Late for dinner again!


Jan. 22, 2020


Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about guests who arrive late for every function:

“Dear Heloise: My brother and his wife never show up on time and never call to say they are running late. At Thanksgiving, I hosted a family dinner, which took hours of work. I told them we would be sitting down to dinner at 2 p.m. If they weren’t there, we would go ahead without them.

“And that’s exactly what we did. They showed up at 4 p.m. expecting to have Thanksgiving dinner, which I refused them since we all had eaten and had just finished cleaning up the kitchen. In the past, I’ve tried telling them we were having dinner at 1 p.m., thinking I’d actually prepare dinner for 2 p.m., and they still showed up two hours late!”

- A.D. in Maine

A holiday dinner is expensive, time-consuming and takes a lot of planning and work. Showing up late on a continual basis is inconsiderate to the host.

- Heloise


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some additional uses for safety pins:

- Pin socks together before washing so pairs stay together.

- Pin a scarf to the back of a coat collar so it stays in place.

- Use to keep skirt hems up in an emergency.

- Pin gloves to a child’s sleeve so they won’t get lost.

- Heloise


Pre-wash spray

Dear Heloise: You had a pre-wash mixture that worked well, but I’ve lost the instructions. Would you reprint that for me? - Kate W., Reno, Nev.

Kate, you’ll need to mix equal parts water, household ammonia and dishwashing (not “dishwasher”) liquid. Put the mixture into a clean spray bottle. Be sure to label it, and keep it away from children and pets. Once you apply this to a stain, wash the garment immediately.

This pre-wash recipe is included in my Heloise’s Handy Stain Guide for Clothing. If you would like a copy, send $5, along with a long, stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope, to: Heloise/Stain Guide, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at FYI: When using a spray-type laundry stain remover, turn the stained item inside out and spray the stain from the “wrong” side.

- Heloise


Address labels

Dear Heloise: Every year I get lots of address labels from various charities, and I use them in a number of ways. They go on the back of my phone, in books I lend to friends, on my address book and on platters I take to potluck dinners. This has made it easy for people to return things to me.

- Claire U., McPherson, Kan.


Handy chip bowl

Dear Heloise: When my husband and I watch a movie in the evening, we usually munch on some chips and dips. Recently, I saw my daughter roll down the sides of the bag, then push the bottom up, and it made a bowl out of the bag! Very handy for all of us.

- Marybeth S., Fresno, Calif.

Lacking in details
Jan. 15, 2020

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about the lack of information and instructions with new gadgets:

“Dear Heloise: I recently bought an appliance for my kitchen, but it came without instructions on how to use and clean it. The same thing happened when I bought a new cellphone. Have manufacturers stopped sending information on their products? I know they’re cutting corners to save on expenses, but this is NOT helpful to the consumer.”

- Colleen E. in Chicago

Colleen, I’m sorry to hear about this situation, but you might try looking on the internet to find out what it says about your new appliance and cellphone. You also might want to find the corporate phone numbers and call for a booklet or instruction sheet.

- Heloise

Fast Face

Dear Readers: Here are some new thoughts on home décor:

- Choose colors that you like and that make you feel good.

- A dark accent wall will appear to recede, giving your space a roomier feeling.

- Hang drapes close to the ceiling, not at the top of the window.

But above all, remember that your home is your sanctuary, so incorporate the things you love the most.

- Heloise


Social Security scam

Dear Readers: Have you received calls from people claiming to be with the Social Security office? Some of the calls might sound threatening, but sometimes they seem friendly. However, Social Security would first send you a letter, not just call and ask you for personal or financial information. If you think you have been a victim of a scam call from Social Security, call 800-269-0271, or report this to the Office of the Inspector General at

- Heloise


Happily divorced

Dear Heloise: How do I put a stop to this parade of co-workers and friends who keep asking me if I’m OK now that my divorce is final? We parted as friends and get along better now than we did when we were married. There were no children, and we split everything down the middle and went our separate ways. The only disagreement we had at the end was over the dogs (I got them). Still, people won’t believe me when I say I’m fine and not unhappy. Everyone is certain that I’m stuffing my feelings deep inside. Believe me, I feel liberated.

- Lisa in Massachusetts

Lisa, I know well-meaning people worry about us when we go through a major life change, but a change does not always mean it’s unwelcome or even unpleasant. When someone asks about how you’re holding up, just tell them you’re fine, and be sure to smile. You don’t have to explain why you and your spouse decided on a divorce, and really, it’s no one’s business. This will stop in time, but for now, do something for you, such as a new hairstyle or new outfits, or redecorate your place for the new you!

- Heloise


Letter opener

Dear Heloise: No letter opener? Use a plastic knife from takeout food. It works!

- Faye in Youngstown, Ohio

Look up at life!
Jan. 8, 2020

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about the cellphone obsession that’s so present today. - Heloise

“Dear Heloise: I was dining out with a friend recently, and she said: ‘Look around the restaurant. Nearly everyone is glued to their cellphone screen.’ It was true. There’s a time and place for everything, but in the company of friends, why do people feel the need to check their phones every two minutes?

“There’s a whole world out there waiting to be lived and discovered, but if you have your eyes and attention glued to a tiny screen half the time, you’ll miss an important part of life. You’ll drive away friends and family who wonder why your social media account was so much more important to you than they were.

“According to the National Safety Council, texting while driving causes over 1 million accidents each year. And talking on a cellphone while driving is equally dangerous because your attention is not on your driving.”

- Meghan in Florida


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some new uses for things around the house:

- Removing silk out of corn on the cob? Use a clean toothbrush.

- No shoe polish? Try a little vegetable oil to shine and clean shoes.

- Use a matchbox as a mini sewing kit.

- Heloise


Static cling

Dear Heloise: I hate the static cling we get here during the winter months. I discovered that if I rub a light, fast-absorbing lotion into my legs, my clothing won’t stick to them. I can even rub it over pantyhose and it works!

- June in Arizona


Electronic communication

Dear Heloise: My husband and I just got back from our honeymoon, and now I have to write my thank-you notes. Would it be all right to just send an email or text saying: “Thanks so much for your gift. I’m sure we’ll find it useful”? Short and sweet. My mother says it’s tacky, but I have about 210 thank-you notes to get out!

- Samantha B., Cedar Grove, N.J.


Samantha, your mother is right. You can buy some inexpensive thank-you cards that look nice and are blank on the inside. Thank them for the gift by mentioning what they gave and how you will use it. If you were given money, for example, you might say: “Thank you for the gift of $75. It’ll go toward our new refrigerator fund.” Take your time, and the both of you can sit down and write a few every night. Try setting a goal; each of you could write 10 per day until you’re done, and you’ll be done in no time!

- Heloise


Bacon question

Dear Heloise: I hate it when I buy a package of bacon and all the bacon sticks together. Is there any way to prevent this and make it easier to get out a couple of strips at a time? - Jason V., Marion, Iowa

Jason, to help the bacon not stick together, just roll the package into a long cylinder and wrap a rubber band around the package before you refrigerate it.

