Dear Readers: An easily forgotten task is WASHING MAKEUP BRUSHES, but there’s no end to the list of things, besides makeup, trapped in those bristles. Ideally, makeup brushes should be washed one to two times per month.

Start by moistening the brush with lukewarm water. Point the bristles downward to prevent water from getting into the handle. Using a mild shampoo (I like using baby shampoo), start lathering the soap between your fingers, working it from the base to the tip of the brush. KEEP THE BRUSH POINTED DOWN. Gently squeeze down the bristles over and over, adding a little more water each time, until the brush is clean. Wipe the brush on a paper towel and reshape it into its original brush shape. Lay all brushes on their sides. Setting them upright, in a brush holder, will allow water to work its way down the bristles and loosen the glue holding the brush together. Allow brushes to dry overnight before use. Enjoy how soft your freshly cleaned brushes will be! -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Whether you purchase something in a store or by mail order, be sure to save the original box that the item came in for at least a short time. Until you use the item, you may not know if you want to keep it. By saving the box, you will be able to return the item (especially by mail) if you don’t like it or it doesn’t work.

If you have the storage available in your home, consider saving boxes a little longer. If you know that you are going to move, electronics are one item in particular that it’s great to be able to repackage in the original box for protection. -- Andrew G. in Utah


Dear Heloise: Here is my hint for freshening up pillows: Toss some clean tennis balls, your pillows and a fabric-softener sheet into the dryer for 10 minutes. Setting the dryer on the “medium” heat setting ensures that any and all dust mites will be killed. This is a great help for those who suffer from allergies while also extending the longevity of your pillows. -- Helen W., via e-mail


Dear Heloise: Before giving away magazines, I put a small strip of transparent tape over the address, press and lift off the address. No more cutting or inking out the name and address. This method also works when a mistake is made on envelopes and packages. Just fit the size of tape to the error made. -- Maryann K. in Pennsylvania


Dear Heloise: I had some food items that needed rinsing, but I didn’t want to dig out the big colander. I came across an old pie tin and had an idea. I took an ice pick and poked several holes in the bottom of the tin. Now I have a makeshift colander that is just right and that I will continue to use in a pinch. -- Kristen P. in Idaho

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.

, King Features Syndicate