Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND
OFF, about holding a door for someone:
“My husband and
I recently traveled 3,000 miles through the heartland of the U.S. He is
handicapped, but is pretty good in his wheelchair.
"My Sound Off is
about the lack of manners espoused by people in gas stations,
restaurants, etc. They see us coming, me pushing the wheelchair and no
handicapped-accessible entry. They look at us and keep walking, leaving
us to struggle. I cannot think how someone handicapped and traveling
alone must feel. In this age of ‘pay it forward,’ how about holding the
door for someone? Don’t ignore someone in a wheelchair.” - PS in CS,
Dear PS: They
should be ashamed. It takes just a moment to be kind and help someone
who needs a little assistance. However, some may be shy or not know what
the right thing to do is. Folks, just ask! “Can I hold the door?” “Need
a hand with those bags?” The worst that can happen is the person says
- Hugs, Heloise
Hints for storing stuffed animals:
* In a large
* Use hanging
planter hooks on walls.
* Stuff all into
a beanbag cover.
* Use fabric or
netting as a hammock.
* On top shelves
Dear Heloise: I
have an old recipe that calls for “sour milk.” I have no idea how to
sour milk. What is “sour milk,” anyway? - Hannah, via email
Today we call it
“buttermilk” that you buy in the store. It’s milk that is “soured” (not
bad or old milk) and has a tart taste. Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to a
cup of WHOLE milk. Mix well and let sit out for five minutes or so. The
milk will sour - it’s kind of cool to watch the process. It will get a
little thick, and the longer it sits, the more “clumps” of solids
appear. Vinegar is just about my favorite go-to product to keep on hand
- so many uses! Want to know what else it can take care of? Order my
vinegar pamphlet. Visit my website, www.Heloise.com, or send $5 and a
long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar,
P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Making a gelatin mold? Add
1 teaspoon of white vinegar to the recipe to help the gelatin stay firm.
Dear Heloise: I
use claw-type hair clips. Sometimes a tooth breaks. Instead of throwing
broken ones away, I use them on my plants. They come in handy for
securing plants to stakes or clipping a vine to a trellis, etc. -
Michelle L., Mobile, Ala.
Dear Heloise: I
have a hint for watering plants that are hard to reach: I use an old
sports bottle. The spout with a straw makes it easy to get the water to
the plant without making a big mess. - Ross in Las Vegas
Inner Cap Brings Out Frustration
Aug. 20, 2015
Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about inner safety caps on packaging:
“I am sure I am
not the only one who gets frustrated trying to remove the inner cap on a
sauce or other food-product bottle. The manufacturers leave only an
infinitesimal-size tab to pull off the cap, which is impossible to do.
The only way to remove it is to stick a knife through it. The makers
will claim it is for safety so people don’t tamper with the product in
the store. Surely they could come up with a better alternative.” -
Joseph B., Lake Worth, Fla.
you, thank you, thank you! I was just going to write about this! I used
a table knife (meaning not sharp) and almost impaled my hand trying get
that tiny little sucker unstuck!
The “pull up
here” tab on the side is microsize. I’m not going to break a fingernail,
and show me how anyone can rip that off with bare hands (no tools or
teeth), and I’ll award a Heloise certificate of appreciation. -
Other uses for baby powder:
- Use as a dry
- Use to help
remove sand from skin more easily.
- Sprinkle in
shoes to freshen.
- Sprinkle some
on a tangled necklace.
- Use to cool
sheets and absorb nighttime sweats.
Thanks for reminding drivers to turn on their headlights in times of
limited visibility. Taillights are just as important in these
conditions, especially when it’s foggy. However, most people do not know
that the taillights are lit only when the headlights are turned on and
do not automatically come on when we drive. - Shirley G., North
You had a recipe to make an essential-oil scrub. Could you please
reprint it? It was just wonderful! - Toni, via email
Toni, glad to
reprint this favorite of mine. Best part? It’s cheap to make, and makes
your feet feel great! Here is all you need:
- 1 cup of
- 1/2 cup of
carrier oil, like almond
- A few drops
of your favorite essential oil
ingredients until the mixture is thick as a scrub. Place in a plastic
container and mark clearly. It is great to use while taking a hot shower
or bath. This is a great scrub for removing dull and dry skin. Enjoy!
