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Hints From Heloise: Microfiber cloths are cleanup champs

Dear Readers: Clean freaks we may or may not be, but since the inception of this column — founded by my mother, the original Heloise (1919-1977) — we have sought to provide you easy and timesaving tips, tricks and hints toward getting a somewhat more marginally clean home while balancing home, family, friends and fun.

To that end, let’s look at the microfiber towel. Talk about a timesaver! Microfiber is a synthetic blend of, normally, polyester and nylon, configured in a rectangular or square shape. Microfiber towels absorb and hold liquids and oils faster and better than traditional cotton toweling. Also, dust molecules are drawn to microfiber, making them ideal for cleaning.

Microfiber towels can cost more than ordinary towels, but their cleaning power and longevity make up for any initial outlay of cash. Microfiber towels are appropriate for most cleaning tasks, but don’t use a dirty one to dust an LCD screen — scratches can ensue.

Two more points: Never use fabric softener when washing microfiber, and look for bulk bags of microfiber towels in the automotive department of a big box retailer.

Dear Heloise: After inheriting my grandmother's estate, I came into several of her handmade quilts. I display them on a wooden straight ladder.

— Glynnis W. in Florida

Glynnis W. in Florida: Blessings to you after the loss of your grandmother. Keep in mind, fabrics can be delicate. Sunlight and the stress of hanging the quilts over the rail of a ladder could damage the quilts.

Dear Heloise: My kids love caramel apples, but we do it differently. I slice the apples in ¾ -inch slices, insert a stick and then dip them in caramel, nuts, chocolate drizzle, etc. It's easier for a small child to hold because it's a smaller portion. Usually less messy, too!

— Meran W. in Illinois

Dear Readers: Here’s an easy way to stay cool: Fill a water bottle half-full, lay it on its side and freeze it. When you’re ready to head outside, fill the bottle with water, and you’ll have ice water for a nice afternoon.

Dear Heloise: Those stickers on apples and other produce? Annoying! What can you tell me about them?

— Bobby E. in Indiana

Bobby E. in Indiana: Let’s take a look. Produce stickers can contain the name of the food; its universal product code (UPC, or bar code); the food’s country of origin, perhaps; and its price look up number (PLU). The Food and Drug Administration ( states that produce stickers and their adhesives are not harmful or toxic if ingested.

However, no one over there is recommending consumption of the stickers. If one gets it your belly though? It’s okay.

P.S. The PLUs are universal — standard yellow bananas are coded 4011 at every store.

P.P.S. Don’t like the stickers? Head over to a farmers market. Support a small business and avoid the sticker.

Dear Heloise: It really ticks me off when my lotion pump stops pumping and there are 3 to 4 ounces left in the bottom that I have to bang out. I wish they'd put a longer tube inside.

— Bill G., The Villages, Fla.

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

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