Hints From Heloise

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By Heloise
Friday, July 22, 2005

Dear Heloise: I'm writing to ask you if I can use regular AMMONIA in your "prewash spray" recipe. -- Barbara from Tribes Hill, N.Y.

Good question, Barbara. Here's the scoop: The recipe for the prewash spray calls for nonsudsing household ammonia, which is regular ammonia.

And here's another question about ammonia from Norman Germani of El Centro, Calif.: "In numerous hints you allude to using sudsy ammonia. Can you tell me what the difference is between regular ammonia and sudsy ammonia, and where I can purchase it?"

Norman, we contacted a leading manufacturer of ammonia, and here is what the company had to say: Sudsy ammonia is plain ammonia that has a small amount of detergent added to it. Ammonia is also available in clear (or nonsudsy), lemon and pine.

Check with the grocery-store manager to see if sudsy ammonia can be ordered. Usually if it is in the store's order book, the manager is happy to order it for you.

And for those who missed the recipe for prewash spray that was mentioned earlier, here it is:

Mix equal amounts of:

Nonsudsy, household ammonia

Dishwashing liquid that does not contain bleach (check the label carefully)

Water

Mix well and put into a clean spray bottle. Label the bottle clearly, and be sure to indicate "DO NOT USE WITH HOUSEHOLD BLEACH ORANY OTHER PRODUCT CONTAINING BLEACH." To use this homemade prewash spray, just spray it on the stained area and immediately wash. CAUTION: Never use this prewash spray on clothing that you're not going to wash immediately. -- Heloise

TRAVEL HINT

Dear Heloise: Print identifying information on business-card-size pieces of brightly colored index card (the bright neon colors are my favorite). Copy centers will laminate them in heavy-duty luggage tags, complete with loops to attach them. They make it easy to immediately distinguish your black suitcase with wheels from everyone else's identical bag!

Also, when traveling by plane, wear loafers or shoes with self-gripping closures. Most security checkpoints now require passengers to remove their shoes, and it's not time to be fussing with shoelaces. -- Melinda J., via e-mail

CLEAN RUG

Dear Heloise: Thank you for all the good things I have learned through the years! I have an active woodworking shop, and the "walk-off" rugs that I use coming into the house get really loaded up with sawdust. I found that vacuuming the top only gets a fraction of it. If you turn it over and run the vacuum on the backside, the beater bars literally dump the sawdust onto the floor. This can easily be cleaned up and the process repeated. I also use this to get the sand out of a rug that we use next to our camper in Florida. -- Dave Shively, Aurora, Ohio

USED DRYER SHEET

Dear Heloise: Here's a good use for used dryer sheets: Put them over the hole in the bottom of houseplant pots (then add dirt and plant). The water drains, but not the soil. -- A Reader, via e-mail

©2005 by King Features Syndicate Inc.


© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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