The Washington Post

Hints From Heloise: Coin-cleaning caution

Dear Heloise: Thanks for the hint on CLEANING COINS. However, please tell the folks not to try it with the new “gold” dollars. I tried to clean up a few, and in less than 15 minutes, the cleaner proceeded to remove the very thin plating on the coins.

The vinegar and soda is good for some, maybe, but not the thin plating on the Sacagawea and presidential dollar coins. Thanks for your daily wisdom. -- Ted in Kerrville, Tex.

Ted, I tried this method with some of the gold-colored presidential coins, and nothing happened. They were shiny and fine. The original hint that was printed was how to clean PENNIES that are used as daily money.

According to the United States Mint, cleaning coins can decrease their value, especially if they are rare or valuable. Valuable and rare coins are handled only with gloves, because the normal oils found on fingers can cause damage when transferred to the coins. Fingerprints can leave permanent marks on the coins.

If you just have “coin change” that is dirty and you choose to clean it, the U.S. Mint suggests that you use mild soap and water. Swirl them around a little bit, rinse well and then pat dry. Don’t scrub or rub them hard, as the surface can be damaged. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Pharmacies sometimes make mistakes. I had a new prescription. When I got home and looked at the bottle, it was for someone else. Had they given my medication to someone else? I returned to the pharmacy pronto and confronted them.

Always double-check your prescriptions. I now do this before I leave the store, and I tell them why I am doing this. -- Ruth Ferris, North Canton, Ohio

Mistakes do happen on occasion, so it’s wise to double-check all medication. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I take advantage of any rebate possible. Many times, I will forget when I send it off and will not remember when it should be coming in the mail.

So, I came up with the idea to write on my large desk calendar the date I mailed the rebate and also how many weeks it takes to process. I also include a way to contact the company.

This way, I can check and know when the rebates should be arriving. And, if they don’t arrive, I can give the rebate place a call or send a letter. -- Rhonda W., Colorado Springs, Colo.


Dear Heloise: Since I live by myself, my dishwasher doesn’t get used all that often. I have decided that I should run it at least once a week. So, even if I don’t have any dishes, I put other things, like knickknacks, etc., into the washer and run a cycle. This way, when I need it, hopefully it will be working correctly. And all the little items in my home always are clean. -- Christina R. in Utah

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



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