- Heloise

Pick up what your pooch dropped!
Dec. 30, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about doggy droppings:

“Dear Heloise: The neighborhood I live in is very well maintained, except for a couple of people who walk their dogs but don’t pick up their doggy droppings. We have a city law that requires people to pick up dog poo, but not everyone does. It’s not only inconsiderate and disgusting, but it’s unsanitary too.”

- Julia B., Wabash, Ind.

Julia, I have to agree with you. Every pet owner has responsibilities, and one of them is to dispose of their pet’s waste in the correct manner. Letting your dog deposit its waste on someone else’s lawn, in a park or anywhere other than your own yard is being irresponsible and selfish.

- Heloise

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some unique uses for dental floss:

- Make a trellis for vines to grow on.

- Make a fishing pole out of a branch and a length of dental floss.

- Hang a picture.

- Cut through soft foods.

- As a temporary shoestring.

- Heloise


Strange surroundings

Dear Heloise: Here’s a hint for you: My twin boys were afraid of hotel rooms because they were strange to them. So whenever we traveled, I brought a night light, and it seemed to calm their fears and eliminate the bad dreams. It also helped them find the bathroom at night.

- Paula R., Coos Bay, Ore.


School daze

Dear Heloise: With a household of eight children (his, mine and ours), it gets hectic in the mornings while I try to get everyone off to school. It seems like every day two or more leave something behind that they need for school, and I have to load up the car and run it over to the school. How do we get organized around here?

- Tina in Wisconsin

Tina, place a plastic bin or cardboard box in each child’s room and tell them to place the things they need to take to school in that box at night before they go to bed. All books, homework, papers, gym clothes, lunch (if possible) and money need to go in the box. It’s their responsibility to organize what they need for school the next day.

- Heloise


Washing on the road

Dear Heloise: I sometimes have to wash my underthings by hand in a hotel sink. However, they never seem to dry by morning. What should I do?

- Janet L., Claremont, N.H.

Janet, before you hang them up, roll your items in a dry towel, then press down on the towel or wring it. Get out as much moisture as possible. Use a hair dryer in the morning if they aren’t done drying.

- Heloise

Message in a mumble
Dec. 23, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off concerns people who leave messages but mumble or can’t be understood.

- Heloise

“Dear Heloise: I got a message on my answering machine this morning, and I can’t understand a word of what’s being said. The girl on the other end was mumbling, so I have no idea who called or why. Last week, I got a message with the words ‘and stuff’ ending every sentence. Doesn’t anyone teach people the correct way to answer a phone or leave a message? It’s as though correct English and enunciation have been thrown out the window.”

- Antonia H., Lexington, Mass.

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some new uses for an old computer:

- Convert it to a home server.

- Donate it to a school or a training center.

- Recycle it. Computers use valuable chemicals and components.

- Use as a backup computer.

- Heloise


Unnecessary information

Dear Heloise: I use my computer to watch movies, order items and other things. Lately, I’ve noticed that a number of sites that claim to be free want me to register and provide credit card information. If it’s “free,” there should be no need to hand out such information, and yet they won’t let me use their so-called free services without supplying this information. So I no longer will use their site. Why do they want this financial info?

- Stephan B. in Dallas

Stephan, you’re correct: They don’t need it, and you should not be supplying that kind of information to them. They might not charge on your credit card, but they could still sell that information. If enough people refuse to give this information, they’ll have to reconsider their policy.

- Heloise


Is MSG dangerous

Dear Heloise: Is MSG dangerous in foods?

- Linda W., Marblehead, Mass.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, monosodium glutamate (MSG) is present in our bodies naturally. It’s also in many of the foods we eat every day. The FDA believes that MSG is, on the whole, safe to ingest. Although some people may have an allergy to MSG, in order to know for certain if it’s MSG or something else in a certain food, they should consult with a doctor.

- Heloise


CBD oil

Dear Heloise: I’ve been hearing all sorts of things about CBD oil. Since it can be made from marijuana, will I get high if I take it?

- Taylor V., Bozeman, Mont.

Taylor, some CBD oil comes from marijuana, but you will not get high from using it. Nor will CBD oil derived from hemp give you a buzz. At this time, there are many studies that have been published on the health benefits of CBD, and new information comes out every day about CBD. Do your research to see if it might benefit you to try it, and also check your state’s laws related to the allowed usage of CBD.

- Heloise

Mind your own money
Dec. 18, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about people who always ask what you paid for something:

“Dear Heloise: My sister-in-law has a habit of asking what I paid for nearly everything I buy. I find it irritating and rude. Sometimes I tell her I don’t remember, or I’ll ask, “Why do you need to know?” We recently bought land in another state where we plan to retire, and she keeps asking us what we paid for it. Am I wrong in thinking she’s rude and it’s none of her business?”

- Lynn in Missouri

Lynn, she really shouldn’t keep asking what you paid for items you buy, but some people don’t see anything wrong with asking. Readers, what do you think? Drop me a line and let me know.

- Heloise

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some new uses for bread tags:

- Use to ID extra keys. Write what each key opens on the tag.

- Tag your computer cords.

- When playing bingo, use for markers.

- Paint and decorate to use on small Christmas trees.

- Heloise


Hanger problems

Dear Heloise: My hangers will not slide over the wooden pole in my closet. What can I do to get them to glide easily?

- Jerrie S., Belle Fourche, S.D.

Jerrie, there are a couple of things you can do: You could take a candle and wax the wooden pole. Another solution is to paint the pole in a high-gloss paint. If painting or waxing doesn’t appeal to you, try furniture polish on the pole.

- Heloise


Smelly sleeping bag

Dear Heloise: My son and I love to go camping. The problem is, our sleeping bags don’t smell very nice - in fact, they stink. How do we get rid of the “musty” smell?

- Jim B., Eugene, Ore.

Jim, you might consider taking your sleeping bag outside on a sunny day and letting it air out. And before storing, try placing two dryer sheets inside it. It should smell fresher the next time you use it.

- Heloise


Postcard power

Dear Readers: It’s getting down to the wire, but there’s still time to mail a holiday greeting, and here’s a money-saver: postcards! A “regular size” postcard (6 by 4 inches) costs just 35 cents to mail; the maximum size of a postcard, 11 by 6 inches, is 55 cents to mail! The front of a greeting card works nicely as a postcard.

- Heloise


Kitty litter bags

Dear Heloise: After emptying bags of fresh kitty litter into the litter boxes, I save the bags. It provides bags when emptying the litter pans for cleaning and refilling.