Dear Heloise: We
had a pet sitter come to our house while on vacation for a week. We
haven’t had one before. I set all the supplies she would need, in order
by days, out on the kitchen counter.
- Helen T., via email
Whenever I send a letter that is a little thick, I tape around the edges
of the envelope. It gives it a little extra protection from ripping
open. - Ted H., sent from my phone
rough walk in the garden
Aug. 12, 2015
Dear Readers: Here is this week’s Sound Off, about gardening-center
"My Sound Off is garden centers that have uneven pathways. It makes
it very hard to pull a wagon or push a cart to shop."
— A.R., via email
I’m with you on this one. It’s wonderful to walk around and find the
plants you want for your yard. However, it can be hazardous, as many of
the walkways are gravel, pavers or even large stones. Management, stroll
through your place as if you are a new customer. A little uneven, wobbly
and slippery when wet?
Consider making it pleasurable and safe to wander around. Happy
customers mean more sales!—
Dear readers: Other uses for pool noodles:
— Cut and use as a boot stand.
— Slice in half and use as a toy-car racetrack.
— Cut and place over a bed frame to protect the
— Roll quilts and blankets around and use to
— Protect babies by wrapping the noodles around
table legs and sharp edges.
Dear Heloise: Help! I accidentally left some damp clothes in a
plastic bag and forgot about them. They now have spots of mildew! Is
there anything I can do to save them?
— Embarrassed No Last Name, via email
I am here to help! First hang them up or lay out to dry. Then use a
brush to remove as much of the mildew as possible, being sure to do this
outside! Next, are the garments bleachable? If so, mix a very mild
solution of 1 tablespoon of household chlorine bleach to 1 quart of
water. Soak the garment in the solution for 20 minutes
— longer will NOT
work any better. Remove, rinse and wash as you usually do, while adding
1/2 cup of chlorine bleach to the wash cycle.
If the garment is not bleachable, try good old vinegar. Pour on the
spots and let sit for an hour or so. Repeat as necessary to completely
remove the stain. Have another tough stain you need help with? Order my
pamphlet to get all my stain-removing hints. Visit my website,
www.Heloise.com, or send
$5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to:
Heloise/Stain Guide, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.
Using a spray stain remover? Turn the garment inside out and spray the
wrong side to help remove the stain.
Soak the bandage
Dear Heloise: My son hates taking off bandages, even though he loves
putting them on. I learned to not fight him on taking them off. We just
wait until bath time every night and let them soak off. No pain for him,
and no struggle for Mom. — Leslie in
Thimble in a pinch
Dear Heloise: I couldn’t find my thimble the other day. In a pinch, I
grabbed the plastic cap off my hair-spray bottle. It worked just as
T.H. in Texas
Groceries, not garbage
Aug. 5, 2015
Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about supermarket carts:
“When my hubby and I grocery-shop, we each bring in a cart and come out
with no carts. It is so easy to do this. My gripe is: When did shopping
carts become personal wastebaskets? The things left in them can be
disturbing.” - Polly K., Mission Viejo, Calif.
Polly, I hope not too disturbing! A shopping list, plastic produce bag
or hand wipe might be left behind, but most anything beyond that can be
yucky! There usually are trash cans by the entry/exit door. Folks, toss
YOUR trash. - Heloise
P.S.: Polly, thanks for the reminder to take a “stray” shopping cart
into the store.
Dear Readers: Here are other uses for small plastic pots that plants
Use as a scoop for potting soil when planting.
Prop up a painting project so sides are easier to paint.
Sort nuts and bolts in a garage.
Use to start new seedlings in.
Make into a yarn or twine dispenser. Pull the yarn through one hole.
Dear Heloise: Help! I seem to have sunscreen stains on my swimsuits! I
think I remember reading about you telling us how to get rid of them.
Help! - E. Williams, Key West, Fla.
