Hints From Heloise: Open the door to cleaning

July 4

Dear Heloise: Do you have some hints on how to CLEAN ENTRY DOORS? I have a wooden front door and glass and metal back doors. -- Paula in Tennessee

Here are some easy ways to clean both. For the wooden door, use a broom to sweep away any excess dirt and cobwebs. Hose it down, and then use a microfiber cloth to wipe dry. If you want, you can use a soft terry towel and car or furniture polish to give it a coat of wax to protect it from the elements.

For the glass and metal doors, clean the glass with full-strength vinegar and dry with newspaper for no streaks. Then wipe the metal portion of the door with a damp rag (water only).

Any metal hardware, doorknobs, hinges, etc., can be cleaned with a little soap and water. Whenever I clean my doors, I take the time to check the weatherstripping to see if it needs replacing. Clean doors make for an inviting entranceway! -- Heloise

TRAVEL HINT

Dear Heloise: We recently had the experience of missing luggage while traveling abroad. Adding to the confusion was our difficulty communicating with the airline representative due to language issues. He asked us to describe the missing luggage and showed us a poster of many different sizes, shapes and colors. Ultimately, we did reunite with our bags six hours later. However, on the way back, we snapped a photograph of our luggage just prior to checking it in. How easy it would have been to identify the luggage had we had this photo to show the airline baggage coordinator. -- Linda G., via e-mail

CLEAN CAR MATS

Dear Heloise: My rubber car mats are really dirty. Do you have any hints on how to clean them? -- Steve in Texas

For a good cleaning, make a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Give the mats a good scrub with the solution and rinse well. Then let them air-dry thoroughly before putting them back into your car. To keep them cleaner between scrubbings, take them out and vacuum regularly. Vinegar is a cheap and eco-friendly cleaner. To receive my pamphlet full of vinegar hints, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. To clean car windows, use the same solution of vinegar and water and a microfiber cloth. -- Heloise

FRESH FANS

Dear Heloise: Each summer when I bring out my fans, I take off the grilles by removing the screws, and wipe the blades with a damp cloth. Then I take the grilles down to the self-service carwash and secure them in the clamps provided for car mats. A quick high-pressure spray cleans all the dirt and grime in those crevices. One must be careful to dry the grates completely before putting them back on the fans. -- J.M., via e-mail

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at www.washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

2014, King Features Syndicate

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