- Stacey in Pennsylvania

Parental control
Dec. 12, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about interfering with how kids are raised:

“Dear Heloise: My in-laws are nice people, but they are, at times, overindulgent with gifts for our two boys. I’ve spoken to them about this, but they still spend too much. I even suggested that instead of so many ‘things,’ they put money into a college fund to help the boys later on. My father-in-law said he was planning on giving my son a car for his 16th birthday! These are my children, and I won’t have my in-laws interfering with how I raise them.

“I want my boys to learn to budget money. I’ll insist they get a summer job at 16 so they know how hard people work to make a living. They need to understand that $50 may seem like a lot of money, but it doesn’t go far. In other words, I want them to grow up to be financially responsible adults, and they can’t do that if my in-laws give them everything they point to.”

- Tina in South Carolina

Tina, sounds like you are on the right track. Family members mean well, but a parent is still in charge of how the children should be raised. It’s never too early to teach them to handle money wisely.

- Heloise


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some unique uses for aluminum foil:

- Place a small sheet of foil under a napkin in a bread basket to keep dinner rolls warm.

- Wrap steel wool soap pads in foil and store in the freezer to prevent them from rusting.

- Cover edges of a pie crust with foil to keep it from burning.

- Heloise


Garbage disposal

Dear Heloise: My garbage disposal stinks. How do I remove odors from there?

- Mike W., Sturgis, S.D.

Mike, mix 1/2 cup white vinegar with enough water to fill an ice cube tray, then freeze it. When the vinegar cubes are hard, remove them and put them in the garbage disposal, then turn it on. This will freshen and clean the disposal and the blades.

- Heloise


Stained sink

Dear Heloise: I have a white porcelain sink that’s stained. I scrub, but I can’t get it clean. How can I whiten my sink?

- Loretta N., Medford, Mass.

Loretta, fill your sink with just enough bleach to cover the bottom, and fill the rest of the sink with cold water and let it soak for at least half an hour. However, do not use this on colored sinks, as it might cause damage to the sink’s color. To clean colored sinks, use a mild liquid detergent or baking soda and vinegar.

- Heloise


Dusty lampshade

Dear Heloise: I have five lampshades that have accordion pleats. They’re dusty, and I can’t get the dust out. Help!

- Rhonda Y., Dime Box, Texas

Rhonda, take your lampshades outside. Using a clean paintbrush, brush downward in the valleys. After that, take them inside and vacuum the lampshades with the brush attachment.

- Heloise

Christmas by the letters?
Dec. 4, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about Christmas letters:

“Dear Heloise: I hate to be a Scrooge, but I don’t really care for Christmas letters. Most of the information is either mundane or exaggerated. Does anyone really care that Susie got her braces off her teeth or that Tommy made a touchdown for his high school team?

“The last Christmas letter I got recounted how the author’s father had been in the hospital six times during the year, the family dog died and their daughter dropped out of college. Please, no more Christmas letters.”

- Larry in Oklahoma

I agree that sad news might be inappropriate during the holidays, but entertaining, newsy letters from family and friends are always welcome. Keep it up, folks!

- Heloise


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some repurposing ideas:

- An empty tissue box makes a good place for plastic grocery bags.

- Use address labels to identify your possessions.

- A cardboard six-pack holder can be used for condiments on a picnic.

- Use a plastic shower cap to pack your shoes for a trip.

- Heloise


Wedding bell blues

Dear Heloise: I have been to two lovely weddings and we were seated by number, but sad to say, we were apart from our family and friends. I wish the parents of the bride and groom would work together so they knew where to put us.

- A Reader, Canfield, Ohio


Santa’s footprints

Dear Heloise: We have a silly but fun Christmas tradition: On Christmas Eve, after everyone has gone to bed, I put on big boots and create a trail (with sprinkled baking soda) from the chimney to the tree - it’s Santa’s snowy footprints!

In the morning, the little ones really get a kick out of seeing “evidence” that Santa has stopped by. And bonus - the carpet is refreshed when I vacuum up the baking soda.

- Helen in Illinois

Helen, I love it! Baking soda can certainly look like snow, and it can eliminate odors from the carpet too. It’s a workhorse in the home.

- Heloise


Pet treat

Dear Heloise: I like to pour meat drippings or gravy over my dog’s dry food. He really loves it and licks his bowl clean!

- Pam T., Lubbock, Texas



Dear Heloise: I got so frustrated with many of my silky blouses and sweaters sliding off the hangers. A friend of mine suggested a simple remedy: Put two wide rubber bands on the hanger, one on each side. So easy and inexpensive!

- Carrie R., Bonner Springs, Kan.


Gift for the elderly

Dear Heloise: I wondered what to get an elderly but very mobile neighbor of mine for Christmas. I found that a gift card to a grocery store was a favorite for many older adults. It helps them stretch their budget and buy a few items they normally wouldn’t buy for themselves.

- June S., Santa Fe, N.M.

High Cost of Health Care
Nov. 26, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off concerns the high cost of health care for seniors:

“Dear Heloise: The cost of everything has gone up, but for people like me on Social Security, a trip to the dentist is becoming unaffordable. Not only do I not go anymore, but I have the responsibility of a brother with Asperger’s. His last exam, X-ray and cleaning was close to $300. My brother receives a very small Social Security check, which doesn’t even cover his food and clothes. I take care of many of his financial needs, but I’m a senior citizen with low income and diagnosed with cancer.”
- Anonymous Reader in Indiana


Good dental health is essential to everyone, especially the elderly. There are websites that can help. If you don’t have a computer, ask a neighbor, friend or relative to assist you. You also can call a dental school to see if it can do routine cleaning, X-rays and fill cavities. is a good place to start looking for dental help, and you also can try
- Heloise

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some new uses for old books:

- Cut out words to use in making sentences - a game for children and adults.

- Cut out pictures and paste in a blank book to make up your own story. A great exercise for children.

- Laminate a storybook page and use it as a place mat for a child.

- Heloise


Knotty thread

Dear Heloise: Do you ever get frustrated with long thread that twists and knots up when you are trying to sew with needle and thread?

To eliminate this annoyance, my grandmother would “wax” the thread before threading the needle. She took an old candle and laid the thread on it, put her thumb on top of the thread and pulled the thread through the wax once or twice to coat the thread with wax.

To thread the needle, she would “wet” the eye of the needle so the thread was easier to slide through.
- Georgia G., Omaha, Neb.


Waldorf salad?

Dear Readers: The original Waldorf salad was created for New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria hotel in 1893. It consisted of chopped apples and celery mixed with a mayonnaise dressing. The Heloise version we ran recently is just one of hundreds of variations out there. In the past few years, some folks have been using unflavored Greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise. No matter what you like, or how you like to alter the ingredients, enjoy your version of the Waldorf salad.

- Heloise


Lint trap danger

Dear Heloise: I saw your recent hint about dryer fires. My daughter-in-law kept forgetting to clean the lint trap in her dryer, and it caused over $50,000 worth of damage in the house. Yes, some of the possessions are replaceable, but it was a terrifying experience and a lesson learned the hard way.

