Dear Heloise: I'm a widower with two young daughters, ages 4 and 6. They have stuffed animals that they dearly love, but both stuffed toys (a bear and a dog) need to be washed. I'm not sure how to wash these toys. How do you wash stuffed toys and not ruin them?

— Chet Y., Parkersburg, W.Va.

Chet Y.: You can put the toys in a mesh bag or a pillowcase, closed with a rubber band, and put them on the “delicate” cycle to wash. Use your regular detergent, but don’t overdo it. Just enough soap to do the job, and be sure to put it through the rinse and spin cycle twice. Set your dryer on a low setting (not too hot) for a longer period. If the toys are still damp after a while in the dryer, let them air-dry overnight.

Dear Heloise: I forgot to pull the drain stopper in my bathroom sink while putting on my earrings, and a valuable earring fell down the drain. I had to call a plumber to come and take everything apart to retrieve it. This was not a small expenditure, and my husband was NOT happy about the bill. This is just a reminder to stop the drain or place a washcloth over the drain in your bathroom sink to catch anything that falls in. It's a lesson I'll never forget!

— DeeDee L., Dallas

Dear Heloise: I have a mustache, and I've bought numerous items (combs and brushes) to keep it nice and neat. Just by accident, I found out that a medium-size toothbrush works best of all. Looking back at all the paraphernalia I've spent money on, I just shake my head and wish I'd known this 30 years ago when I started to grow a mustache.

— Henry S., Lafayette, Ind.

Dear Heloise: I know there aren't many people taking trips anywhere these days, but when we get back to normal travel, you might want to remind your readers that one of the best tools they can pack in their suitcase is an extension cord. This is especially true if you have to share a room with a roommate. Bathrooms in hotels usually only have one outlet, one bathroom mirror and two women trying to get ready in the morning!

— Delores R., Oklahoma City

Dear Heloise: I loaned my potato masher to my sister-in-law and never got it back. So, while making mashed potatoes one evening I let the potatoes cook a little longer than usual so they were soft. Then I used lots of butter and a whisk to make mashed potatoes. They turned out creamy and not one single lump could be found.

— Christina A., Coon Rapids, Minn.

Dear Readers: If you have any coats, jackets, sweaters or sleeping bags you no longer want, there are many organizations that would love to have them so they can help others in need of warm clothing and shelter.

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.

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