Dear Heloise: In a recent letter, a reader inquired about removing wine residue from a LEAD-CRYSTAL DECANTER. Please do your readers a service and warn them about a medical directive stating that wine should NEVER be STORED in lead crystal, as lead can and will leach into the wine. In addition, pregnant women are advised against drinking anything from lead crystal. -- Barbara C., Scotch Plains, N.J.

Barbara, yes, you are right. The Food and Drug Administration advises that lead can leach into wine if stored for a LONG TIME in the decanter. However, it’s okay to use this type of decanter for serving wine right away. Additionally, the FDA recommends that all lead crystal should be used with caution, especially with children and women of childbearing age — they should use lead-free crystal, if possible. None of this information is currently on the FDA Web site. However, it is available when you call the FDA (888-463-6332). -- Heloise

P.S.: Many people call all crystal “lead crystal” when it is not.


Dear Heloise: Is there a proper way to care for wooden kitchen spoons and spatulas? Should I “season” them? -- Debbie B., Struthers, Ohio

Yes, there is; yes, you should; and it’s simple to do! Start by washing the wood spoons in soap and hot water, then let them dry. Next, wipe each with mineral oil (NOT olive or vegetable oil, because it can become rancid).

Let the spoons sit for a couple of hours or overnight. Next, wipe off the excess, and they are ready to use.

It’s always a good idea to hand-wash wooden items. Placing them in the dishwasher can cause damage from the hot water, strong detergent and high temperature of the drying cycle. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Have you ever wondered how many times you can apply lipstick from a single, standard tube? Manufacturers say that a tube of lipstick has approximately 260 applications -- that equals about three months’ worth (if you apply lipstick three times a day).

Lipstick has a shelf life of one to two years. However, if it looks, smells or tastes funny, that is an indication that the lipstick needs to be disposed of.

How many tubes of lipstick do you have? We would love to hear from you. We will randomly choose five readers who will receive a set of Heloise pamphlets. Send in your “number” to:; mail to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279; or fax to: 210-HELOISE (435-6473). -- Heloise

P.S.: Visit my Web site,, for links to my Facebook and Twitter pages -- hints, fun facts and more! Come see photos and check out what’s happening.


Dear Heloise: I buy the large bags of dog and cat food. When a bag is empty, I use it for trash. It is especially handy for heavy, messy stuff. Before I put it in the garbage can, I close the top and then staple it shut. -- Shirley in Harrisburg, Pa.

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