Dear Readers: As cellphones become more and more popular, many people are forgoing LANDLINES completely. But in the event of an emergency, if cellphone towers go out or there is no power to charge your phone, what will you do? Research reveals that you can get basic plain-Jane phone service for $20 or so a month. It’s a good backup, and it saves minutes (on your cell bill) for local calls. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I recently found a cellphone, the second time this has happened. Both were locked, and there was no way to find the owner. My hint is to put an alternate phone number on the inside of the battery cover. I dropped them off at the cellular provider indicated on the front of the phone. -- Dawn B. in Wisconsin

Very good point! Some phones may not have a battery “cover,” but this is a valuable hint. If your phone doesn’t have a removable battery, place a note between the phone and the cover. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Do you have a way to eliminate pet stains on carpet? -- L.S. in Texas

First, you need to get to the area as soon as possible! If it’s fresh, you need to blot up as much liquid as you can, using paper towels. Then mix a solution of 1 teaspoon mild dishwashing detergent and a cup of warm water. Dab the stain, working from the outside in. Be sure to NOT SOAK the area. Rinse with clean water and blot dry.

Next, mix a solution of 1/3 cup white vinegar and 2/3 cup water, and dab the area. Vinegar will help remove the odor and any detergent that is left behind. Have other cleaning problems you need help with? I have compiled a handy pamphlet full of my favorite solutions. To order, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (65 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Cleaners, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. To make a simple vinegar-based cleaner for windows and mirrors, mix 1/2 cup of vinegar and 1/2 cup of water. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: When I was traveling the world as an airline captain, I often would have layovers at vacation spots. When I wanted photos of famous landmarks, I often would first look at a postcard selection and find the “professional’s” viewpoint. By taking my photo from the same vantage point used in the postcard, my photos often turned out better than they otherwise would. -- Jim in Omaha


Dear Heloise: My hint regards keeping blankets and expensive bedcoverings clean if your dog sleeps with you. My friend suggested that rather than washing my blankets each week, I place two flat sheets over the sheets under my duvet. Now my small dog is happy to slip between them, and his hair lands there, rather than on a dry-clean duvet or a blanket that cannot stand up to weekly washing. -- Vanessa in Texas

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