Helpful Hints

Posted: June 9, 2014 at 1:48 a.m.

DEAR READERS: Here is this week's Sound Off, about leaving furniture, etc., outside:

"It really bothers me when I see perfectly reusable items, such as furniture, children's toys, etc., thrown out for garbage when they easily could have been donated to a charity, shelter or organization that helps the poor. Count your blessings and help someone less fortunate."

-- A Reader, via email

That can be frustrating to see, but you never know if there is a reason they threw out the items, instead of donating them. They might be broken or unsafe, and you wouldn't want something like that to go to someone else.

DEAR READER: Other uses for cloth wrap with self-gripping fabric closure, found around blankets:

• Use to hold back curtains.

• Put around a sleeping bag.

• Bundle newspapers or magazines to carry.

• Wrap around other blankets or towels.

• Let a child use as a belt.

DEAR HELOISE: I have used the recipe for drain cleaner, and it worked, saving me the expense of a plumber! However, your directions for mold in the bathroom are confusing. You indicate 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. Is it 3 percent of peroxide to 1 cup of water, or what?

-- Brenda L., Alexandria, Va.

DEAR READER: When talking about 3 percent hydrogen peroxide for the bathroom mold cleaner, it is simply the concentration of hydrogen peroxide. It's sold in stores as "hydrogen peroxide, 3 percent." For the cleaner, you do not need to mix it with anything. Simply put the hydrogen peroxide into a bottle and spray on any areas with mold, then let dry.

DEAR HELOISE: My kids and I love to spend afternoons and weekends at the pool. The kids love to use inflatable floats and toys. I hate having to deflate them when we are done. I have found an easier way. I take a clothespin and use it to pinch open the nozzle so the air comes out. I no longer have to stand there and hold it open myself. I can use the clothespin, walk away and come back later to find it done.

-- Kenzie in Florida

DEAR HELOISE: An easy method for "short folks" to check smoke alarms is, instead of dragging a stool from room to room, just take a wand from a discarded window blind. Place an eraser on the end, and you can check from a standing position.

-- Joan M., Cranford, N.J.

DEAR HELOISE: I wanted to paint my bathroom but didn't know how to get around the toilet. I didn't want to get paint all over the tank. I took an old T-shirt and slid it over the tank. It worked perfectly as a cover.

-- Sharon in Seattle

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

ActiveStyle on 06/09/2014