Questions About: Dishwashing Liquid In Dishwasher, Bank Overdraft Fees, Solidified De-icer, Peanut Butter Girl Scout Cookies, Dented Can Food, LPs and VHS Tape Storage

Ask Liz: 1/30/2009

Dish Washing Liquid In The Dish Washer

Q: Is it okay to put dish washing liquid in the dishwasher.? It would be cheaper.

A: We contacted the Association of Home Appliance manufacturers and the Soap and Detergent Association. Both say you cannot use dish washing liquid in place of dishwasher detergent. Dishwashers detergents require special characteristics, That's because of the conditions under which the detergents must work. Plus too many suds will smother the water action in a dishwasher, Not to mention the risk of overflow which can damage the both the machine and the floor around it.

Challenging Bank Overdraft Fees

Q: What is the best way to challenge a bank overdraft fee?

A: We took your complaint to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the FDIC. It says you should first review the account disclosure information provided by your bank to see if the overdraft is justified. Then you should talk to a bank representative about the overdraft. If you're not satisfied, you should file a complaint with one of the Federal or State agencies that enforce consumer banking laws. You can also contact the FDIC Consumer Response Center to file a complaint or find the proper agency to contact.

Using Solidified De-Icer

Q: My de-icer from last year is hard as a rock. Is there a way to return it to the original pellet form?

A: We contacted Bare Ground Systems, a de-icer manufacturer, to get your answer. It says you can drop the bag on the ground to return your de-icer to granulated form. Or you can use a mallet with a rubber head on it.

And if moisture caused your de-icer to harden, bring the bag to a warmer place above 32-degrees Fahrenheit and the moisture should evaporate after a few days.

Peanut Butter Girl Scout Cookie Safety

Q: Given the peanut butter scare, is it safe to eat Girl Scout Cookies that contain peanut butter?

A: We went to the Girl Scouts of the USA to get your answer. It says it gets its peanut butter products from ABC Interbake or Little Brownie Bakers, neither of which are involved in the salmonella outbreak. Also, all Girl Scout Cookie ingredients are regularly inspected. As you know, it's the Peanut Corporation of America that's under investigation, And the Girl Scouts say that company does not supply peanut butter for any Girl Scout products.

Eating From Dented Cans

Q: Is it dangerous to eat food in dented cans?

A: We went to the Food and Drug Administration with the question. It says dented cans can be dangerous. Food sold in cans is processed to be sterile, A dent may cause an opening in the seam, And that could allow contamination in. So never use food from a can that's bulging, but if the can is dented, make sure the dent is not affecting the seam. It only takes a pinhole leak to let bacteria in.

Storing LP's & VHS Tapes

Q: I have an extensive collection of LP albums and VHS tapes. What's the best way to store them to prevent warping?

A: We went to a couple of retailers of old LP records and VHS tapes to get this answer. The best way to store LP albums is to store them standing straight up and make sure they don't bend. If you want to protect your album covers too, cover them with a plastic cover sheet. For VHS tape use a room with temperatures ranging from 60-to-70 degrees, And you must maintain a low moisture environment.

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