Dear Heloise: When cleaning those NASTY BIRDBATHS, I sprinkle baking soda into the birdbath with a little water and scrub with an old brush. They always come out sparkling-clean. It’s also nontoxic, inexpensive, quick and easy. Thank you for all the great hints from you and your mom. -- Shirley D. in Oregon

This hint is just one more way that baking soda comes to the rescue! Birds need water year-round, and birdbaths should be cleaned often to keep diseases from spreading. The water can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes as well, so you do want to change the water once or twice a week to keep it fresh. I wrote my Heloise’s Baking Soda Hints and Recipes pamphlet because there are many GREEN ways to use baking soda every day. To receive one, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Use baking soda to clean hamster, gerbil, guinea pig and ferret cages. A little water and baking soda will remove odors and leave the glass nice and clear. Rinse and dry, and their home is clean! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I love your column and marvel at the ingenuity that women possess. My hint is about the 150-count paper plates that we purchase at the big warehouse store. They come in a large plastic sleeve, which is secured with a twist-tie.

I noticed that when family members would remove plates for usage, the next plate could become soiled from the contact of unclean hands. To remedy this, I keep the plastic sleeve sealed and move the opening around to the bottom of the stack. The bottom paper plate is now at the top. It also makes it easier to take only one plate off the stack instead of several. -- Ronald A. in California


Dear Heloise: I had a question about a product that I use in my home. I went on the computer and started researching the company’s Web site. I never knew how much information is available. I was even able to “talk” to a representative of the company by e-mail.

I asked my question, got a response, and when all was done, I received $8 in coupons for the product and a recipe book. When I have time, I now go on other Web sites of my favorite products, and the coupons and offers that are available are amazing. -- Carol D., via e-mail


Dear Heloise: Sitting in the veterinary office with my dog, I watched an older woman walk in with her small dog in a stroller. The dog looked so content just sitting there. She told me that her dog was older and had difficulty walking. As she also was older, this was easier than her carrying the dog. I thought this was a great hint. -- Cathy G. in Colorado

“Woof, woof,” from Cabbie, our mini schnauzer! -- 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.

, King Features Syndicate