Lots of hands up in the air indicating they have questions

Ask Me Anything: HE Detergent, Makeup Primer, Cordless Vac, Slow Cooking, DIY Degreaser, Cloudy Glassware

My fondness for TV game shows’ lighting rounds—the duration of the round is a pre-determined length of time, and the goal is to accomplish as much as possible within that period—may have something to do with my attention span. Lightning round questions are short, the answers quick and concise.

I see we have lots of questions in the audience, so let’s set the clock. Ready? Set … Go!


Q: Do I HAVE to use HE labeled laundry detergent only in my new Whirlpool washer? Why? Pegg

A: Yes. If the owner manual recommends HE detergent, that means it is a high-efficiency washer. HE washers use considerably less water and have sophisticated computer-like electronics. They’re very smart!

HE detergent creates no suds or bubbles. The presence of too many suds can confuse washing cycles, cause delays and make proper rinsing of clothes difficult if not impossible.

By the way, you can make your own detergent is HE because it creates no suds or bubbles. Recipe and tutorial HERE. Make sure you measure the detergent in every load. I use 2 tablespoons in my HE machine, which seems like not nearly enough,  but it is! Using too much detergent can cause all kinds of problems. Read your manual.

Q: Do you have a favorite makeup primer? I’m wondering if using a primer will help hide some of those tiny lines. Jeannine

A: I do, but don’t freak out when the label on the tube says absolutely nothing about it being a fabulous makeup primer. My favorite is not actually sold as makeup. Monistat Soothing Care Powder Gel is an amazing gel that doubles as a fabulous face primer—and it’s very inexpensive. You have to trust me on this–I would not lead you astray. Monistat Soothing Care Powder Gel is outstanding for this use and outperforms any primer I know of. About $6.

RELATED: How I Stopped the M.A.C. Attacks

Q: Can you recommend a cordless vacuum? Lara

A: Sure can. In fact I can recommend two—a stick-style cordless vacuum and a handheld style. Since you didn’t specify, I’ll tell you about both and hopefully before the clock runs out on our lightning round!

I’ve been using my Eufy HomeVac cordless stick vac* for nearly a year now. Best Inexpensive™ Stick Vac—Finally! Simply fabulous. Lightweight, holds a charge like forever, easy to clean, stands up by itself, quiet as can be, and so handy.

*Update: As of Jan. 2019, Eufy Cordless Stick Vac has been discontinued. But not to worry! Deik Cordless Stick Vac  is all that Eufy was, with a few upgraded features. It is interchangeable with Deik and nearly identical to the now-retired Eufy. I love my new Deik and think you will, too. Check it out. 

I love my handheld vac so much, I have three of them—one in each of the main areas of my home. Each one gets a regular workout, too. This specific Black and Decker handheld vacuum (B&D makes several models) has a lithium battery (long run-time and doesn’t need to be stored in the charger), is so easy to clean and offers excellent suction. About $35.

Q: I am having a problem with slow cooker cooking. I have a 6-quart cooker and everything is turning out dry and awful! Anne 

A: Your slow cooker is way too big for the item and or amount of food you are preparing. You need to either double your batch or cut back on the cooking time, which will require some experimenting.

Try this: Cut back by two hours on Low or even cutting the time in half. Slow cookers work best when they are at least 3/4 full and should never be less than half full. Even that may not be enough in my experience.

You should consider getting a 4-quart cooker to replace your 6-quart model if this continues to be a problem.

My friend Holly was experiencing much of what you describe, with her slow cooking. She’s fixed that problem by making sure she’s using the right slow cooker for the amount of food she is preparing and not overcooking—the reason she has four slow cookers!

Q: Do you have a DIY solution for cleaning grease on stove hoods and wherever grease seems to accumulate? Anon

A: Yes, I do. But let me caution you to clean those areas routinely which means often. Once grease builds up on a stove, hood or other kitchen area, it gets more and more difficult to remove. Here’s the perfect degreaser for routine cleanup of the cooktop, hoods and surrounding areas (being careful to avoid granite that has been treated with a sealant):

  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Blue Dawn

Combine in a 16-ounce spray bottle and it’s ready to be used.

Q: Why isn’t my dishwasher getting things clean anymore? The glasses are coming out cloudy and so is the flatware. Carol

A: Could be any number of problems, but I suggest you start with the easiest. Is the rinse-aid reservoir empty? Most dishwashers these days have a place to be filled with a rinse aid like Jet-Dry (check the owner manual). Make sure you keep the filled. Next, when did you last clean your dishwasher? We need to clean our dishwashers routinely—at least once every three months. The hoses, filter and water spraying mechanisms can get a build-up of hard-water minerals. The filter can become clogged with yuk and gunk.

Here is one method to clean your dishwasher that has been proven to be effective for many:

Step 1. Remove and clean the filter to remove all that build-up. Soak it in warm, soapy water for 10 minutes, then replace.

Step 2. Pour 1 cup of white vinegar into the bottom of the empty dishwasher. Run a heavy clean cycle.

Step 3. Sprinkle 1 cup of baking soda in the bottom of the dishwasher and leave overnight. In the morning, run an empty cycle.

Step 4. Gently scrub any remaining dirty areas with a toothbrush.

Still experiencing a problem? Bring out the big guns with a commercial product like Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner. Follow the instructions on the label.

Updated 5-02-19

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2 replies
  1. Tracy
    Tracy says:

    Hi i recently was told that Tang drink crystals poured in the dishwasher and then done a heavy load cleans your dishwasher sparkly clean. It worked fantastic

  2. Kathleen French
    Kathleen French says:

    Mary’s not kidding when she says the homemade laundry detergent works. I have a family of five and I have very successfully been using it in my front loading washer for about 10 years now. I have saved a bundle on laundry soap and it works great.

    GREAT NEWS! I found Arm and Hammer washing soda and Borax right next to each other at Walmart in Myrtle Beach and they were only about $5 a box.


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