- Rosa Ann in Wyoming

Break the chain
Nov. 20, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about chain letters.

- Heloise

“Dear Heloise: Why do people send out chain letters? I hate it when I go to my account on a social networking website and find a chain letter there with instructions to send it to 10 other people, including the person who sent it to me! I delete them, and as far as I know, all my friends do as well. I don’t believe for one minute that I’ll have seven years of bad luck if I break the chain. All the sender has done is to give me one more person to block from my account.”

- Hector T., Auburn, Maine


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some new uses for old greeting cards:

- Cut into gift tags.

- Make into postcards.

- Use the blank side to write shopping lists.

- Decorate a box or appointment book.

- Heloise


Winter memories

Dear Heloise: My family goes skiing frequently in winter. I keep a scrapbook, and I use postcards from the places we go to, along with our photos. I look for something pretty that has the name of the resort or town. On the back of the photos I write the date we were there and the name of the person or people in the photographs.

- Sonja Y., Clover Creek, Wash.

Sonja, that’s a good idea. I like to collect a business card or takeout menu from restaurants I dine at so I can remember where I ate, especially if the meal was very good.

- Heloise


Fruit juice stains

Dear Heloise: My kids love fresh fruit juices, but my 5-year-old and 7-year-old boys often spill some on their clothing. They’ve ruined several light-colored shirts already, so before they ruin any more, how can I get the juice stains out?

- Meghan A., Boulder, Colo.

Meghan, immediately soak the stained area in cold water. If any stain remains, rub liquid laundry detergent into the area while still wet and launder in warm water and detergent.

Unfortunately, stains are a fact of life. My pamphlet Heloise’s Handy Stain Guide for Clothing can help you with instructions on what to do with everyday stains. To receive a copy, send $5, along with a stamped (70 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise/Stains, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at You’ll even find a section on understanding care labels and special-care laundering hints.

- Heloise


Thanksgiving decorations

Dear Heloise: For holidays, I like to get my kids involved in making decorations for the house or table. We spray-paint pine cones gold and use them as place card holders. My son also likes to draw scenes with pilgrims and various animals on a large sheet of paper, which I then take to an office-supply store and have laminated for place mats. For a front-door decoration, I buy a grapevine wreath from a hobby store, and the kids glue leaves, pine cones, acorns and other natural items on it. By getting them to help with the overall look of the house, it engages them in the holiday spirit.

- Meg L., Niles, Mich.

My sister the mooch!
Nov. 13, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about “moochers” who constantly borrow from others.

“Dear Heloise: My sister is a ‘moocher.’ I don’t have much contact with her because she always wants something of mine, and no matter what it is, it’s something she could afford to buy on her own. When we go to lunch, she never has any money on her, so naturally I pay. When we go shopping, she needs a pair of shoes but is $20 short for the pair that ‘fit like a glove.’ She drops by for a visit in the afternoon and stays for dinner, usually boxing up the leftovers and taking them home. She has a decent job, making a good income for a single woman, but she always seems broke!

“Today was the final straw. She asked me to pay her water bill, but went on to tell me she just spent well over a hundred dollars on a rock concert ticket. My sister is 27 years old, and it’s time she grew up!”

- C.W. in Dallas


C.W., it’s time to start saying “NO” to her requests, no matter how much she claims she needs it. If things are that difficult, she could take on a second job. Many people do.

- Heloise


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some new uses for old drapes:

- Make into a table runner or place mats.

- Roll them up and use as pretty draft-stoppers at the bottom of doors.

- Make a tote out of them.

- Heloise



Dear Heloise: My mother taught me how to keep cut flowers alive longer than just a couple of days. I add a few drops of vinegar and a teaspoon of sugar to the water in the vase. It makes them last a lot longer.

- Maddie R., LaFollette, Tenn.



Dear Heloise: You should always keep your milk on the bottom shelf in the back to keep it from spoiling. If your milk is in front of the fridge or in the door, it will spoil quicker, as it is not as cold there. Since I started putting my milk where a repairman suggested, I have not had any spoiled milk. I have had milk way past the expiration date, and it is still good.

- Janie in Hagerstown, Md.


Antique christening gown

Dear Heloise: I have an antique christening gown, which was handmade by my great-grandmother. It’s been used by babies in my family for generations. I want to have it cleaned and then have it framed, but I’m terrified to wash it. My husband suggested hand-washing it in mild detergent and then laying it out to dry. However, I’m worried that it’s too frail to wash. How do I clean this heirloom?

- Hannah D., Greenville, N.C.

Hannah, something that special needs very careful cleaning. Try to find a dry cleaner that specializes in cleaning antique garments. I wouldn’t recommend washing it because it might shrink or the weave of the fabric might be damaged.

- Heloise

Here's to the rescuers!
Nov. 6, 2019

Dear Readers: For today’s Sound On, I’d like to take a minute to acknowledge those who go out of their way to rescue and adopt homeless animals. They go out in all kinds of weather, sometimes at danger to themselves, and use their time, money and energy to save a life. If they can’t keep the animal, they find a shelter that will care for the cat or dog, or find someone who will foster or adopt it.

It’s the love of animals that motivates them because there really is no other reward, except the joy of seeing a struggling animal survive and thrive.

The best way to help animals is to have your pets neutered or spayed. Remember, when you adopt a pet, you make it part of your family. If you wouldn’t chain your kids up in the yard or abandon them on a lonely road, make them drink dirty water or forget to feed them, then don’t do that to your furry family member.

- Heloise


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some suggestions on what to do with an old wedding dress:

- You can dye it and use again.

- Have it shortened and wear it on your anniversary.

- Have a wedding dress party for ladies only.

- Save it for your daughter to wear someday.

- Heloise


Storing wines

Dear Heloise: I’m having a debate with my husband about storing wine. What are some of the do’s and don’ts?

- Wynona D., Evansville, Ind.


Wynona, a wine rack sitting on a kitchen counter might look cool, but actually, wine should not be stored in the warmest room in the house, where heat can ruin the wine’s taste. You also need to keep the bottles still, with no vibrations, so on top of the refrigerator is a no-no. Overall, wines need to be kept in a cool, dry place with little or no sunlight.

- Heloise


Adding someone to your home deed

Dear Heloise: If someone you know is thinking of adding a person to the deed on their home, they should stop and think. First, it should never be done without the legal advice and assistance of a lawyer. Once you add someone, it’s very difficult to remove the person from your deed. If he or she has financial troubles later, a claim can be made against part or all of your house. Some states allow the other person to sell the share of ownership to a total stranger. My husband and I discovered all this the hard way.

- Brenda and Doug in Florida


Makeup hints

Dear Heloise: Moisturizers are actually designed to keep moisture in the skin, not necessarily to add moisture. The main function of any moisturizer is to keep your skin from drying out. It does that by retaining water in the outer layer of your skin, which helps it maintain a dewy look. And today, many moisturizers also include sunblock to help protect against skin cancer. When selecting a moisturizer, always look for one that is fragrance-free.

