Dear Heloise: I took a load of my best friend’s clothes out of the DRYER to discover he didn’t empty his pockets (that’s right, I don’t check pockets), and a pack of gum was left in a pocket — gum on the drum!

I rubbed a little peanut butter on the drum, wiped it off with a soft cloth and then wiped the drum with a little degreaser (just to be safe). Good as new! -- Tammy, via e-mail

I’m glad this worked for you. Here’s another way to remove gum from a dryer drum:

The gum needs to be softened first. To do this, put a couple of old towels in the dryer. Let it run on the warm setting for a few minutes. Make a paste of 1 tablespoon of powdered laundry detergent and water. Next, scrub the gum stains with the paste and a nylon-net scrubbie.

Finally, wipe the inside of the dryer with a damp towel until there is no gum residue left. And just to be on the safe side, don’t use the dryer until you run a couple of old, damp towels inside. Use a damp towel to wipe out the inside of the dryer.

And important for all readers: Check all pockets before putting garments into the dryer. You never know where gum, a lipstick or lip-balm tube or a crayon might be hiding. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My wife and I use the insulated drink cups that come with a reusable plastic straw. Cleaning the straws became problematic.

One day, I used an extra-long pipe cleaner. It works great, and now we feel more comfortable knowing the straw is clean as a whistle. -- A Reader, via e-mail


Dear Heloise: I read the hint about a smelly closet. I also moved into a house with a smelly closet. I put used fabric-softener dryer sheets into a mesh bag (in which oranges come) and hung it in the closet. It worked wonderfully. -- Diane H. in Kentucky


Dear Heloise: I read the hint about a woman bringing her dog to the vet in a baby stroller. My older mother still gets around pretty well, but she needs some help with balance. She takes an umbrella stroller with her whenever she goes out. It’s a good place to put her purse and bags so that she isn’t juggling packages. It gives her an extra bit of stability, and it’s smaller and easier to maneuver than a walker, which she really doesn’t need. The stroller has been a perfect solution to her staying mobile. -- Nancie Bartley, via e-mail


Dear Heloise: Please let your readers know that a home-economics class — or family and consumer sciences, as it is now called — at a local high school is a great place to take old magazines. The students use the magazines in many different learning opportunities. I know this firsthand, because it’s where I teach. -- Deborah Gage, 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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