Helpful Hints

Posted: June 19, 2014 at 1:53 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: My wood floor has several scratches from furniture and my dog. Is there anything I can do to get rid of them so the floor looks better?

-- A Reader in Texas

DEAR READER: Get a pecan or walnut and break the meat in half. Rub it into the scratch. Make sure you go with the grain of the wood. You should feel the nut get warm. Then buff with a soft cloth. Depending on how deep the scratch is, you may need to repeat the steps. If the nuts don't work, try using a crayon that matches the color of your floor.

DEAR HELOISE: When I planted my garden this year, I found an inexpensive method to identify what was planted in each row: I cut small squares from a plastic milk jug and wrote what was planted in each row with a permanent marker. I then punched a hole in each tag and attached it to a bamboo stick with a twist-tie. The marks don't fade, and the twist-ties last a long time. Good way to recycle a milk jug and the twist ties from bread loaves.

-- Jim in Shepherd, Mont.

DEAR HELOISE: I have very hard water. I have tried everything to get the buildup off my tub and sink in the bathroom. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

-- A Reader in Maryland

DEAR READER: The remedy is as easy as going to your kitchen and grabbing the white household vinegar. Pour the vinegar into a clearly labeled spray bottle and spray the tub and sink (including fixtures). Let soak for at least five minutes before scrubbing and rinsing.

Stubborn stains? Cover these with tissue, then soak with vinegar and let sit. Leave on for a while, throw out the tissues and again, scrub and rinse well. Another great use for vinegar: Pour a good amount into the toilet bowl, leave for five minutes, scrub and flush to remove hard-water stains.

DEAR HELOISE: I use a lot of rubber bands around the house. I never had the right-size rubber band, they broke easily, or they had rotted. I bought several different sizes of elastic hair bands in the hair-accessories section at the drugstore. They can be reused, and they last forever.

-- Barb B., Oakton, Va.

DEAR HELOISE: I cut out my name and address from junk mail before recycling. One day, I ran out of pre-printed return-address stamps, and it dawned on me that the bits I cut out are the perfect replacement! They come in all sizes, and the only expense is one or two small strips of tape.

-- Duane S., Columbus, Ohio

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

Weekend on 06/19/2014