- Karen G., Concord, N.H.

Horrendous houseguest?
Oct. 29, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about houseguests who think they are entitled to do nothing.

- Heloise

“Dear Heloise: When I was growing up, I was taught that as a houseguest you make your bed, fold your towels and keep your room picked up. It doesn’t hurt to volunteer to pick up a tab when dining out or to just help with the dishes after a meal.

“I guess no one told my son’s fiancée about such niceties, because while visiting us, she complained about nearly everything: While barbecuing on the outdoor grill, she gave us all a lecture on animal cruelty and why we should be vegan. Her room was a total mess, and she left wet towels on the bathroom floor. I didn’t mind when she asked to use my car, but I felt it was rude to give it back with an empty gas tank. She never lifted a finger to help with anything, but she didn’t mind asking me to do her laundry.

“Don’t people teach their children manners anymore? This young woman is 26 years old, which is old enough to know better!”

- Loren in New Mexico


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some new uses for old cellphones:

- Recycle it. Try services such as

- Donate it to a spousal abuse center, such as a battered women’s shelter (these phones are programmed to call for help).

- Give it to (these donated phones are given to soldiers to call home).

- Give it to a child to use as a toy - remove the SIM card first.

- Heloise


Quick grilled cheese sandwich

Dear Heloise: Since I love a grilled cheese sandwich, but I’m usually in a hurry, I put two pieces of bread in the toaster and after that place a couple of slices of cheese between the two pieces of bread and zap in a microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. There’s very little cleanup and no grease, which means fewer calories as well.

- Dorothy A., Sioux Falls, S.D.


Opal ring

Dear Heloise: I have an opal ring that needs cleaning, but I don’t know how to clean this soft stone. Any hints for me?

- Jean D., Helena, Mont.

Jean, first, determine the type of opal you have. If you have a solid opal, fill a bowl with half a cup of warm water - not hot or cold. Opals are sensitive to extremes of temperature. Add about five drops of unscented, mild detergent, and gently swish the ring around, but do not bang it against the side of the bowl. Then remove and dry with a soft, clean cloth. If you have doublet or triplet opal, do not immerse in solution or water, as this will loosen the glue and separate the pieces. Instead, dip a soft cloth in the solution and gently clean the opal.

Opals should be cleaned every two to three months to avoid accumulation of dirt and dust. - Heloise

The next generation
Oct. 23, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound On is about youth mentoring programs.

- Heloise


“Dear Heloise: Many cities have youth mentoring programs that help young people develop self-esteem and learn more about future careers. They also encourage school attendance, help young people resist bullying and maintain positive relationships with adults and people of other cultures. These programs need responsible adults from all types of careers and backgrounds to help the youth of their community build their confidence and further their education, and often steer them in a positive direction. For those who volunteer, it is often a learning experience for them as well and offers a feeling of having done something important and worthwhile.”

- Helena R. in Texas


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some ways to make a small room seem larger:

- Paint the walls a lighter color.

- Don’t use small furniture; use regular size, but fewer pieces.

- Have ottomans and end tables that also double as storage.

- Avoid clutter. Throw away or give away items you don’t like or don’t use.

- Heloise


Fire safety

Dear Heloise: There are a number of ways to prevent a fire, but sometimes people forget simple and basic rules to keep their home safe from a fire:

1. Never run cords under rugs.

2. Have an extinguisher handy in the kitchen.

3. Install smoke alarms in the home, and change the batteries at least once annually. (Replace the entire alarm every 10 years.)

4. Don’t store lawn mowers or anything with gasoline in unventilated places.

- Jayden P., Woodbridge, Conn.


Lay flat

Dear Heloise: I have garments that say to lay them flat to dry. The problem is, I don’t have a place to lay these things in my tiny apartment. Any hints for me?

- Jackie P., Jefferson City, Mo.

Jackie, lay a towel in the bathtub, then lay your garment on top. When that side is dry, turn it over and dry the other side.

- Heloise



Dear Heloise: I see truffles being used in cooking shows and mentioned in cookbooks. I was told they’re hard to find and expensive. Why?

- Margery L., Yazoo City, Miss.

Margery, truffles grow under the ground, which makes them hard to find. Dogs and pigs are used to search for them due to their powerful sense of smell. The majority of truffles come from Europe, but they are also found in China and even Oregon here in America. This might explain why they’re expensive.

- Heloise



Dear Heloise: I have a lot of different types of tea in bags and loose. Most of it has been stored in a glass container or in the box in which it came. How long does tea last?

- Millie G., Mesa, Ariz.


Millie, tea, if stored correctly, can last a long time. Teas need to be kept in a cool, dark place. It’s best to store tea in a tin or other dark container. Enjoy!

- Heloise

Moving the masses
Oct. 15, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about mass transportation.

- Heloise

“Dear Heloise: This country needs more mass transit between cities. We build highways, but the congestion on our roads is becoming serious. Japan, for example, has a mass transit system, elevated above ground, that is not only energy-efficient, it can move a large volume of people at incredible speeds. There’s no stress or hassle over traffic jams, finding a place to park or exorbitant parking fees.

“With the increase in population over the coming years, we’ll need a mass transit system between all major cities, both above ground and below. The best time to look into this type of travel for our country is NOW.”

- Doug W. in Dallas


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some additional uses for clean kitty litter:

- Use clean litter as a deodorizer in the refrigerator.

- For stinky shoes, place a cup or two of clean cat litter in each leg of an old pair of pantyhose, tie a knot and leave it in the shoes overnight.

- Sprinkle it on oil spots in your garage.

- Keep a bag of cat litter in your trunk to sprinkle under tires in winter for added traction on icy surfaces.

- Heloise


Old scam, new trick

Dear Heloise: I work for the police department in a major metropolitan city on the East Coast. Lately, we’ve been seeing an old scam return to the streets.

Someone will glue money or a cellphone (usually a broken one) onto the sidewalk, then wait for passers-by to try to pick up the item. While concentrating on getting the item of value off the sidewalk, a thief will pickpocket the person or pick up the person’s shopping bag or purse and run off.

- Anonymous, via email


Welcome sign

Dear Heloise: I just read your column on how healthy pineapples are. Pineapples also, in times gone by, were used as a symbol of welcome. People would place a pineapple on their front gate or door as a sign of welcome. How wonderful that would be if it was still used as a welcoming gesture.

- Jennifer E. in North Carolina


Chicken recipe

Dear Heloise: Your recent recipe for Baked Hawaiian Chicken sounded delicious, but do you pour the leftover pineapple juice around the chicken, and do you cover the chicken with foil to bake?

- Margery T., via e-mail

Margery, yes, go ahead and pour the juice over the chicken, if you’d like, and no, there is no need to cover with foil.

