the-counter drugstore supplies in another. When I get home, I remove the shoe boxes and put them in my house. This keeps things together and easy to transport. —Loretta Marsh, Ravenna, Ohio

Dear Heloise: I keep a small rattan basket in my bathroom to store my everyday jewelry, and in the morning, I find myself fumbling through it to find a pair of earrings. I recently cleaned a few pairs of earrings and hung them on the side of the basket to dry. I noticed how decorative it made the basket, so I gathered all my dangly earrings, paired them up and hung them on the sides of the basket. Now it's much easier to just grab a pair. —Holly Cole, Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Dear Heloise: I purchase car deodorizers, such as those little trees. I hang one on the pipes in the back of the toilet in each bathroom, and the scent it gives off lasts for many weeks. I also put one under my kitchen sink. —Carol Barbieri, via e-mail

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