Dear Readers: Here is this week’s SOUND OFF, about plastic wrap:

“Do you suppose you could suggest that manufacturers of clear plastic wrap produce a box of a narrower size? Normally it comes 12 inches wide. But sometimes I have just a bit left over, and I have to unwrap a 12-inch-wide strip. A thinner size would save plastic. -- H.M., via e-mail”

Happy to print your suggestion to the manufacturers. You could cut the plastic to make it a smaller size. To be honest, though, the very small amount wasted really is not much plastic. Why not save what’s left for next time? -- Heloise



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE



Dear Readers: Other uses for gripping shelf liner:

* Place under a cutting board.

* Use to help open jars.

* Place in a tub as a bathmat when bathing a dog.

* Use as a place mat for children.

* Under a pet’s food and water dishes.

-- Heloise


Dear Heloise: Our daughter wanted to give her father an oversize paperback book that he would enjoy. His left arm is paralyzed due to a stroke. Knowing he was unable to hold the book open, she took it to a copy center, which “shaved” a small amount from the binding and turned the book into a spiral-bound book for less than $4.

My husband now can easily turn the pages and hold the book with one hand. This method would not work for hard-bound books, but there are paperback books on just about any subject. -- Beverly H., Fillmore, Calif.


Dear Heloise: How do I clean the fabric-softener dispenser in my washing machine? -- Cindy, via e-mail

This is a common question, Cindy — that dispenser can get pretty gunky! But it’s relatively simple to clean. Pour really hot water into the dispenser and let it sit for a while. The hot water should loosen the gunk. Then take a small brush, like a bottle brush, and scrub it clean. Rinse the dispenser with warm water.

To prevent the problem, fill the dispenser partially with water BEFORE adding the fabric softener. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: I had some extra toothbrush holders, the round kind with holes on top. I took fresh flowers (silk would work, too) and placed them in the holder. It made a cute little flower arrangement.

Because of the size, they fit nicely into areas without much space — the bathroom sink, a nightstand, etc. Toothbrush holders come in so many colors, it is easy to find one to match your decor. -- Julie in Dayton, Ohio


Dear Heloise: When packing my son’s lunch, I always throw in an antibacterial wipe placed in a zippered plastic bag. He doesn’t use it every day, but he occasionally needs to wipe the table or his lunch bag. It comes in handy if something spills or the table is dirty, etc. -- Catherine in Cleveland

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