- Heloise


Corn silk

Dear Heloise: There is an easy way to get rid of corn silk. Before cooking corn on the cob, grab a dampened paper towel and brush downward on the ear of corn. Repeat until all the corn silk is gone.

- Janet W., Idaho Falls, Idaho

The unfair repair
Oct. 8, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about taking advantage of the public. - Heloise

“Dear Heloise: Recently, I had a repairman out to inspect my heating system, and he came back with an estimate of how much I needed to pay to repair and replace parts. It was a little over $1,200. I said I was going to get a second opinion, which he didn’t like, and he told me the price was good for only 24 hours, then it would go up.

“I got a second opinion, and yes, there were some repairs needed that would cost me about $89. My system is only 6 years old, so I couldn’t imagine how there could be such a high repair bill. Turns out, there was no need to replace so many parts.

“Why do some repair people want to take advantage of a senior citizen or women in general? I know they aren’t all like that, but I’ve encountered too many. Tell your readers to get a second opinion if the price seems too high.”

- Tanya L., Ironwood, Mich.

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some additional uses for mayonnaise:

- Remove sticker residue. Rub in a circular motion.

- Conditioner: Rub a little on your hair and leave for 30 minutes, then shampoo as usual.

- Erase water stains on wood by rubbing a small amount on the stain and letting sit overnight, then wiping up with a clean cloth.

- Rub into cuticles to soften and moisturize them.

- Heloise


Phone scam

Dear Readers: A new scam is hitting homes all over America. Your phone rings once or twice and the caller hangs up. It may have a number with your area code on your phone. Whatever you do, DO NOT call back.

These robocalls connect you to an overseas premium-rate number that keeps you on the line with long holds and other tactics, which are designed to increase your phone bill. If you get scammed, call your phone-service provider and ask that the charges be removed.

- Heloise


Drinking problem?

Dear Heloise: What is considered a moderate drinker of alcohol as compared with an excessive drinker?

- Pamela D., Springfield, Tenn.

Pamela, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that moderate drinking for women is up to one drink per day, and up to two drinks per day for men. A drink is defined by the following:

- 12 ounces of beer

- 8 ounces of malt liquor

- 5 ounces of wine

- 1.5 ounces of 80-proof distilled liquor such as whiskey, gin, rum or vodka.

Excessive drinking for women is having eight or more drinks a week. For men, it’s 15 or more.

If you need help with a drinking problem, speak with your doctor or contact Alcoholics Anonymous in your state.

- Heloise

A ghost of a job
Oct. 1, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about “job ghosting.”

- Heloise

“Dear Heloise: Have you ever heard of ‘job ghosting’? It’s when an employee walks off the job without a notice to anyone and does not give the usual two-week warning that he or she has found a new job. In all the years I’ve worked in human resources, I’ve never seen job ghosting as much as I have in the past couple of years.

“Applicants don’t show up for interviews, a new hire becomes a no-show or an employee leaves for the day and never comes back. That’s job ghosting.

“Ghosting is rude, unprofessional and can have negative results for the employee in the future. No one wants to hire someone who might just walk off the job. All too often that employee who ghosted us leaves us in a difficult position when we need to fill an opening immediately.”

- Corrine W. in Miami

Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some additional uses for petroleum jelly:

- Use on earring posts to make them easier to insert.

- Use on a baby’s bottom to prevent diaper rash.

- Use on cuticles and nails to moisturize and soften.

- Use to take care of hinges that are squeaky.

- Heloise


Wedding dress storage

Dear Heloise: I would love to store my wedding dress. I had it dry-cleaned, and it looks nice, but how do I keep it from yellowing?

- Joyce in Tennessee

Joyce, after cleaning the dress, wrap it in unbleached muslin or acid-free white tissue paper, then wrap in blue tissue paper and store in a sealed box in a cool, dry place. It should last for many years to come.

- Heloise


Cleaning ornate picture frame

Dear Heloise: I have a fancy picture frame that’s carved from wood, and I have a terrible time keeping dust out of the deep areas of the frame. What can I use to clean it?

- Loretta V., Marietta, Ga.

Loretta, try using a hair dryer on high to blow out the dust, or a dry, clean paintbrush to clean out the frame.

- Heloise


Carving a pumpkin

Dear Readers: Here are some tools you can use to clean out a pumpkin before you carve it:

- potato peeler

- ice cream scoop

- metal round seal from a canning jar

- cookie cutter

- fish scaler

- Heloise


Cloudy tea

Dear Heloise: My family and I love iced tea but hate when it looks cloudy. My sister-in-law gave me this hint: Just add a small amount of boiling water to a pitcher of iced tea and stir, and the cloudy appearance goes away.

- Linda W., Bear Swamp, S.C.

Respect and support
Sept. 24, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about America’s educational system.

- Heloise

“Dear Heloise: As schoolchildren go back to their desks and books, I’m reminded of how difficult it is to teach a curriculum today. In other countries, children are taught to respect their teachers. I don’t see it here in the U.S. We’ve taken away all authority from our teachers, blamed them if a student fails in class and made teaching an unattractive profession.

“Currently, we are facing a teacher shortage in some areas of the country, especially in poor districts. Some of the worst shortages are in subjects such as special ed, math and computer science.

“What can districts do to attract better teachers? They can improve pay and benefits, offer additional autonomy, and provide support and mentoring in their school districts. Perhaps the most important part, however, is parental support. They need to get behind the teacher and adopt a ‘zero tolerance for bad grades and bad behavior’ from their children, and that starts in kindergarten.” - Karen in Wisconsin


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Getting married soon? Make sure to consider these financial issues:

- Discuss and agree on how many children to have, where to live, how finances will be handled and career choices.

- Have your wills done.

- Make sure your future spouse is on all banking and investment documents.

- Heloise


New scam alert

Dear Heloise: There is a new scam involving an email that goes to someone and says:

“This is to inform you that your request on: 09/06/2019 2:07:11 p.m. to remove your account from (name of your internet carrier) server has been approved and will initiate in one hour from the exact time you open this message. Regards.

“ignore this message to continue with email removal or “If this deactivation was not requested by you “Please reply us.”

You can tell by the way it’s written that it’s bogus. This is a way for a scammer to get you to click on a site that will enable them to access your computer to gain information on you. Go ahead and ignore it, but DON’T click on the address you are given.

- Norah Y., Providence, R.I.


Polarized Plug

Dear Readers: Have you ever wondered why most electrical plugs have one blade that is wider than the other? This is called a polarized plug, and it’s a safety feature to lower the chance of electrical shock.

The plug will go into an outlet only one way. Don’t force it to fit another way.

- Heloise

No discount for loyalty?
Sept. 18, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about companies trying to get new customers by offering them discounts:

“Dear Heloise: Companies will offer discounts to lure new customers, but what about those of us who have been with them for years? I understand why they do it, but shouldn’t long-standing, loyal customers be rewarded somehow? I really don’t want to shop around, but I feel underappreciated.”

