Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about people spreading germs:

“Since we had such a bad flu season, I have a huge pet peeve. Some people have a habit of licking their fingers to open plastic bags, turn pages on a book or leaf through pages of paper. I know for some it’s been a lifelong habit, but they must realize that they are spreading germs and disease when they do so. Make them stop! -- Maria from New Jersey”

Maria, I’m with you! This is a disgusting and unhealthy habit for many reasons. Folks, please stop and think for a second. Worse? When someone licks a thumb to count money, then hands it to you! I don’t want to think how many people have done the same with that bill! -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Other uses for cleaned-out candle jars:

* Store screws, nails, etc.

* Keep by the dryer to collect things left in pockets.

* Collect change in one.

* Use to keep extra buttons for clothing.

* Make a “love jar” with little notes for your loved one.

-- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My chrome bathroom fixtures have a lot of hard-water buildup on them from soap and dirt. Do you have an easy way to get them clean and “polished”-looking again? -- Shelly in New York

Sure do, Shelly! I have an easy hint that uses my favorite household product — vinegar! Using undiluted vinegar and a microfiber cloth, wipe the bathroom fixtures and let the vinegar sit for a minute or two, rub with the cloth and then rinse with water. If you have really hard-to-remove water stains, take a tissue, cover the area, then dampen with vinegar. Let it sit for a while. Then use a scrub brush, rinse and dry. Vinegar is a great product to have handy. For more of my favorite vinegar hints, order my pamphlet Heloise’s Fantabulous Vinegar Hints and More. Send $5 with a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. FYI: You can remove and soak the faucet’s aerator in vinegar to remove lime and hard-water buildup. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have trouble getting things down from storage. I got plastic spray paint and painted the storage tubs: orange for Thanksgiving, red for Christmas and so on. I made a list of what’s in each tub and numbered them. When I need something, I just tell my friend the color of the box and the number. -- Avis in Helotes, Tex.


Dear Heloise: Being a grandmother, I seem to always need “to go” cups, which are spillproof.

I save the plastic individual cookie containers and covers. I wash them out, cut a plus sign in the top, insert a straw, and the kids and I are ready to enjoy our outing. I may dispose of them, or I can be a “green” grandma and reuse them. -- Janelle in Port Allen, La.

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