You did read it here, and it’s time for a reprint. Use straight liquid
laundry detergent and pour it onto the stains. Sort of rub in with your
fingers or a soft old toothbrush, then let sit for 30 minutes or so.
It’s important to give the detergent “work time” rather than washing
right away. The swimsuits then can be hand-washed in cool water. Dry by
hanging up in the shower, then check to see if the stain is gone. If
not, re-treat. Try to apply sunscreen and let it dry and absorb before
putting your swimsuit on, or use care when slapping on sunscreen.
Have fun, but be safe in the sun! -Heloise
Clean the rugs
Dear Heloise: Once a month or so, I shake out and wash the area rugs we
place by the doors and the dog beds. You would be surprised how dirty
they can get. The dog one does get a little stinky, too. Most of them I
just throw in the washing machine and then let air-dry. - Lynette in
Lynette, how right you are. - Heloise
Water with cubes
Dear Heloise: Whenever I am done drinking a glass of water, I dump the
ice cubes into my potted plants. The ice melts slowly, and there is no
overflow of water that sometimes happens. - Romda in Atlanta
Dear Heloise: I wash my hands a lot during the day, and they get so dry.
I now keep a bottle of lotion next to every sink in the house. As soon
as I dry my hands, I put lotion on. No more dry, cracked hands.
- Amanda, via email
In the Bag, Then In the Trash
July 30, 2015
Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about disposing of dog
“I frequent several parks. Many provide bags to dispose of dog waste.
There is often a trash can, too. My Sound Off is dog owners who use the
bags for their dogs but then throw the bags on the side of the trail.
What is the point? Why put it in the bag if you aren’t going to throw it
away? It sits there, or someone else picks it up to throw away. Please
do the right thing.” - A Concerned Reader in Texas
Hmm - what are they thinking? “Oh, I’m going to bag the waste, which is
good, but toss it on the side of the trail, which is bad”? Or maybe they
think the bag will decompose? Carry the darn bag with you to the next
trash can! If you find it yucky, then don’t walk your dog in a public
park! - Heloise
Dear Readers: Other uses for shoulder pads:
Stuff with catnip and sew into cat toys.
Stuff a pillow for a dog bed.
* As bra uplift pads.
Pin to a hanger - no bumps on sweaters.
Pad heels or toes in shoes.
Dear Readers: You are inventive and creative as always. I asked for your
hints about a second life for a changing table. Here are just a few:
Nancy P., via email, “Besides having two for garden supplies and a work
station, I have one that I use for a grooming table for my Scottish
Terrier - sure beats bending over.”
Sara Clark in Fullerton, Calif., wrote, "When baby is not visiting, my
two cats use the changing table as a comfy place from which to look out
the window or take a nap.”
S.S. in Texas wrote, “I took the pad off and use it as a shoe rack for
all of my son’s shoes, now that he is older.”
Sandi, via email, wrote: “We cut the legs off our two-tier changing
table, have cushions on both tiers and have ‘doggie bunks.’ Our Brittany
spaniel has the top bunk, and my son’s roommate’s dachshund has the
Thanks for all the great ideas! - Heloise
Dear Heloise: It was always a fight to get my son to wear a helmet while
riding his bike. To make it “cooler,” I got some cheap craft foam, and
we decorated it to look like a dinosaur. We painted it and used
double-sided tape to put it on his helmet. Now he wears his helmet, but
I do have to remind him once in a while. - Cathy, via email
Dear Heloise: Sometimes I forget to put in my hearing aids as I dash out
the door. I wrote a small note on neon-colored paper that says
“REMEMBER,” and taped it right above the handle on my storm door.
Reminds me every time. - A Reader, via email
Show You Care -
July 23, 2015
Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about magazines in waiting
“One of my greatest aggravations is, while browsing through a magazine
in a waiting room, turning to a recipe or article, only to find it
missing. I have never had a staff member refuse to make a copy of the
desired information for me. Everyone wins when taking home info by this
- R.W. in Center Point, Texas
It would be nice if others were courteous about NOT tearing out pages
from magazines like that! Your hint asking the staff to make a copy
probably is not a problem. Depending on how busy they are and the office
policy, most will help. Or, note the magazine and recipe name, then when
you get to a computer, look it up on the magazine’s website. Most are
posted. - Heloise
Dear Readers: Other uses for paper coffee filters:
Absorb grease when cooking bacon.
