Dear Heloise: I would like to know what I can do to get rid of an awful odor that comes from my washing machine. The horrible smell is there even within a few hours after I use the machine. I have left the lid open, but this does not help. Do you have any suggestions? Marcia Hale, Huntertown, Ind.
Sometimes, just leaving the lid open between uses is not enough. Detergent, softeners, lint, etc., can accumulate under the inside top rim of the washing machine -- those hidden buildups could be the culprit. The first thing to do is check your owner's manual. Can't find the paperwork? Browse the manufacturer's Web site for an 800 phone number or a printable version of the manual. Have the model number handy.
If you don't find a solution from the manufacturer, here is a Heloise hint you can give a whirl:
USet the washing machine on the highest water level, temperature on hot and the wash cycle to normal.
UFill a gallon jug with hot tap water. Once the cycle begins, let it run for a minute or two, then stop the cycle, open the lid and slowly add the gallon of hot tap water. Don't overfill -- you just want to raise the water level so that it is able to reach and clean the inside top rim.
UAdd two to four cups of household chlorine bleach and restart the cycle. In a couple of minutes, stop it again and let it sit for at least 30 minutes. Afterward, let the cycle finish, and open the lid to air out the inside.
I hope this helps eliminate the problem and puts a clean spin on your laundry. Heloise
Dear Heloise: When I'm ready to travel, I set all timer lights in my home to give a lived-in look to the house. Besides that, I put new light bulbs in all the sockets. That way, they don't accidentally burn out while we are away. The partially used bulbs are marked as such and will be used later, when we are home and I don't have to worry about them going out. Sandi Mullaney, Ewing, N.J.
Dear Heloise: My trash and recycle bins (and lids) have our house number spray-painted on them. That way, after the contents are picked up, I can ID the bins even if the wind blows them down the street. Gary P., Laurel, Md.
Dear Heloise: Buying specials in a grocery store and discovering later that you were charged the regular price is an ongoing problem for all of us. I solved the problem by simply writing the sale price on the item when I take it off the shelf. After checkout, I also check the receipt before I leave the store. This works for me. Frank Lively, via e-mail.
King Features Syndicate