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Dear Readers: We’ve been using disinfectants and sanitizers a lot this year, but are we using them correctly and effectively? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “cleaning,” “sanitizing” and “disinfecting” all have different definitions.

● Cleaning removes germs and other impurities from surfaces but doesn’t necessarily kill them.

● Sanitizing lessens the number of germs on surfaces, either by killing them or removing them to a safer level, according to public health standards.

● Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects.

Let’s take time to clean, sanitize and disinfect surfaces to stay healthy, especially while we’re dealing with covid-19.

Dear Heloise: I use microfiber cloths to clean the kitchen and bath, but I use green cloths for the kitchen and blue for the bathroom. This avoids cross-contamination and makes laundry day easier.

— Carrie in Texas

Dear Readers: Are you thinking of buying a cast iron skillet? Cast iron cookware isn’t fully nonstick until it’s well seasoned. Here’s a look at how that’s done: Start by washing your new pan with soapy water and dry the pan thoroughly. Rub the entire surface of the pan, including the exterior, with vegetable oil, using a soft cloth.

Heat it upside down in a 350 degree oven for one hour. Turn off the oven, and let the pan cool down completely in the oven. Cast iron pans can handle higher temperatures and heat food more evenly. You can use your cast iron on the stovetop or in the oven. A cast iron skillet will develop a deep, dark patina over time.

Clean the skillet immediately after each use while it is still warm, by hand, using hot water and a sponge. Never use soap to wash a seasoned cast iron pan or put it in the dishwasher. It can remove the seasoning and may cause the pan to rust. If there is stuck-on food, remove it with a paste of salt and water. If food is sticking to your pan, you might need to reseason it.

Dear Heloise: I read your recent hint about advertising or printing coupons on the core of paper towel rolls. Advertising is a GREAT idea.

Often, I want to buy the same product because it works so well, but don't know what brand it is because the wrapper has been discarded. If the brand name was printed on the tube, there'd be no question. This would work for toilet paper, too.

— Carol, Little Rock

Dear Heloise: My granddaughter taught me a great hint for squeezing lemons. I cut the lemon in half and, holding the lemon in one hand, twist a fork into the lemon until I've extracted all the juice from the lemon half. Then I repeat with the other half and use the fork to remove seeds from the bowl.

— Charlie S., via email

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

2020, King Features Syndicate