Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about how companies put instructions on packaging:

“My Sound Off is about companies that make frozen food in individual packets inside a box. The cooking instructions are on the box, but not on the packet, so when you take one to work, you need to remember the timing so you don’t end up with an ice pop or a lump of coal to eat. It’s usually the ‘pocket’ items that don’t have the instructions. -- Deborah, via e-mail”

Well, there usually is a downside to some “convenience” foods! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I recently forgot a load of towels in the washer for a couple of days, and now they smell like mildew. Please tell me how I can get rid of this awful smell. -- A Reader, via e-mail

This happens a lot, and you’re not alone! To get rid of the smell, rewash the towels in hot water with a normal amount of laundry detergent and 1 / 2 cup of baking soda or washing soda (you can find it in the laundry aisle). Then put the towels into the dryer ASAP. Also, use a low heat setting for a longer time. You may need to repeat the process if they’re still not fresh. Want to know other great home hints using baking soda? Order my pamphlet Heloise’s Baking Soda Hints and Recipes. Send $5 with a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Towels aren’t the only things that can be deodorized with baking soda. Sprinkling a small amount of baking soda in clothes hampers, diaper pails and pet bedding will help keep the odors away. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Other uses for clean cloth diapers:

* As a burp cloth.

* As a towel in the garage.

* To wash the car.

* As a cleaning rag around the house.

* In the car for spills, etc.

-- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I have a handicap parking pass and use a cane. Shopping was a problem — walking to get a shopping cart with the cane, putting the cane into the cart, trying not to hit things with the cane, etc. Finally, I realized that I should park not in handicap places, but next to the shopping-cart corral. I no longer need the cane, since the shopping cart is like a walker on wheels; I get just a little bit more exercise. -- Priscilla in Virginia


Dear Heloise: I moved into an apartment that had a funky smell, so I put a clip-on air freshener for the car on my box fan and turned it on to circulate the air. Magically, the smell was gone. -- Lynette, via e-mail


Dear Heloise: I have a large houseplant that has a lot of stems and is hard to get to for watering. Solution: Use a turkey baster. Works great for getting in between all of the stems. -- T.B. in West Virginia

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.

2012, King Features Syndicate