Dear Heloise: When I was growing up, my dad had his suits DRY-CLEANED every season, or if something was spilled on it. My husband has his cleaned every time he wears it. I feel the correct amount of cleaning is probably somewhere in the middle. I feel like my husband wastes a lot of money on dry cleaning, but I am willing to cede the point if you back him up! -- A Reader, via e-mail

You are right — there is a happy medium. A lot depends on how often the suit is worn, how it is taken care of and the quality. If done too often (after every wearing is way too much!), yes, the chemicals and pressing done by dry cleaners most likely will shorten the life of the suit.

Dry-cleaning a suit only once a year or every season seems to be not enough. A handful of times a year or after many wearings seems to be the happy medium. Get a suit brush to give the suit and pants a once-over after wearing. Always hang the suit up after wearing to air out any odors and decrease wrinkles.

If the suit is taken care of, it will last a long time and remain in good condition. -- Heloise

P.S.: Do have the WHOLE suit cleaned at the same time. Some people think they can get away with cleaning just the jacket, but it’s not a good idea.


Dear Heloise: Most of us are aware that letter writing is a thing of the past. I have sent letters to my younger grandchildren, enclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope and including a piece of notepaper. I have received many letters in return from the grandchildren and even one with “Gramma and Grampa” written over our names on the self-addressed envelope. I am a grandmother trying to keep letter writing alive. -- B.M. in Florida

How smart of you! A great hint to keep in touch with the grandchildren. I love it! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I store my plastic-bowl lids in plastic storage bags, with small lids in quart-size bags and larger in gallon-size bags. You don’t have to hunt for matching lids because they’re all stored in one place. Saves cabinet space, and you easily can stack bowls. -- Barbara L., Roseland, Fla.


Dear Heloise: My hint has to do with the frustration of trying to open plastic produce bags in the grocery store. Many grocery stores provide sanitizing wipes. I keep mine and use the moisture from it to open the produce bag with ease. -- Karen R. in Texas


Dear Heloise: I am a big recycling fan and like to put used newspapers in grocery sacks/bags. To keep the bags stronger, I tape all the way around the top with packaging tape. The sacks are used until they literally wear out! -- Pat A., 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

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