DEAR HELOISE: Because you are such a fan of vinegar for cleaning everything, I decided to spray about 1/8 cup of half water and half vinegar into my microwave. I let it run for a few seconds, and suddenly there was an atrocious sound and sparks of electricity. I stopped it immediately.
Not until I completely wiped out all remnants of this mixture did the sparks and sound finally stop.
What happened, and why? I thought we could use vinegar to clean the microwave. Sandie G., Athens, Ohio
DEAR SANDIE: Wow! First, it was not the vinegar; it was an empty microwave. You sprayed the microwave with your vinegar-and-water solution, but when you clean a microwave with vinegar, you must pour it into a bowl with water before placing it in the microwave. The general guideline is 1 cup of liquid to 4 cups of water.
The popping sounds you heard came because the microwave was empty. Do not run a microwave without something microwave-safe inside. Arcing or sparks that appear in an empty microwave may indicate that it needs servicing.
DEAR HELOISE: I remember you once published a list of organizations that would like to have unwanted trophies. Could you please publish that again? Susan R. in Houston
DEAR SUSAN: Talk to local coaches, schools, scouting organizations and thrift stores. Special Olympics does not accept donated trophies. There are some programs where you can mail your trophies to be refurbished and recycled, but they are currently closed for donations.
DEAR HELOISE: I received a floral arrangement from an out-of-state friend. As the blossoms faded, I saved the petals and let them dry. With a thank-you note, I was able to send her a bag of potpourri, ready to add her favorite essential oil to. So easy, but it made my thank-you note much more personal and special.
Susan in Baton Rouge, La.
Send a great hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 79500, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.