Dear Heloise: I have a NONSTICK IRON that has sticky residue on it. The residue comes off on clothes when I try to use the iron. How do I get rid of the sticky residue without harming the nonstick surface? How do I prevent my iron from getting the residue again? -- A Reader, via e-mail

First, check your owner’s manual or the company’s Web site. Or you can use one of my favorite cleaning products, vinegar. Take a damp cloth, soak it in diluted white or apple-cider vinegar and wipe the bottom surface of the COOL iron. Do this only while the iron is UNPLUGGED. This should remove the buildup, but it may take several tries. You also can use a plastic scrubbie.

The residue can come from many things: a fabric that melted onto the iron; or, if you use starch, especially spray starch, it can leave a buildup that needs to be cleaned occasionally. Want to know what else vinegar can do for you? Order my Heloise’s Fantabulous Vinegar Hints and More pamphlet by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Have an aluminum pot that is discolored? Put 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water in the pot and boil away the stain. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I read your column in The (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Gazette. I used your recipe for cleaning silver for the first time, and it was simply amazing. Do you have a recipe for cleaning brass? -- Anna F., Colorado Springs, Colo.

I do, and it’s as simple as grabbing the ketchup out of your refrigerator or using the little packets we seem to accumulate! You need to know whether the brass is lacquered or nonlacquered, because ONLY NONLACQUERED BRASS can be cleaned using ketchup. Rub the ketchup on the item’s surface, then remove with a clean, damp cloth. When done, buff dry.

Use only a damp, soft cloth without cleaner or polish on lacquered brass. Anything more can cause damage. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: For many college students and busy families, organization is key when there seems to be a never-ending mess of important papers and projects. What about the mess of documents on the computer?

Create a “file cabinet” in your computer. Divide work into two folders: course work and personal work (or, house, auto, etc.). Save more time when searching by creating folders to categorize the subjects. -- Amber H., via e-mail


Dear Readers: I’ve had a special favorite pen for years, and years back, I bought ink refills. When replacing one of the refills recently, I found that it had dried out!

I learned a hint: Don’t buy more than two (or a few) of something that can dry out or expire within a certain amount of time. -- Heloise

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