Helpful Hints

Posted: September 2, 2014 at 2:05 a.m.

DEAR READERS: I have written about this Heloise travel hint before, but it's time to mention it again. When staying in a hotel (especially for several nights) and using daily housekeeping service, it is nice to leave a tip. Be sure to leave a note with the tip so it goes to the right person. I usually write "For Housekeeping" and place it on a pillow, or sometimes on the dresser. This makes it clear that the money is for them. If I see the housekeeper with her cart on the floor, I try to say that there is something for her in my room.

Also, if you are there for several days, ask if the same person will be working when you leave. If you wait to tip until the end of your stay, it may be a different person from the one who has been taking care of your room.

Usually, I don't use housekeeping, because I have enough towels. I sort of throw the covers up over the pillows and put my trash in the trash can. If extra shampoo or lotion is needed, I simply ask housekeeping to bring me a few, or I stop and ask the person at the housekeeping cart when she is on the floor.

DEAR HELOISE: What exactly is the reason for using a rinse agent when washing dishes in the dishwasher?

-- Eddie W. in Kentucky

DEAR READER: The rinse agent makes water slide off the items you are washing so glasses and dishes have fewer, if any, water spots or film on them when dry. This is particularly important if you live in an area with hard water, like we do here in San Antonio.

DEAR HELOISE: With our kids involved in sports and dance, gym bags and dance bags are a part of life. They can get foul-smelling quickly. To cut down on the odor, each week I take used dryer sheets (that have been through the dryer once) and throw one in the bottom of each bag. Keeps odors down between washings.

-- Jennifer T. in Colorado

DEAR HELOISE: Silly us -- we started our puppies out sleeping in our king-size bed with us. Now, two of them are big dogs. The dogs sleep soundly, making it difficult to adjust the blankets once they're asleep.

I finally came up with a solution that works for all of us. I use the sheet set as normal, but I use two king-size blankets. I fold each blanket lengthwise, overlap them slightly down the center of the bed, and then tuck them in at the foot. Each human has ample blanket that he or she can control, and there is no more tug of war.

-- Ann Moss, via email

DEAR HELOISE: When I make tacos, I use a coffee filter to hold them. It really saves on the mess.

-- Patricia S.

in North Dakota

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

Style on 09/02/2014