Dear Heloise: I work in a big-box store and found a little girl, around 4, wandering down an aisle by herself, crying! I asked what was wrong, and she said she couldn’t find her mommy! I walked with her to where the public-address system is. (I was in a store uniform with a name tag.)

I asked her what her mom’s first name is. She said Diane. I paged for Diane, saying we had something for her at the office. Mom came quickly, and all was okay.

My hint is to teach toddlers and youngsters their parents’ first names (as well as last name) so they can tell an authority if they do get lost. Many times, all they know is “Mom” or “Dad.” Also, teach them to trust uniformed store personnel, or to go to where there is a checkout lane and tell the cashier.

No Name, From Any City.

No Name: Children can dart off in a flash! Also, teach them that it’s not a game to try to play hide-and-seek while out and about.

Dear Heloise: If you have company and are facing a large stack of dirty dishes that shouldn’t be put in the dishwasher, try this: Wash by hand, and use the empty dishwasher as a large dish drainer! It will hold lots, and works even if the dishwasher is out of order.

Nancy P., via email

Dear Heloise: What are the proportions for your drain cleaner? I remember bleach and baking soda.

Barbara, via email

Barbara: NOT BLEACH! It’s vinegar and baking soda. It’s not a drain cleaner; rather, it’s a way to freshen a stinky drain and help keep it free- flowing. Pour½ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by 1 cup heated household vinegar. This will bubble and foam. Wait about 15 to 20 minutes. carefully pour hot water down the drain to wash out the residue. Then run cold water for a full minute or so.

Baking soda is one of my favorite all-around household helpers. It is cheap, safe and readily available, and I’ve compiled a pamphlet of my favorite uses for baking soda. If you’d like to receive one, send a long, stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. You also can order it online at Look for large-size boxes of baking soda in the laundry aisle, especially at big-box stores!

Dear Heloise: I have trouble using straight pins. I came across a package of corsage pins, and now I’m using them as straight pins. They are bigger and easier to hold on to. I read your hints every day in the Salem (Ohio) News.

Phyllis J., Lisbon, Ohio

Dear Heloise: To prevent sheets from tangling in the dryer, dry top sheet and bottom separately. Do the bottom first so you can put it on the bed and be half-done.

Joanne H. in Houston

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or email it to

2017, King Features Syndicate