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
Print Headline: Helpful Hints