Dear Heloise: Every year, my two dogs fight FLEAS. I hate harsh chemical products, so I wondered if you have hints to help minimize these pests. -- Mandy M. in California

Unfortunately, our pets do sometimes bring these little pests into our homes. Here are a few hints from the Environmental Protection Agency on helping to keep fleas to a minimum in your home:

* Keep your pets inside the majority of the time, and have them go outside only to do their business.

* Wash pet bedding in hot water at least every two weeks. Make sure it’s clean.

* Comb your dogs regularly with a flea comb to check for and remove any adult fleas. Concentrate on the dogs’ necks and tails, where most fleas are found.

* Vacuum your home regularly (every day, if needed), particularly where your dogs like to sleep. This will help capture eggs, larvae and adult fleas to prevent a full infestation.

-- Heloise


Dear Readers: M.M. sent in a picture, via e-mail, of her 10-year-old Pomeranian, Georgie, sitting on a rug. Georgie is very friendly and loves playing hide-and-seek. To see Georgie’s picture, go to my Web site,, and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I had a rust stain on a white blouse. A neighbor suggested using a combination of lemon juice and salt on it, then placing the garment outside in the light, and the stain would disappear. It worked! -- Carolyn M., Theodore, Ala.

Carolyn, I’m so glad this classic hint worked for you! It usually is suggested for dried ink stains, but I’m sure it could work wonders on others. Just be careful when using this method. Test in a hidden area, and watch carefully so you don’t damage the fabric. I love helping people get out tough stains! Have one that you need help with? Just order my pamphlet to get all of my stain-removing hints. To receive, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Stain Guide, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Black clothing looking a little dull? Rinse in a solution of clear water and vinegar. It will remove soap residue that may be causing the dullness. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I am an avid sewer. I am always on the lookout for good sources of material to use in my projects. When stores have clearance sales, I look at the quilts, tablecloths, shower curtains, etc., to see if any of the fabric matches things I want to sew. I recently bought a denim shower curtain for $8. I have already made three projects using the denim! -- Peggy J., Fayetteville, Ark.


Dear Heloise: Mushrooms are sold in small, plastic containers that work great for other things. I use them on the bathroom counter, nightstand, dresser and in drawers to keep small items, such as makeup, toiletries and jewelry, organized. -- Betsy in Colorado

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

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