Dear Heloise: I love your vinegar and water kitchen spray and use it all the time. But, my husband strongly objects to the vinegar smell. Can you suggest a way to make it smell better? — Pauline Sterin, Harwood, Md.
I sure can, Pauline. Just add a few drops of essential oil to 1/2 cup of white vinegar and 1/2 cup of water, and you’ll have your own custom-made, pleasant-smelling kitchen cleaner. My favourite essential oil is lavender, but you can use orange oil, peppermint, eucalyptus or whichever fragrance you prefer. You usually can find essential oils in the pharmacy or health-food section at the store.
Just pour the mixture into a labelled spray bottle and you’re ready to clean your countertops (not marble), refrigerator, microwave and other appliances. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: When the shower curtain needs to be washed/bleached, unhook the rod and slide it off, rings and all.
Everything goes through the wash intact. It’s sooo much easier than struggling to unhook each ring. (Metal or decorative rings may rust or break. Use a gentle cycle and put a rubber band around the rings to keep them from banging around. — Heloise)
Another hint: To remember to take my cloth bags to the supermarket and other stores, I clip my shopping list to a bag. — Judy Ingram, Kezar Falls, Maine
Dear Heloise: For those who fear falling in the shower when traveling, buy a roll of skid-free, rubberized shelf liner and cut it as needed to fit the tub. It takes up no room in your suitcase, can be used to cushion things like a camera and can be tossed or reused. — Judy Logan, Lyman, Maine
Dear Heloise: I was baking a pie with my grandson, had prepared the pastry and was letting it rest in the fridge when I realized I had loaned my rolling pin to a neighbor.
I pulled out a roll of plastic wrap and used this as a rolling pin. It was sturdy, and when I was finished, I just tore the used plastic wrap off the roll and put it away. — Ann Long, via e-mail
Dear Heloise: We recently had our Global Positioning System device stolen from our vehicle. I realized that our home address was in the machine for the criminal to see. We now put in an intersection near our home as the home address in the GPS. That way, no one could find out where we live, and we still can get home safely. — Steve, Erie, Pa.
Dear Heloise: I’ve recently received a membership renewal notice with a “reply date” that was close to the date I received the notice in the mail.
Fortunately, I keep records of when my membership was paid and when it will expire.
In this case, I was paid up for another year. The request to renew did not have my expiration date.
I’ve also received notices from various magazines that I subscribe to asking for payment way in advance.
It is important to keep a record of the payments made and the expiration date. Who knows how many people pay for renewals way in advance? — Diane Hodges, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Dear Heloise: This is what my granddaughter, Anna, does on cold winter nights to warm her bed: She spreads one of her fleece throws on top of the fitted sheet.
These throws are very inexpensive, and they are softer and warmer than a towel, which another reader suggested. — Sara Johnson, Little Rock, Ark.
Dear Heloise: When I make a label or instructions for something around the house, like a kitchen canister, new appliance, etc., I do it on my computer.
I can use many different fonts and colors. It’s fun to do, lets me get creative, and it even has spell check! — Kay, Rosebud, Texas