Dear Heloise: I don’t have a new front-load washer, but I am finding that many liquid laundry detergents are now marked “HE.” Does this mean it is for use only in front-load machines? If it is okay to use this kind of liquid detergent in my old top-loader, should I use the same amount as recommended on the label? -- Joy R., via e-mail

You can use the relatively new “HE” (High Efficiency) detergents in your old top-load washing machine. Some manufacturers are even labeling their new detergent bottles, letting consumers know that it can be used in all machines.

However, be sure to follow the directions on the label for how much detergent to use. More or less is not always effective.

Be aware that you may not notice any suds when you use this detergent in your machine, since HE detergents are designed to be low-sudsing and used with less water.

IMPORTANT: Do not use regular detergent in the newer HE machines! This can cause mechanical problems over time, and may even void a machine’s warranty. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: The light above my kitchen range burned out. When I removed the cover to change it, I was aghast at the grease and gunk on the cover and exhaust mesh filter. It had been a while since they had been cleaned.

I popped both into the dishwasher with a load of pots and pans. I added a little extra detergent, and PRESTO! Both were good as new! -- G.W. in Columbus, Ohio


Dear Heloise: I read a lot. I list the characters and their reason for being there as they are introduced. This way, it’s easier to keep track of them as they reappear. It works for me. -- A.M. in Ohio

This is a wonderful hint for readers of all ages! With so many distractions and characters, it is easy to forget who a character is later on. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have a hint for the little plastic bags that buttons, extra thread or sequins come in. When I get a dress, top or coat that has any extras, I attach the bag to the hanger with the garment. This way, if I need them, they are right there. If I lose a button, etc., and it’s not on the hanger, I know that there is none. Now, I don’t have to waste my time looking for it. -- Joanne G. in Texas


Dear Heloise: Another use for the “fake” (promotional) credit cards, or any similar, unneeded card, is as an emergency shoehorn. It really helps to slide your foot in a tight shoe, and can help prevent squishing a finger trying to get the shoe on. This can be especially helpful at the airport after going through security. -- Susan D. in California

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.

, King Features Syndicate