Hold a crispy taco to prevent a mess
Strain liquid out of a bottle with a broken cork.
Place over food when heating in a microwave.
Catch ice-pop drips with one.
Dear Heloise: My boys and I go camping a lot during the summer. Problem
is, the ice cooler really smells musty when we get it out for the next
trip. I hose it out every time, but still it’s pretty bad.
- Bruce E., via email
Your first step is good, but it needs to be CLEANED with soap and water,
too. Fill it with water, add a squirt of dish soap and scrub with a
scrub brush, or even a plastic broom. Rinse well, then turn upside down
to dry. Here is the secret: Before storing, sprinkle half a box or so of
baking soda inside. This should help absorb any odors that seem to
linger. Dump out the baking soda, and you are ready to go. Don’t you
just love baking soda? If not, you should, because it has so many safe
and green uses around the house and garage. Want to find out how else I
use it? Order my pamphlet.
To receive, go to my website,
www.Heloise.com, or send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70
cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio,
Going on a long hike? Sprinkle some baking soda on your feet before you
put your shoes and socks on. This will keep your feet fresh and dry all
Dear Heloise: I try on clothes a lot before buying them. When trying on
tops, it can be tricky to get the garment on without getting any makeup
on the shirt. When I go shopping, I stuff a scarf in my purse. I slip it
over my head and face before putting on a garment. No makeup gets on the
garment, which I am sure the salespeople and customer buying it
appreciate. - M.N., via email
light problem at the movies
July 16, 2015
Dear Readers: Here is this week’s Sound Off, about children and movies:
“When you go to the movies, they tell you to turn off cellphones, etc.
But little kids with the lights on their shoes are very annoying - worse
“The children don’t sit still. Please ask parents to be aware of this.”
- Jerry, via email
Who would have “thunk” it, that sneakers could disrupt a movie? But if
they have lights on them, they can.
P.S.: For adult moviegoers, turn off the cellphone! It’s selfish to sit
there texting during the movie. The light from your cellphone is
distracting to others.
Dear Readers: Items to use to check a cake in the oven:
An uncooked piece of spaghetti.
A hot dog or marshmallow skewer.
Cleaning a vacuum
Dear Heloise: I have a bagless vacuum and empty the container every time
I vacuum. But it just seems it’s never really clean. - Kari G., via
There seems to be a divide on bagless vacuums. Some love them; others
don’t. I’m in the “don’t” category. Most have a filter (or two) that
needs to be cleaned, depending on the amount of use and how much dirt
the vacuum picks up. Filters should be “dusted”off and rinsed under hot,
running water. Don’t use dish soap unless the manufacturer recommends
doing so. If not completely rinsed out, the soap can leave a fine film
behind that then clogs the filter. - Heloise
P.S.: I have a bagless vac sitting in my garage, waiting to be adopted!
Dear Heloise: When my son was young, he had a favorite blanket that he
carried everywhere. When he got older, he didn’t want it. I put it on a
shelf in his room as decoration. Every once in a while, he asks me to
get it down for him as a security blanket on bad days. - Greta in
Dear Heloise: When someone in my house is sick, I change the sheets and
pillowcases every day. I feel it reduces the chance of spreading the
illness. If you are trying to get better but are lying on a pillowcase
that is full of germs, it may prolong the ailment. - Vivianne, via
Vivianne, it certainly can’t hurt to change the sheets daily. Do keep in
mind: If the person is not sharing a bed, those “germs” probably are not
going to re-infect that person. Changing only pillowcases daily would
cut down on the amount of laundry that needs to be done. Unless the sick
person is throwing up or otherwise not able to control bodily functions,
the bottom and top sheet could be changed every three to four days.
If you are concerned about the spread of germs, wash the linens in a
separate load of laundry with the correct amount of chlorine bleach
indicated on the bottle. - Heloise
Ads shouldn’t toot their horns!
