Dear Heloise:

When bringing home groceries one hot, summer day, the milk leaked a little bit. The next day, I opened the car door -- you can imagine the smell that greeted me! Since I didn't have time to try to clean it up at that moment, the smell had the chance to get even worse.

I tried everything to get that smell out! I remembered vinegar and had nothing to lose. I tried a diluted solution. It helped, but I could still smell it. So, I poured straight vinegar on the spot, waited about 10 minutes and blotted it up with clean, white rags. I did it again the next day, and the smell was totally gone!

This also worked when a little one threw up in my car at a later date -- although it took a little more vinegar and scrubbing to get that smell out.

Lori J. of Staunton, Va.

Lori, thanks for sharing your experience, and it's nice to know that vinegar came to the rescue! It is especially important to get to those spills as quickly as possible in order to have the most success.

As you probably know, vinegar is my all-time favorite and beloved cleaner! It is cheap, is usually found on your pantry shelf and has a multitude of uses.

Vinegar is a great natural deodorizer, as you found out. If you're painting a room, place several small, plastic, open containers filled with vinegar around the room. This will help absorb some of the paint odor and is easy to do. Give it a try.

Dear Heloise:

I cut off the open end of newspaper sleeves approximately 8 inches from the bottom, and presto -- you have shoe sleeves to use when packing. This allows shoes and clothing to easily share the same suitcase.

Mrs. Rona A. Levy

Alexandria

Dear Heloise:

I was just wondering if you know the best way or what to do when a zipper breaks on luggage. I am missing the piece you pull on, not the part hooked to the teeth of the zipper.

Carlos I., Burke

Carlos, it sounds like all you need to do is attach a spare key-chain ring with a tab to serve as a new pull for that zipper. Use one that has a sturdy ring, since you're using it on luggage.

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 Heloise@Heloise.com. 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