Dear Heloise: You printed a recipe for CLEANING GROUT using borax and something else. I lost it.

Could you reprint it? I really enjoy your hints. -- Ann in Houston

I am happy to help, and it’s pretty easy. The grout-cleaner recipe is this: Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup of borax. Add hot water until it makes a thick paste. Apply to grout. Gently scrub with a soft brush and let sit for 15-20 minutes before rinsing. Do you have other areas you want to know how to clean? Order my pamphlet Heloise’s Homemade Cleaning Solutions by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Cleaners, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. To clean a rust stain from iron in the water on a porcelain tub, dip half a lemon into borax and scrub the surface. Rinse well when done. -- Heloise

P.S.: Be sure to wear rubber gloves, and don’t splash it in your eyes.


Dear Readers: A previous column contained a travel hint about using an ironing board at a hotel as a table in a pinch.

Peg in New Jersey said: “I disagree about using an ironing board as a table for food. Nothing but clean clothes should ever be placed on an ironing board. Just think of the mess/stains that would be on your clothes if you decided to use the ironing board and the person before you had an ‘Oops!’ because he or she spilled something and couldn’t or didn’t clean it well.”

This is a different point of view. Using the ironing board as a table is still good, but put down a towel or tablecloth before using. If you do spill, let the hotel housekeeping know so that the cover may be cleaned or replaced. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: When I shower, I like using liquid soap or shower gel. It often is cold to the touch, even though my bathroom is warm. Is there any way to quickly warm it up? -- Margaret in Cleveland

Margaret, you’re right! Just hold the bottle under the running warm water in your shower for a couple of minutes. Or fill the sink with hot water and put the bottle of soap in to get it warm. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My kids love to have water-balloon fights during the summer. I found an easy way to fill the balloons that doesn’t make a mess. I took an old sports water bottle and filled it with water. The kids then slip the neck of the balloon over the spout of the bottle and squeeze. Easy! -- Cindy, via e-mail


Dear Heloise: Corks can be drilled or cut to fit snugly over pointed wall hooks for prevention of dimples or holes in clothing hung on the hook. Synthetic and champagne corks work best. -- Eliott, 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.

2012, King Features Syndicate