July 10, 2015
Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about radio advertisements:
“I listen to FM radio (Heloise here: not satellite radio) while driving.
My Sound Off is about commercials from car dealerships that use a car
horn in the ads. Do they realize how distracting that can be while
driving? I hear a car horn while driving and get into defense mode,
expecting that some collision is inevitable. Lay off the horn!” - L.G.
in San Antonio
Good point - don’t need another LOUD, distracting noise while driving,
especially one that is associated with driving! Don’t get me started
about the LOUD siren sound effect! I’m ready to pull over, thinking it’s
an ambulance or firetruck! - Heloise
Dear Readers: Here are other uses for a wine rack:
Use to store rolled magazines.
Use to store wrapping paper.
Use to hold skeins of yarn.
Attach to wall to hold scarves.
Roll guest hand towels and store for bathroom.
Dear Heloise: I have recently been diagnosed with an allergy to
fragrance. I had no idea how much fragrance we use! I’m having
difficulty finding cleaners. I need products for glass and bathrooms.
I’ve seen you come through before, and I’m counting on you. - Mary
Ann S., via email
Mary Ann, thanks for the vote of confidence. Many of my readers seem to
be developing allergies to fragrances. I don’t know what’s up, but I’m
here to help. I’ve always said that most cleaners you need in your home
can be made at home! Here goes with a short list.
For glass or mirrors, try a simple rubbing-alcohol-based cleaner. Mix
1/4 cup of isopropyl alcohol (70-90 percent) in a quart of water. Use an
empty spray bottle and LABEL CLEARLY.
For the bathroom, use the above for counters and sinks. If there is a
little mold or mildew, use hydrogen peroxide (3 percent) to banish it
away. You can pour it on a paper towel, or put it in a spray bottle. For
most surfaces, a drop or two of dish soap into 8 ounces of water works.
These are very mild, and safe to use. Want to know what other cleaners
you can make at home for just pennies? Order my pamphlet that is full of
homemade cleaners. To receive, go to my website, www.Heloise.com, or
send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to:
Heloise/Cleaners, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.
Prevention is better than curative, so quick-clean sinks, counters and
even the toilet every few days rather than once a week. - Heloise
P.S.: Run the toilet brush around the commodes daily to prevent lime
Dear Heloise: I was constantly “losing” my cellphone in my purse! I had
a small cloth pouch that held my phone. I did a quick stitch and sewed
it into the cloth interior near the top. Now I can find in quickly.
- Norma F. in San Francisco
Conveying a germ concern
July 5, 2015
Dear readers: Here is this week's SOUND OFF, about food conveyor belts
at grocery stores:
“My Sound Off is about grocery stores encouraging me to put the small
plastic basket on the conveyor to unload my groceries. My concern is the
unsanitary practice this is. The baskets have been on the floor, thereby
potentially transferring filth and germs to the same surface that food
items are placed on. We live in a ranching community - use your
imagination as to where shoes and boots might have been!”
- Donna in Greycliff, Mont.
No need to think much to guess where that footwear may have been.
However, the conveyor belt itself is not the cleanest, either. Most food
is packaged, and we are taught to rinse fruit and veggies before eating.
That said, simply tell the checker you want to leave it in the basket.
Dear Readers: Here are other uses for a coin purse:
Make a mini sewing kit and store inside it.
Store extra buttons in one.
Make a mini first-aid kit with it.
Keep extra bobby pins or hair clips in one.
Store business cards in one.
Dear Heloise: I, too, was frustrated with the top sheet coming untucked.
So I came up with a solution. All you need is an old pair of rubber
flip-flops. Simply tie a corner of the sheet to the toe strap of the
flip-flop and slide it under the corner of the mattress. Do the same on
the other corner. It works great!
- Regina, via email
Brilliant! I love it, and you for sharing. I have “satin” sheets (on my
side of the bed), and I've done just about everything! - Heloise
Dear Heloise: When my brother deployed, we wanted to keep in touch with
him. The first care package I sent included a box of envelopes (several
pre-addressed to me), a package of paper and pens, also a sheet with the
addresses of friends and family he might want to write. I sent it to him
by email, but wanted a “backup,” just in case. He wrote notes to Mom and
Dad, and to me. He said how much a real letter (on paper) meant to him.
