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Hints From Heloise: Take care when using chemical cleaners

Dear Readers: We are all cleaning more these days to keep the coronavirus at bay. But did you know that spray cleaners that contain bleach need to sit on surfaces to maximize their efficacy (they will work better)? Let spray cleaners that contain bleach sit on surfaces for at least 30 seconds; don’t wipe up immediately.

More safety hints for chemical cleaners? Here we go:

● Follow the label directions on products at all times.

● Keep chemicals in their original packaging, and up and away from children and pets.

● Never add or mix anything into the cleaner, except plain water into concentrated formulas.

Safety is always first when working with chemicals. Ventilate your workspace, read those labels and allow the product time to kill germs.

Dear Heloise: My grandmother was a great cook, and one thing I remember her telling me is to measure spices and seasonings with the heart.

You'll get a feeling for the right amount of chili powder, garlic, sugar or cinnamon to add in.

— Molly T. in Ohio

Dear Heloise: When my kids outgrow their blankets and pajamas, I wash them thoroughly in HOT water and then make teddy bears out of them, stuffing them with poly fill. I give them to police stations, charity collection sites and hospitals.

The recipients get good use out of the stuffed animals, and my kids' clothes go to a good cause.

— Helen M. in Texas

Dear Readers: We are all concerned about the environment, and we need to care for Mother Earth. Sustainability is a buzzword we hear a lot. Its dictionary definition is: avoidance of the depletion of natural resources to maintain an ecological balance.

What are some easy things we can do to sustain? Read on:

● End your dependence on plastic bags at the grocery store; they are not recyclable. Use canvas reusable shopping bags. They will last forever.

● Instead of one-use plastic water bottles, switch to a reusable water bottle. And give your tap water a taste. Maybe boil it and then make it really cold. It just might taste delicious.

● Keep a set of silverware in your bag for when you are eating at the drive-through. You won’t have to use the restaurant’s plastic forks and knives.

Small gestures such as these, if everybody did them, would go a long way to keeping the Earth a nicer and cleaner place to be.

Dear Heloise: I want to second Avery R.'s complaint about the sorry state of women's pants pockets. Please tell the manufacturers to listen up.

I hope millions more write to you to affirm women's desire for deep pockets in our jeans. Thanks!

— Regular Reader, Houston

Dear Heloise: Thank you for your column on driving in the rain. One important item you missed is to never use cruise control when it's raining. The car can hydroplane.

Could you please let people know about this? Lots of us use cruise control all the time, and this could be devastating if used when raining.

— Cynthia E., via email

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