Dear Heloise: My knife block is looking rather shabby of late. How do I clean it and the knife slots, which I know must be dusty? — Debbie A., Schuyler, Neb.
Debbie, to clean the slots you can use the crevice tool on your vacuum to get out dirt. Then use a mild soap and warm water to clean the wooden block (DO NOT submerge; just wipe off) with a soft cloth.
If water runs down into the slots, that’s OK. You can dry off the wooden block with a hair dryer or allow to air-dry overnight. — Heloise
Dear Readers: Clean freaks we may or may not be, but since the inception of this column — founded by my mother, the original Heloise (1919-1977) — we have sought to provide you easy and timesaving tips, tricks and hints toward getting a somewhat more marginally clean home while balancing home, family, friends and fun.
To that end, let’s look at the microfiber towel.
Talk about a timesaver! Microfiber is a synthetic blend of, normally, polyester and nylon, configured in a rectangular or square shape.
Microfiber towels absorb and hold liquids and oils faster and better than traditional cotton toweling.
Also, dust molecules are drawn to microfiber, making them ideal for cleaning.
Microfiber towels can cost more than ordinary towels, but their cleaning power and longevity make up for any initial outlay of cash.
Microfiber towels are appropriate for most cleaning tasks, but don’t use a dirty one to dust an LCD screen — scratches can ensue.
Two more points: Never use fabric softener when washing microfiber, and look for bulk bags of microfiber towels in the automotive department of a big box retailer. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: Every time I buy cans of soda, there is a plastic container at the top that holds the six pack together. I always take that off and cut it into tiny pieces to help prevent animals from being caught in one of the openings. I’ve seen the damage that can be caused by these plastic things as they float in our oceans and streams. — Marilynn S., Rosedale, Md.
Marilynn, thank you for reminding all of us to be especially careful with plastic. Every year thousands of pounds of plastic is removed from our oceans and waterways. It’s up to all of us to dispose of plastic in proper containers rather than toss these things into our oceans, rivers and streams. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: I wet the edge of a paper towel, stick it to the floor and use it as dustpan. Then I can easily wad it up and throw it away. — Gloria D. in Texas
Dear Heloise: When I open a can of black olives, I usually use only a few at a time.
I’ve placed the remainder in the refrigerator while they are still in the can, but they look terrible after a week or so. What is the best way to store leftover olives? — Jean W., Taos, N.M.
Jean, black olives won’t be at their best if not used within a week or two, so store them in a glass or plastic container, along with their liquid, and keep in the refrigerator.
If you enjoy a frozen pizza once in a while, you can slice some black olives and sprinkle on top of the pizza before baking.
Black olives in a salad increases the favor and looks attractive to the eye.
You might want to experiment with using black olives in a number of recipes. — Heloise