Hints from Heloise: Give your drain a fighting chance

Dear Heloise >> In a recent column, you ran a letter from a plumber about putting grease and oils down the drain. Though all of what he states is true, he did not mention a very effective way of dealing with grease and oils from food.

Using dishwashing detergent with surfactants can simplify the problem and be more effective than wiping dishes with paper towels. The dishwashing liquid binds the grease, rendering it harmless in the drain.

The key is to apply water with detergent to the greasy items before they are rinsed in the drain. Larger quantities of grease, such as grease collected in a meat-frying pan, probably shouldn’t be disposed down the drain, as it would take a significant amount of detergent to bind all of it.

Many bottles of dishwashing liquid can be purchased for the same price that a service call would be to get the pipes cleaned.

— Jim Michaud, Kettering, Ohio

Dear Heloise >> When we have an odor in our dishwasher, I usually find a buildup of gunk underneath the bottom of the door. A little vinegar paired with a sponge will clean it out.  Thanks for providing such a useful forum!

— Tad, Temple, Texas

Dear Heloise >> As with most parents, mine ingrained in me the need to brush my teeth regularly. In spite of doing this twice a day, I still ended up with cavities. My dentist always encouraged me to floss, but even after I started doing this, I still had cavities.

After some recent dental work, my dentist recommended using a water flosser. I finally bought one and started using it. I was absolutely amazed that even after brushing and flossing, the water flosser still removed small pieces of food that were lodged in my teeth. I now use my water flosser after every meal.

If your readers try a flosser just once, I am certain that they will be surprised at how much food the flosser removes, and they, too, can add this to their daily dental routine.

— John, Bozeman, Montana

Dear Heloise >> A much easier solution for Katharine B., in Auburn, New York, is to go on Amazon and search “bite no more nail polish.” There are dozens to choose from.

My husband had the nail-biting problem early on in our marriage (45 years ago). It took him just two or three coats of the polish, and he stopped biting his nails and never started again.  In fact, I still have the bottle, and it’s still good if anyone in the family ever needed it.

— Ruth C., Salado, Texas

Dear Heloise >> Most bugs do not “get in” the pantry — they hatch in your meal products. If you buy new flour, it is best to put it in your freezer for 24 hours to kill the eggs of the weevils. Then you won’t have bugs in your pantry. Thanks for being here.

— Gretchen

Write to Heloise at P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; Fax 210-HELOISE; or email Heloise@Heloise.com.

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