Dear Heloise:

I remember that you had a formula for cleaning window screens. Could you please reprint it? Thanks.

Wanda Leydig, via e-mail

Wanda, I'd be happy to reprint this easy-as-1-2-3 cleaning formula for you and other readers who might want to give it a try.

Here it is: Mix 1 cup of sudsy ammonia and 1 gallon of water. Take the screens off the windows and set them outside against a tree or a fence, not near anything that could be damaged by the cleaning mixture. Next, scrub the screens (both sides) while wearing gloves to protect your hands, then rinse with plenty of water. When dry, rehang.

Another idea from a reader is to take the screens to the carwash for quick cleaning.

Dear Heloise:

I've found a way to use the inexpensive, straight-cut paper shredders and get as good protection as, if not better than, using the costly crosscut ones.

I shred my documents into an ordinary white, plastic kitchen trash bag, add some water, mix well, tie a knot in the end of the bag to keep it watertight and then deposit it into the trash. The water breaks down the paper, dissolves many of the inks and makes it darn near impossible for anyone to reconstruct the documents or the private information.

Jim M., Chantilly

This does work on some paper, but I "tested" credit-card bills and some other bills. They did not dissolve in 48 hours, so please use caution.

Dear Heloise:

I hate getting stuck in long lines or unanticipated waits and delays. To help pass the time and keep myself occupied, I keep a pocket-size crossword- puzzle book in my purse. It makes "hurry up and wait" a little more tolerable.

Kay, via e-mail

Dear Heloise:

When I light a candle in my apartment, I place my keys next to it. If I leave to run an unexpected errand, I will be reminded to blow the candle out.

Jeanette M., Roanoke

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