Email is great, but it's just not the same as seeing an envelope.
- Chrissy in Arlington, Va.
Chrissy, when I sent care packages, I included paper airplanes, jacks
and playing cards. I saved weeks of the comics from the newspaper to
“stuff” the box. Don't forget the fun things. - Hugs, Heloise
Dear Heloise: I used a hint about carrying a small supply of daily
medication in your purse in case you forget to take it. I used a weekly
pill divider. The problem is the pills rattle and make noise in my
purse. I had an extra-soft eyeglass case and slipped the pill divider
into it to muffle the sound. - Ingrid in Florida
These Things Rust?
June 24, 2015
Dear Readers: Here
is this week's SOUND OFF, about items rusting:
"My Sound Off is
about things that are supposed to get wet, but when they do, they get
rust. I've enclosed a photo. (Heloise here: The photo shows a string
mop, with a metal ring about a third of the way down. Rust city!) I have
rust on my bathroom basin and washing machine. Whoever made these
products, didn't they know they would get wet?" -- Kathleen H., Camp
I am as outraged as you. Call the manufacturers right now! This is
absolutely ridiculous! The metal ring around the mop is rusting? Huh?
SHAME! Fight back. Call the manufacturer; take the mop back to the
store. DON'T buy that brand again. -- Heloise
Readers: Other items to use as a jewelry stand:
* A coffee-mug
* A cupcake
* A large frame
with a screen in it.
* A corkboard
with decorative thumbtacks.
* A small branch
from a dead tree.
I love the last hint! Eco-friendly, unique and simple to do. Give me a
can of spray paint, red or black, for my bathroom (blue for the guest
bath) and I'm ready to create. Oh yes, don't like the way the color
turned out? Just spray over it with a new one. How simple, cheap and
fun! -- Heloise
Dear Readers: As
usual, you came through with wonderful hints for Carolyn from Texas. She
had a spoon collection, many from her 30 years of teaching school.
Rita in Idaho wrote:
"She can make wind chimes, rings or napkin rings with them. She also can
top a kitchen gift as an ornament, or attach them to a wreath."
S. Kangas in
Philip, S.D., wrote: "My daughter received several from her grandmother,
and she used ornament hooks to put the little spoons on her Christmas
tree. She thought of her grandmother every time she looked at the tree."
Stacy in New
Hampshire suggested: "Why not use her spoons as handles on her drawers,
cabinets and other 'handles' throughout the house? This way she can
revisit her travels every time she opens something." Heloise here: Love
this! Talk about happy memories every time you see or open a cabinet.
Connecticut wrote: "Buy a glass-top table, coffee table or end table,
and use a mounting underneath. Place them there with some soft lighting
-- what a conversation piece."
sharing your hints, folks! -- Hugs, Heloise
Dear Heloise: Don't
throw away that old iron and ironing board! Keep them for crafting. I
needed a new iron (the old one worked, but was beat up and dingy). I use
the old one as my crafting iron. This way, the new one doesn't get
gunked up when I work on my sewing projects. Iron-on patches, fusible
webbing, etc., can gunk up an iron pretty quickly! -- Terry B., via
alone the dogs of work
June 18, 2015
Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about service dogs:
“My wife has a cute little (38 pounds) miniature schnauzer mix. This dog
alerts her to low blood sugar and does several other things for her. My
area of concern is those adults who feel they have to pet this dog. Roy
(the wonder dog) wears a vest in public with patches that state he is a
’’service dog’ and ‘please don’t pet me, I’m working.’ Yet people just
have to reach out and touch him.
“I was brought up that you never touch another person’s dog without
asking! People, please read the vest and ask permission to touch/pet,
and if permission is not granted, don’t get upset.”
- Pete S., Fredericksburg, Va.
