Dear Heloise: I always read your column! I have a pet peeve that has come since we have all been made aware of where GERMS AND BACTERIA are most prevalent, public restrooms being one such place.

I’ve noticed how some women exit a restroom stall, then proceed to immediately get paper towels before washing their hands. Fortunately, many restrooms now have the touch-free dispensers. Some still have the lever type, and when those are touched by unwashed hands, they are being contaminated. Most people wash their hands before getting their paper towels, so those levers/handles should be fairly germ-free. -- June in Pennsylvania

June, this is a constant topic, especially among “road warriors” and women who use public restrooms a lot. Not sure of the solution, but if this is a concern, you can grab the paper towels BEFORE you wash your hands, and the germ issue shouldn’t be a problem. -- Heloise

P.S.: Thanks to the establishments that have a trash can next to the door.



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE



Dear Heloise: I would like to know how to keep my disposal cleaner and stop the bad odor. -- Nancy, via e-mail

Nancy, there are a few things you can do to keep the disposal cleaner, which will help stop bad odors. Often there is a buildup of sludge under the gasket. To clean it, remove the rubber ring, if possible (with the disposal off), and clean it and inside the disposal, either with a brush or a clean rag.

It is important to run lots of water so the remnants get pushed all the way through the system. If not, the food might sit in the pipes, which can cause that awful stink.

You also can occasionally put things like lemon or orange rinds, mint leaves or vinegar down the disposal to help relieve the smell. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Here are some uses for petroleum jelly:

* Put around the rim of a bottle (like nail polish) to keep the lid from sticking.

* Soothe chapped lips.

* Keep eyebrow hairs in place.

* Remove a stuck ring.

* Moisturize hands and feet.

-- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have a few pieces of decorative pottery that I display in our dining room. I was looking for some artwork that complemented it and never could find any.

I finally decided to make my own. I went to a crafts store and bought some small canvases and paint that matched. I lightly penciled the same design that is on the pottery on the canvases and then painted them. Now I have artwork to match for not much money! -- Tami in Pennsylvania


Dear Heloise: I took an old, unmatched towel I had and laid it across the top of my refrigerator. When it gets dusty, I can easily throw it in the washer and replace. I no longer have to struggle on a step stool to clean off the top of my fridge. -- Carrie, via e-mail

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.

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