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Helpful Hints

By Heloise

This article was published July 29, 2014 at 2:17 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: We in California store water in the event of a major earthquake. How long can one store water before it becomes unpalatable?

-- Frank P., via email

DEAR READER: The general rule is to keep tap water stored for six months, and prepackaged, bottled water for up to a year. The water does not really "go bad," but it's better to be safe. Rotate stored water regularly. You want to have enough water to equal 1 gallon per person or pet per day. It is important to store it in proper, food-grade water-storage containers, especially if it is your tap water.

Store water away from the sun or heat sources in a cool, dark place -- not the garage! Don't store near gasoline, kerosene or other chemicals.

DEAR HELOISE: I was getting so frustrated with my garden hose and how kinked it was that I was considering throwing it out. However, while doing some yard work, I was using the hose off and on. When not in use, the hose was sitting in the sun, filled with water, until I needed it. Imagine my surprise when I discovered my hose was much straighter. Apparently, the heat of the sun on the hose was all that was needed to get the kinks out! I thought others could use this hint.

-- Sally D. in Florida

DEAR HELOISE: When I was shopping for vinegar, there was a gallon called "cleaning vinegar." It was with the regular vinegar. I was hesitant to buy it because I use vinegar for cooking and cleaning.

What can you tell me about this "cleaning vinegar"? Is it safe to buy and cook with?

-- Bernie L. in Connecticut

DEAR READER: Cleaning vinegar is not really that new. Regular white vinegar is 5 percent acetic acid, where some of the "cleaning vinegars" are 6 percent acetic acid. So, you are paying for only 1 percent more acidity of the vinegar. What I would do is buy one of each and compare them to see if it's worth paying a little more.

It is safe to cook with, but remember, it's a little stronger.

Boiling potatoes? Add a teaspoon of vinegar to the water to keep them white.

DEAR HELOISE: After my mascara is gone, I keep the wand to separate my eyelashes and groom my eyebrows. I just clean it with soap and water.

-- Sophie D., via email

DEAR HELOISE: I received a bouquet of flowers, and some of the flowers had clear straws around the stems to hold them up. I now do this with my flowers.

-- Jane W. in Illinois

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

Style on 07/29/2014

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