Give Roy a pet from me, with your permission, of course! I’ve written
about this for years! It’s tempting, folks, but PLEASE ask before even
approaching. Service dogs are in WORK MODE, and that means they protect
and take care of their person. Don’t distract service dogs, no matter
how adorable they are. Would you want to be “petted” while you are
driving in heavy traffic? - Heloise
Dear Readers: Other uses for clean foam takeout containers:
As a paint tray.
As packing material.
Use in arts and crafts.
Itchy insect bites
Dear Heloise: You printed a hint about using baking soda for minor
insect bites. We always have a box in our camping gear, and one when we
go to the beach. We used it once for a sting from a jellyfish someone
stepped on. - Tom A., Clearwater, Fla.
Tom, baking soda is super for little insect bites. Please note: For
jellyfish, DO NOT rinse with tap water. Make a paste of seawater and
baking soda, pat it on the site and let sit. Then rinse with seawater.
Baking soda is a miracle product that can be used for so many different
purposes. Want to know what else I use it for? Order my baking-soda
pamphlet. Go to my website, www.Heloise.com, or send $5 and a long,
self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda,
P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. A little itchy after
gardening? Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to your bath to soothe your skin.
Dear Heloise: I have beautiful Labrador retriever, Buddy, who is 6 years
old and 105 pounds, and still gets into mischief. I purchased several
dog beds, only to find them ripped to shreds. I have a 5- by 7-foot
throw rug and place it on top of a foam bed. He finally just lies on it
without destroying it. - Sandra S., via email
Dear Heloise: I have big pine cones that I lay in potted plants. It
discourages our cats from playing in them. When I “water” the cones
thoroughly when watering the plant, they close up when wet. When they
open up, I know it’s time to water. - Marilyn G., Conway, Ark.
People ponder pill packs
June 11, 2015
Dear Readers: Wow, those annoying “BLISTER PACKS” of pills are really
causing blisters! So many responded to the Sound Off about medication in
the blister packs! Most emails and letters shared hints on how to get
the medication out. Some suggestions were: Carol B., a seam ripper;
Bayne P., scissors; Susan G., a dental hook; and Lynnette, a letter
opener. One reader, Jeanine R., said the pharmacy will repackage the
pills if asked.
The following letter is from Jack B., who shed some light on the subject
from the other side of the counter - the manufacturer. I had to edit for
space, but the message is still clear:
“I worked in the pharmaceutical industry until my retirement. Making
packaging easy to open, especially for the elderly or those with
arthritis, has always been an issue. This kind of packaging is actually
more expensive than putting the meds in a bottle. So why do the drug
companies do it? There are several reasons: 1. Some meds degrade faster
than others, and keeping them hermetically sealed until they are opened
ensures their potency. 2. Individually packaged meds make it easier for
users to see if they have taken their dose each day. 3. As you stated in
your response, individually packaged meds are virtually childproof. It’s
a fine balance to achieve these goals and still make the meds easy to
get out. It is a nuisance, but I think that the benefits outweigh any
Jack, thank you for the confirmation and your insight! It makes a lot
more sense now why companies put the medicines in these packages. We
still may not like it, but we can at least understand the situation. Two
other readers shared good points:
From Joyce: “When my mom went into assisted living, the meds were
required to be in blister packs. The staff administers the pills, and
all remaining pills must be accounted for. Counting the blisters is more
sanitary and efficient.”
From Kay: “I cut the packs into strips, with seven pills in each strip,
and then use these as a ‘weekly’ amount. I can see if I’ve taken them
all by just counting Monday-Sunday.”
P.S.: Keep pills in ANY container, pillbox or blister pack OUT OF THE
REACH OF CHILDREN! Don’t keep them on the kitchen table or counter if
small children are around.
Dear Readers: Here are other uses for a magazine holder:
Use it to store plastic wrap, aluminum foil, etc., in the kitchen.
Keep flat irons, curling irons, etc., in one.
Put extra rolls of toilet paper in one if it is wide enough.
Keep children’s artwork in one.
Put in a pantry as a place to store canned goods.
Dear Heloise: I was brushing my teeth after drinking coffee when I
noticed how stained my cup was from coffee. I put a dab of toothpaste on
a paper towel and cleaned the cup. It came out sparkling clean!
- A.H., via email