- Dee in Sacramento, Calif.


I understand your frustration, Dee. Take time to compare companies to see if there really are better deals out there. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to contact your company with those other deals to see if they might be able to save you some money by staying with them.

- Heloise


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for those large, empty butter/margarine tubs with lids:

- Store sewing supplies.

- Store crayons.

- Store small items, such as beads for hobbies.

- Store pet food for a short trip.

- Heloise


Prepayment for hospital services

Dear Heloise: A growing trend among hospitals requires patients to prepay out of pocket some or all of the cost of a procedure. You should politely decline. Tell them you prefer to wait until you have an explanation of benefits in hand from your insurance company (or Medicare) so you are able to see how much you actually need to pay.

If they refuse to provide treatment, pay with a credit card. Call the credit card company after your procedure and ask to dispute the payment because it’s not clear how much you owe until you hear from your insurer, as the charge could be incorrect. And if you don’t have insurance or haven’t met your deductible, some hospitals will give you a discount if you prepay for the procedure.

- Ken D. in Chicago


Night sweats

Dear Heloise: I just found out from my doctor that certain medications cause night sweats. I was taking medication for migraines, and suddenly it seemed that I had a problem with night sweats every night. My doctor told me that there are several medications for various illnesses that cause an excessive production from our sweat glands, resulting in night sweats.

- Sandra in Michigan

Sandra, I’m glad you checked with your doctor on this problem rather than ignoring it. If any medication you are taking causes a problem - weight gain, headaches, rashes, etc. - call your physician immediately. A bad reaction to any medication is your body’s way of saying this one’s not right for you.

- Heloise


Letter of laughter

Dear Heloise: I have a hint that other people of short stature may find useful. I was spending a lot of money on seamstresses hemming my pants.

Now I just buy shoes with much higher heels!

- Lisa in Omaha, Neb.


Neighbor barks back
Sept. 11, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about insensitive neighbors:

“Dear Heloise: Our neighbor recently acquired a dog. Our houses are close together. This large dog is left outside in a pen to bark and bark and bark all day. It’s awful. Why do dog owners think that this is OK? All our neighbors are retired and home all day.”

- C.J., Garrettsville, Ohio


C.J., it’s not OK, and in many cities it’s against the law. Have you spoken to your neighbor about this problem? If nothing is done about it, you’ll have no choice other than to call the police and complain that your neighbor has a dog that continually barks. Dogs need interaction with people and crave attention, so your neighbor really needs to bring the dog inside rather than leaving it in the backyard and letting it bark all day. To get a pet and then ignore it is actually a form of abuse.

- Heloise


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Things NOT to put in a compost pile:

- Diseased plants - fungus or bacteria may grow in the compost.

- Sawdust - the wood may have been treated.

- Bread products, meat or bones, cooking oil, rice or milk products.

- Heavily coated or printed paper.

- Heloise


Shrinking cake mixes

Dear Heloise: I have several recipes that list a box of cake mix as an ingredient. However, they specify 18 1/4 ounces, while all I can find are 15 1/4 ounces. I have thought of keeping an extra box so I can add what I am missing, but I need to know how much dry measure of cake mix would equal an ounce.

- Gayle in Monroe, La.


Gayle, roughly 2 teaspoons equal 1 dry ounce. It’s a good idea to keep an extra box of the specific cake mix around to make up the difference. And if you bake a lot, keep a box of white cake mix on hand. Be sure to store the leftover cake mix in an airtight container.

- Heloise


Banana bonanza

Dear Heloise: My mother-in-law keeps telling me to use banana peels in my garden to help my plants grow. Does this really work?

- Briana in Winslow, Ind.

Brianna, your mother-in-law is right! One way is to simply boil the peelings from two or more bananas in about a gallon of water for five minutes. Put the entire mixture in the refrigerator in a covered container for two days, then water your plants with this nutrient-rich tea.

Another method is to cut up the peelings and add them to the root system of the plant as it’s being planted. The banana peel decays and feeds the plant in the process.

A third method is to dry out the peelings, then grind them up (maybe in a blender) and add this to the soil as a fertilizer.

- Heloise


Just a reminder

Dear Readers: Sometimes it’s easy to forget, but your pet should NEVER be left in a hot car during warm days and nights. In many states it’s against the law.

- Heloise

Calling out this scam
Sept. 4, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about a new scam - a serious attempt to get money from parents:

“Dear Heloise: A man phoned my husband and said my husband’s son, Kelly, was in jail in another country because of a car accident in which his son was critically injured. His injuries included a ‘broken eye, broken left arm and face abrasions.’ Also, his friend, who was a passenger in the car, was dead. Since Kelly was impaired at the time of the accident, he would not be released from jail to return to the U.S. until his medical bills were paid. The police were holding his passport and cellphone. We were instructed to go to our bank and get $780 in cash, and were told where to send it.

“Suspecting a scam, I phoned our son’s cellphone and talked to him. He was in Dallas! When we told the man on the phone that we were talking to our son and knew he was a scammer, the man hung up!”

- Richard and Charlotte S. in San Antonio

Richard and Charlotte, you did the right thing by calling your son before sending any money. This is actually an old scam that has been revived to steal money from caring parents. Never believe a stranger who calls out of the blue demanding money for the release of a loved one without first calling that loved one or alerting the police.

- Heloise


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for a potato masher:

- Make designs on peanut butter cookies.

- Break up feta cheese.

- Crush fruit for jams and jellies.

- Mash eggs for deviled eggs.

- Break up ground beef or sausage.

- Heloise


Here, Kitty Kitty

Dear Heloise: My neighbor has cats and doesn’t want to get them fixed, so there are kittens born.

I never had any dogs or cats, but this mother cat came under my little barn and stayed there, giving birth. I called my neighbor and told her that her cat was here, but she didn’t take any responsibility to come get the mother and kittens. What should I do? I put a radio inside the barn, hoping they would leave. They’re still there. I never fed them, so I don’t know how that mother cat can feed those kittens.

- A Reader, Fort Wayne, Ind.


First, call 311 and ask who you should report this to, and you can file a report citing animal abuse, which this may be because your neighbor isn’t taking care of her pets. If the pets aren’t neutered or spayed, then chances are they aren’t vaccinated or licensed, either.

- Heloise


Steel wool is a no-no

Dear Heloise: How do I clean the surface of a nonstick clothes iron?

- Connie B., Elizabeth City, N.C.

Connie, wipe off the bottom of the iron with a clean, wet cloth, and dry it well. Turn the iron on low and place a piece of waxed paper on the ironing board. Run the iron over the waxed paper several times. Then run the iron over an old towel or cloth to remove the wax. Never use steel wool.

- Heloise

Trash in the ocean
Aug. 28, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about ocean and beach trash. - Heloise

“Dear Heloise: My three children and I went to the beach today and were disgusted by the amount of trash on the sand and in the water. What makes people think they can dispose of cans, plastic bottles, paper and assorted plastic toys on the beach or toss them into the ocean? Even an apple core takes two months to break down, so how long do you think it takes plastic to break down?

