Dear Readers: If you or someone you know suffers from allergies, here are a few hints on how to cut down on allergy triggers in YOUR HOME and keep symptoms to a minimum:

* When coming home, remove shoes at the door to avoid tracking outside allergens in.

* Remove carpets and rugs, if possible, particularly in bedrooms. If not, vacuum several times a week, and clean two to three times a year.

* Use mattresses and pillows that have a fitted allergy barrier to act as a protective cover.

* Wash sheets and bedding weekly, or more often, in hot water if there is a dust-mite allergy.

* Pet dander can be a source of allergies, so give pets baths at least once a week.

* Vacuum the entire home regularly using a vacuum that has a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.

* Houseplants such as spider plants, English ivy and Boston ferns help with indoor pollution.

-- Heloise


Dear Readers: Nickie C. in Lancaster, Calif., sent in a picture of Bundy, a 2-year-old Lab-chow mix, curled up in his favorite patio chair. Nickie says that Bundy was rescued from the shelter and has become a good walking buddy. To see Bundy’s picture, go to and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Will you please reprint your suggestion for what to do with old VHS tapes? -- Marilyn S., Palmyra, Pa.

I am happy to reprint it for you and my other readers. This is a wonderful organization, worth cleaning out that closet or drawer filled with old tapes for! Plus, this is a two-for-one hint, one for the employees and one for Mother Earth. Send your VHS tapes to Alternative Community Training. ACT aids people with disabilities by providing employment opportunities along with other services. Employees recycle VHS tapes and other electronic products, such as CDs and DVDs. The address is: Alternative Community Training Inc., 2200 Burlington St., Columbia, MO 65202. If you have questions, call ACT at 800-359-4607 and say that Heloise sent you. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: The best way to store partially full cans of spray paint is upside-down. Turn the can upside down; depress the nozzle until you get only gas. Don’t turn the can upright. Cap it and put it on the shelf. When the can is upside-down, the end of the pickup tube will be in the gas propellant. -- Frank P., Rosamond, Calif.

I love spray paint and rarely have any leftover to store. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Searching for a desk for my son was difficult. All of the options seemed too small or childish. I had the idea of getting an inexpensive but good-looking coffee table to go with a small chair for my son to work at. He loves his new school and craft area, and I love knowing he has his own special space for work. -- Annelise in Minnesota

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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