Dear Readers: Many folks buy the commercial AIR FRESHENERS, but they can be pricey. To save money, here is an easy Heloise Hints way that you can make air fresheners at home for just a few cents.

All you need is some essential oil (you can use whichever you like, such as peppermint, lavender, orange, lemon, eucalyptus and bergamot). These essential oils can be found at many large grocery chains or drugstores. They may seem to cost a bit, but a small bottle will last a long, long time.

All you do is put several drops of the oil on some cotton balls. Then put the cotton balls in a glass, ceramic or metal container. Set these around the room you want to freshen, and the fragrance will be wonderful. They must be placed high enough and out of the way so that children or pets cannot get to them. -- Heloise

P.S.: My favorites are essential oil of lavender, which is calming and relaxing, and essential oil of orange, which can be uplifting and invigorating, and adds a fresh citrus fragrance to the room.


Dear Readers: Gloria B. in Waterville, Maine, sent a close-up photo of her adorable Yorkie, Mekka. Gloria says: “My husband rescued her for me when I retired. She is now 7 years old.” To see Mekka’s close up, please visit my Web site at and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I discovered an economical way to clean the carpeted steps in your home, especially if you have pets.

Start by sweeping from the top with a broom to get most of the hair, all the way to the bottom. You won’t believe how much hair you will scoop up. It’s economical, because now you won’t have to run your vacuum so long, and there will be fewer bags or canisters to empty! -- Helen F., Steubenville, Ohio

Helen, you are right -- sometimes an old-fashioned method is surprisingly more efficient than using an appliance that uses electricity. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I was losing a lot of pins and needles from my portable sewing kit. I had one of the old-fashioned “tomato”-style pincushions, which was starting to wear out and leak sawdust into the bottom of my kit, so I finally decided to replace it.

After removing all the pins and needles, I decided to rip it open on the chance that there were more inside. Were there ever! Inside, I found 13 needles and 30 pins! Never throw away a sawdust-filled pincushion without emptying it first. You never know what you’ll find. -- Elsie in Huntsville, Ala.


Dear Heloise: It is difficult to cut thin plastic sheeting with scissors because it tends to slip between scissor blades instead of cutting. What works much better is an envelope opener with a sharp blade insert. -- Doug Johnson, Denham Springs, La.

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