Dear Heloise:

We have vinyl wallpaper in our home, and our son has "autographed" some areas with crayon and ballpoint ink. Also, in the kitchen there are some grease marks. Can you offer me suggestions for removing any of these?

Lettie D.

Gretna, La.

For crayon marks, apply a prewash spray or dry-cleaning solvent with a clean, white cloth or sponge. CAUTION: First test on a hidden area to make sure neither of these leaves a stain on your wallpaper. The cleaning process might have to be repeated several times to remove the crayon marks.

Ballpoint-ink stains can usually be removed with denatured alcohol -- test on a small area first. Use a clean cloth or sponge to dab the spot. Let the alcohol sit for about 10 seconds and then wipe off. You might need to repeat a couple of times to completely remove the ink stain.

And for those greasy stains, first try cleaning the areas with a cloth dampened with a solution of water and a drop of mild dishwashing detergent. If this doesn't work, try a paste of baking soda and water -- mix and apply it to the stained areas. Let this sit until dry and then brush it off with a soft brush or cloth.

Dear Heloise:

My son recently joined the Navy. I have so many family members and friends who ask for his address that I printed business cards for him. When someone asks, I give the person his "card." No more finding pens, paper, address books, etc., when they ask.

Karen Stubblefield,

via e-mail

Dear Heloise:

I read your hint from a reader concerning unplugging/turning off garage-door openers when going away. I would like to add that what I do is also fasten a C-clamp in the track right above one of the door's track wheels. This prevents the door from even being pried open.

R. Mark Osborne

Enola, Pa.

Dear Heloise:

I haven't seen this one in your column, but it's so obvious that I think it's been thought of before: I use my egg slicer to slice bananas for my cereal -- it's wonderful.

Rosie Walcek

Fullerton, Calif.

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state when faxing or using e-mail. I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.

(c)2004, King Features Syndicate