Deal­ing with a gas leak

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - Write to Heloise at P.O. Box 795001, San An­to­nio, TX 78279-5000; Fax 210-HELOISE; or email [email protected] Heloise.com.

DEAR READ­ERS >> Nat­u­ral gas is ef­fec­tive and less ex­pen­sive than elec­tric­ity to cook with and to dry clothes, but can you tell the signs of a GAS LEAK? The gas com­pany wants you to “Rec­og­nize, Re­act and Re­port”: Rec­og­nize: By smell: A ter­ri­ble, sul­fur, rot­tenegg smell.

By sight: Bub­bling in stand­ing water in the yard; dead plants in a fer­tile area.

By sound: Whistling or hiss­ing com­ing from the ground. Re­act: Quickly tell your neigh­bors, then leave the area. Do not light a match or use light switches, garage door open­ers door­bells, etc. Re­port: From a safe dis­tance, call 911 and your gas com­pany. Stay away un­til of­fi­cials tell you it’s safe to re­turn.

BUB­BLE, BUB­BLE

DEAR HELOISE >> You had a mix of bak­ing soda, vine­gar and boil­ing water to speed up slow drains, but I don’t re­mem­ber the quan­ti­ties needed. Would you please post that again? Thanks!

— C. in Kansas

DEAR C. >> Sure thing! To clar­ify, this for­mula is to clean and freshen the drain, but not specif­i­cally for clear­ing clogs.

(NOTE: Al­ready tried a com­mer­cial chem­i­cal drain cleaner? DON’T use this for­mula — dan­ger­ous fumes can re­sult.)

Pour 1/2 cup bak­ing soda down the drain, then add 1 to 2 cups house­hold vine­gar. Bub­ble and fizz! Give it a few min­utes, then run hot water for one minute, fol­lowed by lots of cold tap water.

Vine­gar is a pow­er­house cleaner around the house. Would you like to re­ceive a col­lec­tion of my fa­vorite, fantab­u­lous for­mu­las and recipes us­ing vine­gar? It’s easy! Visit Heloise.com to or­der, or send $5, along with a long, stamped (70 cents), self-ad­dressed en­ve­lope, to: Heloise/Vine­gar, P.O. Box 795001, San An­to­nio, TX 78279-5001. Keep your Christ­mas flo­rals last­ing longer: Add 2 ta­ble­spoons of vine­gar and 3 ta­ble­spoons of sugar per quart of water.

DEAR READ­ERS >> It’s that time of year again: If you had a live Christ­mas tree, it is no doubt shed­ding nee­dles. Not to worry. In­stead of giv­ing your vac­uum a work­out, why not try a rub­ber broom? With its short, stiff “bris­tles,” the nee­dles will pull out of the car­pet quickly with short strokes to­ward you.

DEAR HELOISE >> Man­u­fac­tur­ers of liq­uid soap dis­pensers scored big when they in­tro­duced foam­ing soap. They give us a lot less soap and a lot more water for a sim­i­lar price.

I fill my spent foam­ing dis­pensers about 2/3 to 3/4 with water and top off with dish de­ter­gent. These can be reused for years, and a small amount of dish soap will go a long way — all the ben­e­fits of foam­ing soap at a tiny frac­tion of the cost. Ad­di­tion­ally, there are all the plas­tic pump bot­tles that won’t be sent to the land­fill!

— Kevin in Avon Park, Fla.

DEAR HELOISE >> My hus­band “wears his food well.” I learned a hint from my house­keeper: Be­fore wash­ing a stained item, sprin­kle well with baby pow­der, then let sit sev­eral hours or overnight be­fore wash­ing with other clothes of the same color. Place in the dryer as usual. Works for me ev­ery time!

— Judy H., The Vil­lages, Fla.

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