Dear Heloise: I buy shampoo, conditioner, soap and toothpaste in BULK. With a marker, I always label the bottles before putting them away. For example, if I buy a package of five bottles, I label the first one “one out of five” and so on. When I do this, I don’t have to worry about buying too much or when I will need to buy more. -- A Reader, via e-mail

A very good “inventory” system indeed, and one that will help save you money! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I received multiple fire-ant bites to my right foot. Over-the-counter remedies were mostly ineffective and short-lived against the blisters and the itching.

I used a half-gallon of cool water and a generous cup of white vinegar as a soaking solution. The effects of the soaking lasted many hours and could be repeated as frequently as needed. -- Donna S., via e-mail

You have discovered one of vinegar’s amazing qualities. It is a natural antiseptic that can be used to stop the itching of not only fire-ant bites, but also wasp stings and other insect bites. You can pour vinegar on a cloth or paper towel and place over the bite. Obviously, if you have an insect allergy, follow your doctor’s instructions on what to do if bit. It is so easy to love vinegar, and there are many more hints available in my Heloise’s Fantabulous Vinegar Hints and More pamphlet. To receive this six-page pamphlet, please send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Next summer, remember to pack a small bottle of white vinegar in case of jellyfish stings! Unlike insect bites, pour over the sting -- don’t apply using a cloth. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I moved into a new house a few years ago. Since I have vaulted ceilings, my kitchen cabinets do not have a soffit over them. I put some cute decorations on top of the cabinets. Several months later, I got up there to clean and was amazed at how dirty it was. I cleaned like crazy, then put waxed paper on top of the cabinets and put my decorations back. Now when I have to clean, it’s just the decorations. I pull off the old, dirty waxed paper and stretch out a new layer. -- Nanci C. in Texas

Have you been in my kitchen? I, too, got up there and went “yuck” — a lot of dust and gunk! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: A suggestion for readers who are in the process of moving, or plan to, would be to leave the instruction booklets for the appliances in their home. I have been stuck with a new stove and no clue on how to operate it. Now if I move, I will always keep in mind to leave the old instruction books for the next tenant. -- A Reader, 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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