Dear Readers: Did you know that there is a difference between DEODORANT SOAP AND ANTIBACTERIAL SOAP? According to my friends at the American Cleaning Institute (, deodorant soap is designed to get rid of odors on the body. Antibacterial soaps contain specific ingredients that control the growth of germs on the skin, and they can “provide extra protection against bacteria that may cause many common illnesses,” says the institute.

Using deodorant soap is a good way to freshen up daily. Using antibacterial soap is a good idea after doing certain activities, such as handling pets, using the restroom, changing a diaper and, of course, before preparing and eating a meal.

When you use antibacterial soap, a tiny amount of germ-controlling ingredients is left on the skin and slows the reproduction of germs. Lathering up with plain soap does not stop germs from reproducing and multiplying, but is still a good way to wash your hands. And sing “Happy Birthday” twice so you’ll wash for the suggested 20 seconds. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Gerry in Burnham, Maine, sent a picture of her black, white and gray cat, Rascal. Rascal likes to stand up and clap his paws at his toys! To see Rascal and our other Pet Pals, visit and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Thank you for all the wonderful hints. When I went off to college, my mother made sure that I could take care of myself -- that is, separate whites from colors in the laundry, and cook an egg. Since then, “Hints From Heloise” has kept me going:

* I cut a stack of paper towels into quarters. One-quarter of a paper towel serves well for most wipe-ups and saves a lot of paper!

* Also, I save lids from the plastic containers of sour cream, cottage cheese, etc., and use them to separate glasses in the dishwasher so they won’t rub against each other.

I read your column in The (Vancouver, Wash.) Columbian. -- James in Camas, Wash.


Dear Heloise: About using unused business cards as gift tags: I have a whole box that I acquired from someone who was promoted, and I use them for bookmarks. I don’t have to care if they are lost or left in the book when I’m done. -- Stephanie N., Nipomo, Calif.


Dear Heloise: A good hint for cleaning the toilet bowl when leaving on vacation: Pour 3 or more cups of white vinegar in the bowl and leave it there until you return home. Scrub and see how clean the bowl gets. -- Linda in Florida


Dear Heloise: I use old waterproof mascara to carefully cover my gray hair! I have some stubborn gray hairs, and a brushing of brown-black mascara covers them nicely. Perfect to get those hairs that my hair color missed! -- L.B. in Indiana

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