“I went online and did some investigating, and I discovered that billions of pounds of trash enter our oceans annually. Over 100,000 marine animals die every year due to eating plastic or becoming entangled in a plastic net.

“If you see trash on the beach, pick it up and dispose of it properly. Never throw anything into the ocean. Write to your representatives in Congress and demand that they do more to clean up the oceans and make it a priority.” - Norma E., La Jolla, Calif.


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Never buy the following at a garage sale:

- Mattresses, upholstered furniture, sheets or pillowcases: Even if they look clean, you might be taking home insect eggs, bedbugs and body oils from other people.

- Bike helmets and baby bottles: You don’t know how safe they are.

- Tires: They’re likely to be unstable.

- Pets: You could end up with an unhealthy pet and vet bills.

- Hats, swimsuits and underwear: These are personal items that probably carry body oils and possibly bacteria.

- Heloise


Feeding the baby

Dear Heloise: I’ve found that feeding a baby in an upright position (or as much as possible) enables the bubbles at the bottom of the stomach to rise with greater ease when you burp the baby. Then massage the infant’s back rather than patting to bring on a burp. - Paige in Missouri


Laminated countertops

Dear Readers: When cleaning a laminated countertop, don’t use abrasive cleaners, as they scratch and eventually remove the finish. Mild soap and water usually is enough to clean it, and if a stain occurs, put a little lemon juice on the spot, then some baking soda to form a paste. Gently rub in a circular motion, then rinse. - Heloise


Less ironing

Dear Heloise: I’ve discovered that if you take your sheets out of the dryer as soon as they’re done and make the bed with the warm sheets, they iron themselves. You won’t have to fold them either, which will save you time and effort.

This applies to knit tops, too. Take them out of the dryer and hang the garments up immediately, and the wrinkles usually fall right out. No need for ironing. - Gracie W., Meridian, Miss.

Educational partnership
Aug. 21, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about parent involvement in education. - Heloise

“Dear Heloise: I started teaching in public schools in 1978, and over the years, I’ve witnessed a decline in parental involvement in children’s education. Raising a child is not easy, but when you choose to be a parent, you choose to take on a very difficult job, much of which means being involved with your child’s education, self-discipline, responsibility and teaching that life’s actions have consequences.

“Studies have shown that when parents are actively involved with their children’s education, the students have a better chance of being successful in accomplishing their goals. Helping children with their homework and volunteering time at the school stresses the importance of an education to them.

“I know a career/job is important, but so is your child. Which of these two will have the greatest impact on this world once you’re gone? You leave nothing behind of greater importance than your children, so invest time, interest and effort in their education. If your son or daughter doesn’t perform well in school, get together with the teachers to find out how the two of you can motivate your child to improve his or her grades.” - Grace J., Sausalito, Calif.


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for egg cartons:

- Keep beads in them if you’re a crafter.

- Keep small nuts and bolts in one.

- Sort extra buttons in one.

- Keep small earrings in them.

- Heloise


Candle wax on carpet

Dear Heloise: I have candle wax on my carpet. How do I get it out? - Jill S., Nampa, Idaho

Jill, put ice in a metal pan and place the pan on the wax until the wax is frozen hard. Remove the pan and hit the wax with something blunt (such as the handle of a dinner knife) to make the wax shatter, then vacuum up the pieces. If the wax is down into the fibers, put rubbing alcohol on a clean, white cloth, and blot and press until the wax is removed. - Heloise


Whiter whites

Dear Heloise: My white sheets and towels have gotten a little gray over time. How can I whiten my linens?
- Lisa V., Raton, N.M.

Lisa, to keep your sheets and towels from looking gray, add 1/2 cup of baking soda along with the regular amount of chlorine bleach to a load of linens in the washer.

This laundry hint is from my pamphlet Heloise’s Baking Soda Hints and Recipes, which contains many more ideas to make your life easier and provide you with solutions to everyday cleaning and household problems. To get a copy, send $5, along with a stamped (70 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at To keep odors at bay in your clothes hamper, make a sachet by filling a paper coffee filter with some baking soda and taping it close. Toss it into the clothes hamper and replace it every few weeks or so. - Heloise

Wedding food to go?
Aug. 14, 2019

Dear Readers: Today’s Sound Off is about inappropriate behavior at a wedding:

“Dear Heloise: I recently went to a wedding and was appalled when a couple of the guests went to the buffet table and started to load up plastic containers with food. Neither the bride nor the groom gave them permission to help themselves to ‘takeout’ and certainly NOT to fill 10 containers with food. Have people lost all manners these days?”

- A Reader in Pennsylvania


Someone from the catering staff should have talked to them. Behavior like that is inappropriate.

- Heloise


Fast Facts

Dear Readers: Here are some other uses for stand-up paper towel holders:

- Use to hold additional rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom.

- Keep bracelets stored and easy to find.

- Keep large rolls of various types of tape on them.

- Heloise


Fiberglass frustration

Dear Heloise: I have a cloudy-looking fiberglass shower door. I hate the way it looks. How can I get it to shine once more?

- Bess M., Hollywood, Fla.

Bess, if you want your fiberglass shower door to sparkle, wash it with 4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of water. Or put baking soda on a damp sponge for scrubbing action.

- Heloise


Bye-bye, blues

Dear Heloise: I just bought a nice pair of jeans, but how can I keep the blue from fading? These fit so well that I want to keep them looking good.

- Rose V., Council Bluffs, Iowa

Rose, first, turn your jeans inside out, then wash them in cold water and dry on the lowest heat. Try dry-cleaning them once every five or six washings to slow down the fading process. If your jeans fade too much, you can always dye them to restore the color.

- Heloise


Hard-water buildup

Dear Heloise: How do I get rid of hard-water buildup on my drinking glasses? - Leah S., Jericho, N.Y.

Leah, to remove hard-water buildup on drinking glasses, try soaking the glasses in warmed (not boiling) household vinegar for about an hour (or overnight), then scrubbing them with a nylon-net scrubber. If the hard-water buildup does not come off, you may have permanently etched the glass, and nothing can be done to correct this problem.

Looking for more easy household hints? If so, you’ll love my pamphlet Heloise’s Fantabulous Vinegar Hints and More! To get a copy, send $5, along with a stamped (70 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at Vinegar will clean all things glass, including decanters, windows, mirrors and windshields.

- Heloise


Alzheimer’s scam

Dear Readers: Recently, the Food and Drug Administration has taken issue with several companies that claim their vitamins help or prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, these false claims may stop someone from seeing a qualified physician for an accurate diagnosis.

While dietary supplements may be good for a person’s overall health, claims that taking certain nutrients can help Alzheimer’s disease have yet to be proven.

- Heloise









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