Dear Heloise: Recently, you had an excellent segment for SEPTIC-TANK USERS in your column.

When we had a new septic tank installed several years ago, the installer cautioned us that excessive use of household antibacterial cleaning products can “kill” a septic tank.

There are times when the use of antibacterial cleaning products is desirable. Most often, just plain soap and water are sufficient for daily cleaning jobs. -- Barbara in Iowa

Barbara, household antibacterial products may kill some of the bacteria in a septic system, but it depends on how you use the products. Normal daily use in a household of two to three people probably is all right. Using too much of any cleaning product that kills bacteria is what can cause problems in a septic system. It’s advisable to be mindful of this when cleaning and doing dishes, as well as laundry. -- Heloise



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE



Dear Heloise: I know that a lot of people like to wrap their toiletries in plastic bags before putting them in their luggage to contain spills. I cut a small section of plastic wrap, place it over the opening of a container and then screw the lid back on. While the plastic bag is good for containing the spill, I still don’t want to lose my shampoo, face wash, etc. This way has never failed, and it keeps me from having to switch from my brand on trips. -- Paulina, via e-mail


Dear Readers: A recent column asked how many lipsticks women have. The number ranged from one to more than 90! Here are some hints for using lip color:

* Make sure your lips are fully moisturized. If they are dry, put on a light layer of colorless lip balm or petroleum jelly to keep them soft.

* Next, outline with a lip pencil and fill in with lip liner. (This is what I do.)

* Put on a coat of matte lipstick.

* Fold a tissue in half, place it in between your lips and lightly press them together to blot.

* For a bit of shine, add a dab of lip gloss.

Press your lips together, and ta-da -- a fresh take on your everyday lip! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have a toddler son who loves to pull all the wipes out of the wipe container. I came up with a simple solution to save the wipes and still keep him entertained. I kept some containers after they were emptied and filled them with some fabric scraps that I had lying around the house. Now he can “pull” for hours, and he isn’t wasting money. -- Kim in Texas


Dear Readers: Want a quick treat? I mix low-fat cottage cheese with some low-fat Greek yogurt, a 50/50 mix. Add in a little artificial sweetener, and pair with berries of your choosing. Easy, light and refreshing. Blackberries are my favorite because they color the yogurt mixture a pretty tint of purple. -- Heloise

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