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By Heloise

This article was published February 15, 2014 at 2:11 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: In a recent article, you stated that leftover coffee grounds should never be put down the garbage disposal. Why?

  • Al S., via email

DEAR READER: Al, you and many readers were curious, so here’s the “scoop.” It’s not that the disposal won’t handle them; it does grind up all sorts of food. It’s when they go down the drain and supposedly disappear into the sewer system. That black hole in the kitchen sink is attached to the plumbing, and that’s where the problem might come up and stop things up!

Look under the kitchen sink, and you will see a P-trap (I say it looks like a bent elbow). If you don’t run enough water (and most folks don’t), the grounds can get stuck in there or in the plumbing farther down the line.

Then you add other foods scraped from plates, or you wash a pan that has grease or oil on it. Combine all of these factors, and you just might end up with a clogged drain. My mantra: It’s better to prevent a problem than to have to deal with one.

When in doubt, throw it out! If you live in a house, the plumbing can run a long way to the sewer or septic system.

Hope this helps “clear up” the coffee-grounds question.

DEAR HELOISE: Ever wonder what to do with Christmas address labels after Christmas? Don’t keep them till next Christmas. Use scissors to cut off the picture. Now they’re ready for use year-round in sending bill payments, etc. Keep them handy with a pen and stamps. - A Reader in Indiana

DEAR HELOISE: When I have the big jars of face cream, etc., and I have to put my whole hand in them to get the product out near the bottom, I use a clean frozen-treat stick to scoop the cream out and work off the frozen-treat stick, rather than getting cream all over my hand. I leave the stick in the jar to reuse.

  • Mary M., California

DEAR HELOISE: I bend my bobby pins to fit the curvature of my head. This not only hides the bobby pins better in my hair, but also helps them stay in better.

  • A Reader, via email

DEAR HELOISE: When I go to the beach, I cover my car mats in a trash bag so that no sand gets on them, and the floor will be mostly protected from sand, too.

  • Sue in Florida Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

HomeStyle, Pages 38 on 02/15/2014

Print Headline: HELPFUL HINTS


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