Dear Heloise:

I have a 2-year-old who left a blue crayon that melted onto the seat of my car. Help, Heloise!

Victoria, Redding, Calif.

Help is on the way! By the way, you are not alone . . . this is a common problem, according to the experts. You will need the following items to tackle this job:

spoon or butter knife

spray lubricating oil

toothbrush with stiff bristles

paper towels

colorless dishwashing liquid

water

Use a spoon or butter knife to remove as much crayon as you can. Use the spray lubricating oil and "pssst" for only a second, then allow it to "work" a little while. Next, gently brush the lubricating oil in with a toothbrush. Be sure to work from the outside toward the middle to keep the stain from spreading, and use paper towels or old terry towels to dab up the crayon. Stain still there? Use a mixture of lubricating oil and a couple of drops of colorless dishwashing liquid to gently rub into the area with the toothbrush. Take a damp, clean sponge, dab at the area and rinse the sponge often so the detergent won't be redeposited on the cloth.

There are many stubborn stains that can be removed if you follow the proper three golden rules of stain removal: soon, slow and several (times repeating cleaning efforts). Also, read care labels carefully before attempting any stain removal.

Dear Heloise:

Most of my T-shirts get ruined by foods dropped on them while eating. Usually they end up with a nice grease spot right smack in the middle of my chest area. To keep them still useful, I embroider a tiny flower on the spot. A nice yellow, black or brown center with simple daisy-type petals in pastel colors takes care of the situation. Now I get more life out of those T-shirts.

Jean Perelli, Woodbridge

Dear Heloise:

My husband and I are avid readers. We have tried to find ways to keep track of what we have read. Besides keeping a list of books and authors on my computer, we came up with this very simple visual method. I purchased from a stationery store a box of little red and blue dots. When I have finished reading a book, I place a red dot on the book's spine; my husband puts a blue dot on the books he has read. That way, if we both read the same book, each of us knows when the other is finished. If we see two dots on a book's spine, we know it is ready for donation.

Pat Friend, Lexington Park, Md.

Dear Heloise:

When I make a meatloaf, I put all the ingredients in a large storage bag. It is very easy to mix all the ingredients together by mashing on the bag, and your hands stay completely clean!

Susan Sikes, via e-mail

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(c)2005, King Features Syndicate