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Getting clothes clean requires water basics

Dear Readers: Like most of us, you probably have a favorite detergent that you know will get your clothes clean, but you also want to make sure that your washing machine is doing the best job it can. A lot of this depends on the water temperature. Hot water removes dirt from really soiled clothing and kills more germs than cold water. But be aware that it can fade the dyes in color clothes and may cause wrinkling. Warm water gets lightly soiled clothes clean and is safe for most color clothing. Cold water needs a cold-water detergent to get clothing really clean. Whatever temperature you choose, good cleaning needs enough water in the tub for the clothes to move around and for the detergent to circulate, so it can loosen and carry away dirt and debris. — Heloise SELL BY DATES Dear Heloise: I have a question. When a grocery item has printed on it “Sell by …” and a date, how long after that date is it considered safe to use? — Jennie, Lebanon, Ohio Jennie, it’s important to check the “Sell By” and “Use By” dates on the food you buy to know that they are fresh and safe to purchase. To help you, stores provide product-dating labels. Here are the common labels and what they mean. “Sell By” or “Pull Date” means the last day an item should be sold. After this date, it should be removed from the grocery shelf. “Expiration Date” is the last day that the item should be sold or eaten. “Freshness Date” indicates how long freshness is guaranteed. — Heloise NEED TO FIND A VETERINARIAN? Dear Readers: If you have gotten a new pet or moved to a new city and you need to find a vet, here’s what the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals suggests. First, ask friends and family for a recommendation. Then you can check out the local clinic by making an appointment, without your pet. You can see what the vet clinic looks like, and find out if they have boarding and emergency hours. Chat with the staff. How friendly and professional are they? That way, you can decide. — Heloise CLEAN OUT MEDICINE CABINET Dear Readers: At least once a year, you should review everything in your medicine cabinet. If needed, reorganize all items by use. Items that you use often like bandages, toothpaste and mouthwash are placed on a lower shelf. Cold medicines are placed on a higher shelf. Organize medicines so the labels are easily read. And store them in a cool, dry place, away from children and pets. Then sort through your medications. Read the labels and toss out the following: capsules that are sticking together; tablets that are cracked, discolored or smell funny; liquid medication that has come apart; medications that have expired; all bottles that do not have labels. –Heloise (Heloise is a columnist with King Features Syndicate.)

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