Dear Readers: Many students across the country are now back at college or heading that way. LAUNDRY can be a big problem! This may be the first time some are doing their own. Here are some Heloise Laundry 101 hints for laundry newbies:

* Sorting is vital. Wash same-colored fabrics together: darks, whites, etc.

* Don’t stuff the machine too full! The clothes won’t get clean.

* If doing laundry at a self-service laundry facility or dorm laundry room, check the machines BEFORE putting in your clothes. Someone may have left a red sock that will turn your whole load of whites pink!

* Pin socks together to keep from losing one. Fasten bra hooks together to prevent snagging, and turn jeans inside out to prevent fading.

* Read the care instructions for clothes. They will last much longer if cared for properly.

* Don’t carry a whole bottle or box of detergent. If using liquid, put only what’s needed in clean yogurt cups. Or for powder detergent, pour some in a sock or zip-top bag.

Stains, stains and more stains seem to be what happen to students while at college. Removing a stain can save a favorite shirt or jeans. To learn how to get rid of stains, including coffee, grass, lipstick, ketchup, soda and many more, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) to: Heloise/Stain, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. FYI: Clothes left in the dryer too long? To remove wrinkles, add a damp towel in the dryer and run on low for 10-15 minutes. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Many of your readers have written about pop-top cans and how they have a hard time opening them. I will tell you what I do: I turn the can upside down and open it with a can opener. -- A Reader in Virginia


Dear Heloise: Why do batteries -- AA, AAA, C, etc. -- have expiration dates? Can they be used beyond the date, and if so, how long after? -- Sharon in Illinois

Sharon, yes, you can, but be aware that there is a chance the battery might leak, and if it does, it can ruin the device. The batteries also could not work or might not last very long if used after that date.

Depending on the battery, it can have a shelf life of between five and 10 years. Batteries made today are not like your grandmother’s. They are manufactured to last longer.

If it is in an appliance, check regularly for signs of wear, and replace when needed. I hope this helps you keep ticking! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: We have a large picture window in our house that birds are constantly running into. We used those peel-and-stick decals to decorate the window. The birds no longer mistake it for an opening and hurt themselves. -- A Reader in Washington

Great idea! You can hang sun catchers or ribbon on the window as well. We have a lot of birds and darling “buzz bombers” (hummingbirds) that sometimes hit the window. I taped several strands of thin ribbon (about 6 inches long) on the glass, and it seems to deter them. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: When my kids are painting, I try to match the paintbrush color with the paint: a red brush for the red paint, a yellow brush for the yellow, etc. This way, the paint isn’t getting mixed. They know which brush goes back in which paint cup. -- A Reader in Colorado

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

2012, King Features Syndicate