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Hints From Heloise: Get the kids cleaning!

Dear Readers: Kids and cleaning are two things that don’t often go together. Let’s fix that. Kids of all ages can pitch in to help. Here’s a primer, experts agree, on who can do what based on age:

Ages 2-3: Make the bed, pick up toys and books, put dirty clothes in the hamper, help feed pets, wipe up messes, dust with sock on hand.

Ages 4-5: Set and clear the table, load the dishwasher, fold laundry and match socks, put away laundry, get mail from the mailbox.

Ages 6-8: Empty dishwasher, clean sinks and countertops, help pack lunches, pull weeds and rake leaves, water houseplants, collect trash from wastebaskets.

Ages 9-11: Scrub toilets, take trash to the curb, vacuum and mop, mow grass, prep food (wash, cut, dice), walk the dog.

Ages 12+: Babysit siblings, wash windows, iron, clean interior of car, cook easy meals, clean out refrigerator, make grocery list.

With everyone in on the cleaning game, what’s an easy, cheap and nontoxic cleanser safe for people of all ages to use? You know it — baking soda! Mix some with a bit of water to make a paste for scrubbing without scratching. It will leave everything fresh.

Baking soda is a workhorse in the home. I keep boxes on hand. (Look in the laundry aisle for big boxes.) I’ve compiled a collection of my favorite baking soda hints, hacks, recipes and helps into a handy pamphlet. Would you like to receive one? It’s easy.

Visit to order, or send a long, stamped (75 cents) envelope along with $5 to: Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Gauge the readiness of your kiddo for these tasks. Getting them in the habit early can help keep the household running smoothly.

Dear Heloise: I'm a wrap artist — ha-ha! I wrap drinking glasses in my socks, line plates with coffee filters and put my clothes in a trash bag while still on the hanger. It makes moving and traveling a breeze.

— Carol P. in California

Dear Heloise: I'm trying to convince my son to wear his seat belt correctly when he is driving. He tucks the shoulder harness under his arm or behind his back. Any advice?

— Concerned Mom in Illinois

Concerned Mom in Illinois: Safety is so important when driving. The shoulder harness is a critical part of the seat-belt restraint. The shoulder harness, when worn across the chest, along with the air bag, can prevent the body and head from striking the steering wheel in the event of a collision. The lap belt is designed to hold the body in the seat. Please convey this to your son.

It’s uncomfortable? Make sure he’s sitting up flush in the seat. He can adjust the seat belt height on the pillar (the interior wall of the vehicle). Or he can adjust the height of the seat so the shoulder harness fits better.

Dear Heloise: I tell my family this is important during quarantine: Avoid touching MEN! And by that I mean your mouth, eyes and nose.

— Allison H. in Texas

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to

2021, King Features Syndicate