When spring cleaning keep in mind there are many items that should not be donated to charity, such as dirty, stained, chipped and cracked kitchen dishes. (Black Press file photo)

When spring cleaning keep in mind there are many items that should not be donated to charity, such as dirty, stained, chipped and cracked kitchen dishes. (Black Press file photo)

Hints from Heloise: Spring cleaning organization hacks

Dear Readers: Spring cleaning is in full swing. Closet cleaning? Here are some items to NOT donate to charity: — Dirty, stained, ripped, moldy, foul-smelling clothes and shoes.

— Dirty, stained, chipped, cracked kitchen dishes and service items.

— Furniture that is beyond reupholstering, be it damaged or worn, covered in pet hair, etc. — Electronics older than five years. — Toys with broken and/or missing components.

— Out of season clothes and household items.

Call the donation center if you have questions about what you can and cannot donate. — Heloise

CANDLE WAX

Dear Heloise: Recently I had my first big dinner party and used a beautiful tablecloth given to me by my mother-in-law. Unfortunately, it has candle wax spilled on it, and I don’t know how to get it out. HELP! — Taylor D., Burlington, Vt.

Taylor, first, put the tablecloth in a plastic bag and put it in your freezer for a couple of days. When the wax has hardened, carefully scrape off the wax with a dull knife. Place paper towels on both sides of the stain and turn on your iron to a warm (not hot) setting. Press over the paper towel to absorb all of the wax. Keep moving the paper towel around to absorb the wax stain onto a clean area. Launder or dry clean your tablecloth as you would normally do. —Heloise

TASTY ICE CUBES

Dear Heloise: With warmer weather on its way, my family likes to enjoy a cold drink of lemonade or sometimes a soft drink. I take an ice cube tray and freeze ice cubes from the lemonade or soft drink so the drink stays cold and the ice doesn’t water down the taste. When I make punch for a party, I do the same thing with an ice ring so the punch doesn’t end up tasting bland. — Tanya C., Springdale, Ark.

PERKY FLOWERS

Dear Heloise: Here where I live we have beautiful azaleas, and I’ve found a way to make my azaleas bloom and thrive better than most! I take leftover coffee and use it in my garden, then sprinkle the coffee grounds around the plants. Azaleas are an acid-loving plant, and by adding a little more acidity (careful — not too much) it helps to nourish my azaleas and makes them grow abundantly. — Darla K., Metairie, La.

RIP TORN

Dear Readers: A ripped, torn or dirty mask will not provide an acceptable level of protection. Throw it out and get a new one. — Heloise

P.S. Cut the elastic bands on the mask before disposing of it so the bands can’t get wrapped around anything or anybody, like wildlife.

BEAUTIFUL NAILS

Dear Heloise: With all the hand-washing and hand sanitizer, my nails are in bad shape. Any hints for this? — Mary Ellen R. in New Jersey

Mary Ellen, use a cuticle oil immediately after washing hands, and rub in petroleum jelly around cuticles at night. Keep your diet strong with milk (if you can have it), sweet potatoes and broccoli. — Heloise

SQUEEGEE

Dear Heloise: I use a rubber squeegee on my dog to remove loose hair before washing. This saves my plumbing from all the hair, and the dog gets cleaner. — Gary P. in Indiana

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