Dear Readers:

Anyone who reads my column knows that I sing the praises of vinegar for cleaning, getting rid of odors and cooking, but . . . for summertime first aid?

Yes! Vinegar is a natural antiseptic that can help stop the itching of insect bites, wasp stings and other skin irritations.

If you have a close encounter with a jellyfish, white vinegar can neutralize the venom and help soothe the pain.

In fact, if you're planning a day at the beach, be sure to take along a small bottle of vinegar.

And when you return home, you can clean plastic beach toys by washing them with soap and water and then rinsing in vinegar to kill bacteria. Vinegar is so versatile!

P.S. I even travel with white vinegar in a small bottle to use "on the road."

Dear Heloise:

To recycle the potholders that no longer look good enough to displayed in your kitchen, use them as cushioning pads between stacked frying pans to prevent scratches.

Linda in Sherwood, Ark.

Dear Heloise:

During the era of high-tech and new gadgets, this is a new wrinkle in getting sewing patterns straight on the fabric. My baby sister purchased laser-light levels for herself and for me during a sale. I thought she meant for me to give it to my husband, but she told me it was for me!

She suggested using it to shine the beam of light down the center of the fabric, then centering the pattern accordingly.

Kay Guthrie and Jane Neal

Huntsville, Ala.

New gadgets are terrific, and I'm sure they have even more uses to be discovered.

If you have found another unique use for them, write to me at the addresses below.

Dear Heloise:

I am a licensed plumber and would like to alert people to a possible problem with dental floss.

Do not throw it away in a toilet or any other drain, because it can end up adhering to other pieces of floss and cause a clog that might be hard to bypass.

Harris Sanders, via e-mail

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)2005, King Features Syndicate