Dear Heloise: I am an avid reader of your column and appreciate all the helpful hints you publish. Did you know that a TOOTHPICK can be a helpful tool? Instead of using a knife or other sharp tool, use a toothpick to clean the area around the sink where it “meets” the countertop. -- Lonnie B., Warren, Ohio

Good hint, Lonnie. Say “Hi” to my friends in Warren! I enjoyed my time there a few years ago when giving a speech, and my visit to the newspaper. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My family recycles glass, cans, bottles and jars. These items are rinsed before going into the recycle bin in the garage, but it still gets dirty and smelly. So, every week I scrub the bin with baking soda and hot water to keep it fresh! -- Liz P. in Kentucky

Nice to hear that you are recycling so much! Yes, we rinse the cans, but sometimes things do get messy. Baking soda to the rescue, and it’s earth-friendly, too. Not only can you clean your recycle bin, but the garbage cans inside and outside your home as well. There are so many money-saving hints for baking soda that I wrote my pamphlet Heloise’s Baking Soda Hints and Recipes. To receive one, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Diaper pails also can be filled with odors! Leave a small amount of baking soda sprinkled in the bottom of the pail to keep odors to a minimum. -- Heloise


Dear Readers: Allie K. in Van Wert, Ohio, sent in a picture of her white cat, Squeak, sleeping on her owner’s desk. To see Squeak’s picture, go to my Web site,, and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: To help my son learn his letters, I came up with a strategy that I think will help others: We focused on only one letter a week. The first week, our letter was A. I made food into the shape of an A, I pointed out things that started with the letter, and we did crafts making the letter A. Anything to help him learn that letter. At the very end of the week, we reviewed the letters we had already learned. -- H.E. in San Antonio


Dear Heloise: I am used to traveling a long distance in a car to see family, so I know to take a pillow for my back. This last time, I cut two holes in the pillowcase and tied string through the holes to loop it over my headrest so the pillow stays in place. Now when I refuel on gas or stop for food, the pillow does not fall or get thrown about. -- Marcia in Nebraska


Dear Heloise: After the Christmas tree comes down for the year, reuse your tinsel icicles as gift stuffing. -- Carolyn M. in Kentucky

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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