Dear Heloise: I never realized all the DUST that accumulates on the lampshades throughout the house. Ick! Do you have any hints for how to clean these (mostly cloth) lampshades? -- Diane T. in Ohio

I do have some hints for these often-neglected areas, which can trap quite a bit of dust. If you have pleated lampshades, you can gently remove the dust by using a makeup brush, clean paintbrush or the dusting-brush attachment on your vacuum.

For a flat lampshade, you also can use a makeup brush or paintbrush, but a lint roller works really well, particularly if you have pets and their hair is on the lampshade.

For either style of lampshade, you also can try using a hair dryer on the “High” setting to blow off the dust. An added Heloise hint: Make cleaning these lampshades part of your regular dusting routine to keep dust to a minimum. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My old metal garden rake had a wooden handle that became very dry, and splinters were a problem. I was going to use duct tape, but I wanted something better to grip. I had some old bicycle inner tubes. I cut about an 18-inch length of one of the rubber tubes. I dusted the end of the rake handle and slid the tube onto it. It worked so well. I have since used this method on shovels, ax handles and other tools. It’s a great way to preserve the life of your garden equipment. -- John in Newbury, N.H.


Dear Heloise: I am in independent living. I gave up my car before anyone told me I should. But, frustratingly, I receive offers from friends and family to come visit, but never an invitation to be picked up and taken to enjoy a visit on someone’s porch or patio.

Naturally, those of us in this situation aren’t going to ask anyone to invite us, but it is awful to be treated as if we are on our deathbed and able to visit only the ones who come to our bedside. Some of us are not in our “last days.”

I realize that it is much easier to visit someone in his or her apartment, but if it is intended to give the oldster a treat, then come get the person and take him or her home. It doesn’t require any preparation. There is no pill that can give us the lift that being invited out will provide. -- H.R., Manhattan, Kan.


Dear Heloise: When we move, I always put the folded sheets, pillowcases, toilet paper, paper towels, some paper plates, plastic silverware, paper cups, bars of soap and any other items that are needed upon moving into the washer and dryer. This is an easy way to find them quickly. -- Carolyn in Abilene, Tex.


Dear Heloise: I got tired of an old fountain that I constantly was having to clean. I turned it into a succulent garden. No more trickling water sounds, and much easier to maintain. -- G., via e-mail

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, or e-mail it to

2014, King Features Syndicate