Hints From Heloise: Sprucing up the fireplace

By Hints From Heloise
Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dear Readers:

If you have a fireplace and use it a lot, here are two hints for you:

Smoke on a few bricks? An art gum eraser, available at an art store or mega-retailer, is a quick fix. You can knead it and press it into the soot stains. Fold over the stained portion of the eraser until you have a clean space on the gum. Repeat until the eraser has removed as much of the staining as it can.

If the fireplace glass doors are stained, a good solution is oven cleaner. Remove the doors and take them outside to a well-ventilated area. Spray both sides with a thick layer and allow them to sit outside for a few hours. Rinse with the garden hose, dry, and you are done.

P.S.: Do not use anything abrasive to scrub the doors, because it may affect the integrity of the glass.

Dear Heloise:

Today I tried something with aluminum foil that worked expertly. To sharpen any scissors, I just cut four to five layers of aluminum foil with them several times. My cuticle and nail scissors now work like new!

Ursula in Lincoln, Calif.

Dear Heloise:

I finally found a use for those slender plastic bags that our daily newspapers are delivered in. They're perfect for sliding a wet umbrella into and keeping you and your things dry in the process. The bags fold up small enough to hide in your purse, the car's glove compartment or even your child's backpack.

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