Dear Readers: Today’s Sound off is about Social Security.

“Dear Heloise: Recently, on the news, I heard a politician refer to Social Security as an ‘entitlement program.’ I find this annoying because it sounds as if the government is being ‘generous’ in giving back the money I and others worked so hard for to ensure we had retirement income. Now, there’s talk of reducing Social Security and even Medicare, which doesn’t cover enough right now.

“For many Americans, Social Security does not keep up with the rising cost of food, utilities, medical care and housing, but at least it’s better than nothing. However, ‘nothing’ is what I worry the government wants to give retired Americans. Perhaps that’s why so many people are working well beyond retirement age.”

Don K., Crown Point, Ind.

Dear Readers: Here are some new uses for a single earring when the matching one is lost:

● Break off the post and hot-glue it to a plain gold or silver ring, and you have a new piece of jewelry.

● Use as a lapel pin.

● Suspend it from a necklace or bracelet.

● Glue several single earrings into one piece of jewelry to make a unique pin.

Dear Heloise: My bathroom grout is a mess! How can I clean it without damaging the grout?

Ava B., Kirkwood, Del.

Ava B.: Mix 1/4 cup borax, 1/2 cup baking soda and enough hot water to form a paste. Apply to the grout, scrub with a soft brush and let sit 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing. This is just one of several homemade cleaners you’ll find in my Homemade Cleaning Solutions pamphlet. To get a copy, send $5, along with a stamped (71 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, to: Heloise/Cleaners, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Or you can order it online at Heloise.com. FYI: Make housekeeping easier, safer and less expensive by using my simple cleaning ideas that you can make in your own kitchen with products you may already have on hand.

Dear Heloise: Please tell your readers to use cornstarch instead of dusting powder. Cornstarch is the basis for dusting powder. My mother used it all her life and on all 12 children in our family. Love your column!

Roberta G., Terre Haute, Ind.

Roberta G.: Great idea! A number of people are allergic to the perfumes used in dusting powder, and this is a practical and inexpensive alternative to commercial dusting powders.

Dear Heloise: Why do some dishwashers have two soap dispensers (like mine), while others have only one? Are the dishes getting as clean with one?

An N.C. Reader in Charlotte

N.C. Reader in Charlotte: The second soap dispenser is for heavy dish loads, when your dishwasher is full to maximum capacity, or for heavily soiled dished and pans.

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.

2018, King Features Syndicate