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If you've been reading this column for any length of time, you know that my husband and I have repaired or performed regular maintenance on a number of our home appliances. And I love hearing when my readers do the same. Today's first great reader tip is a good reminder for anyone with a dishwasher.

EASY DISHWASHER MAINTENANCE

Dear Mary: We began to see our dishwasher's efficiency steadily dropping even though it was only six years old. The dishes were coming out spotty, even after trying several different detergents. We assumed it needed replacing. My husband decided to examine it more closely and noticed that the spray holes on the rotating jet arms were plugged with debris. He cleaned out each of the holes, and my dishes have been sparkling clean ever since. Sadly, the owner manual mentioned nothing about doing this procedure. We are thrilled that we saved ourselves the expense of a new dishwasher. -- Jean

CORNMEAL FACIAL

Dear Mary: I have used cornmeal as a facial scrub for many years and gotten excellent results. I put some regular cornmeal in the palm of my hand and use a cloth to exfoliate my face. My skin feels refreshed afterward, and it looks great! -- Sue

PIZZA CUTTER CUTS DOUGH

Dear Mary: My favorite use for my pizza cutter is to cut dough for chicken and dumplings. The dough is stickier than most and needs to be cut into small pieces. The pizza cutter works beautifully and gets it done in no time. -- Joy

CELLPHONE SNAPS REPAIR PIC

Dear Mary: I use my cellphone to take pictures of a repair that needs to be done on our irrigation system. When I am at the home improvement store, I will show the salesman the problem and get what I need to repair it -- in just one trip! -- Kay

CELLPHONE SNAPS GROCERY LIST

Dear Mary: I make my grocery list on a whiteboard and take a photo with my phone, and off to the store I go. -- S.Z.

SQUEEZE BOTTLE SEPARATES EGGS

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Dear Mary: I use clean, empty squeeze bottles to separate eggs. First, I crack the egg into a bowl. Then I squeeze the empty bottle as much as possible and place the squeeze top directly over the yolk. Release and the yolk will suck right up into the bottle. Repeat as necessary. This initially requires some patience, but then it's foolproof. -- Arlene

TWEETY BIRD REMOTE CONTROL

Dear Mary: I attach my remotes to stuffed animals with rubber bands. They don't fall beneath the cushions or get lost under papers or covers. Snoopy is for my bedroom TV. Sylvester is for the VCR. And Shark operates my office TV. And I can see them all from quite a distance, too. -- Ann

SUPER GLUE, A MUST-HAVE

Dear Mary: My husband and I keep a well-stocked first aid kit with our emergency supplies. We include super glue. It is great for suturing small cuts if we have no access to a physician during an emergency or disaster. -- Kay

Mary invites questions, comments and tips at mary@everydaycheapskate.com, or c/o Everyday Cheapskate, 12340 Seal Beach Blvd., Suite B-416, Seal Beach, CA 90740. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.

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