Dear Readers: How to get rid of that slimy, black grime on a RUBBER BATHMAT? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3! Fill your washing machine with hot water and a glug or two of bleach, and toss in the mat. You might want to add a couple of bleach-safe towels for scrubbing action. Run the washer through its normal cycles, and let the mat air-dry.

To help prevent mildew from reappearing, be sure to pull up the mat after EVERY shower and let it dry by hanging it over a towel rod, or attach it to the wall.

Want to clean your feather duster? Head outside with a heavyweight bag, the duster and a box of cornstarch. Pop the duster and cornstarch into the bag, hold the bag closed tightly and shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. You can find these and lots more money-saving hints in my Heloise’s Homemade Cleaning Solutions pamphlet. To order, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Cleaning Solutions, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. FYI: Sprinkle a bit of cornstarch in socks to keep feet comfortable and dry, or in smelly tennies or boots. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Paul in Hammond, Ind., sent a picture of his rat terrier, Hannah, surrounded by her dozens of bear friends. You have to look closely to see Hannah! If you’d like to try to find her and our other Pet Pals, visit and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Hello, Heloise: I met you last year in Houston at the Cooking Show. I had the hint for watering plants with ice cubes. I really enjoyed the get-together and meeting you -- it was the highlight of my year!

Here is my latest hint: I can’t see the level markings on the inside of the caps of laundry-detergent bottles. Before I use the tops, I mark the inside lines using black permanent marker on the light-colored caps, and white liquid paper on the dark-colored caps. Makes it so much easier to put the right amount in each load. -- Marlene M., Pearland, Tex.

Hi, Marlene, it’s nice to hear from you. We did have fun during our girls’ meet-and-greet with you and the other winners who had submitted hints! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Here’s a hint I just discovered: When drying king-size sheets, I separately dry the top and bottom. It saves time, and they don’t tangle and bunch up. -- Judy H., San Antonio


Dear Heloise: I try to keep one plastic bag from the grocery store (you know -- the carry-out type) in my purse at all times (all crumpled up, it is tiny!) for an unexpected “rain bonnet.” Love all your hints. Thanks. -- Pat K., Cypress, Tex.

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