Dear Heloise: While I applaud your suggestion in a previous column that people use the new year to clean out their medicine cabinets, I was disappointed that you suggested only that they "toss" the expired or unneeded drugs.

Drugs in the waste stream, whether landfilled or flushed down toilets, are a major source of environmental harm. They affect the human water supply and the health of many species of animals, which are critical to food chains, thus affecting other animals.

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is held twice a year by local police departments, and many pharmacies offer voluntary or state-mandated safe disposal of drugs. In many places this can even be done by mail. I hope that you will clarify your position, at the very least if you run this idea again next year. Thank you. — Tim Wiles, Guilderland, N.Y.

Tim, thank you for this important information. Check in your community for the take-back days to get rid of your drugs safely. — Heloise

HELOISE: Disposing of drugs

Dear Heloise: I think that some people will be surprised at how bad their kitchen or bathroom faucet aerator looks if they haven't been checking it on a regular basis. I unscrewed my bathroom sink faucet aerator recently and found that it was yucky looking and needed to be replaced. The inside of the faucet was black (which I was able to wipe clean), maybe from mold or the deterioration of a black washer that was stuck up in the inside of the faucet. — A.F. in Southern California

A.F., it's a good idea to check your plumbing regularly to see if it needs to be cleaned and to prevent a bigger problem from happening. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: I will be 82 this year, and I'm not about to take down shower curtain liners when they get grungy at the bottom. Instead, I put a shower chair or anything the right height in the tub and place a bucket of warm, soapy bleach water on it. I place the bottom of the liner in the bucket and let it sit until the liner is sparkling clean, then air dry. You're welcome! — Nana Suzi, via email

Dear Heloise: Good morning! In response to two of your recent columns, I offer the following: To clean up blood, use hydrogen peroxide; and to clean up pet puddles in your carpet, use pee pads for pets. The pads have an absorbent side and a non-absorbing side that keeps your feet dry. Thanks for all the tips you share. — Tad, Temple, Texas


Dear Heloise: This is about your letter in an earlier column. It was about blending a thickening agent with water to add to thicken gravy. What I do is save and clean a pill bottle, spice bottle or similar small bottle and use it for a shaker. Put in the water and flour, screw the lid on tight, shake until blended and add to the gravy or sauce. -- T. Diemer, Kenner, Louisiana

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