Helpful Hints

DEAR HELOISE: When I'm home in Michigan during the winter months, my skin will dry out quickly, and it feels uncomfortable, especially on my hands, feet and face. Besides using a humidifier, I have a lot of plants in my home and mist them often, since plants can hydrate the air. I try not to overheat my home, and instead, I'll wear socks inside and put on a sweater.

This also helps keep the utility bill low. And, naturally, I moisturize after I shower and pat my skin dry. This helps my skin stay more supple.

-- G.Y., in Michigan

DEAR HELOISE: My wife poached eggs for breakfast the other day. After scraping as much of the egg skin that was willing to leave the stainless-steel pan, I filled it with soapy water to soak overnight. The next morning, I scraped it out with the steel flipper and plastic scouring pad until it looked clean. I rinsed it and set it upside down in the dry rack. Once it was dry, I still saw and felt patches of scorched-on egg in the pan. Further scouring had little effect on this.

So, I scraped off the patches that were on the flat bottom by using a razor blade knife. But that still left patches on the curve and sides. I tried fine sandpaper, but that just seemed to make scratches.

I finally saw a non-pull tab on a soup-can lid waiting for its next trip to the recycling bin in the carport. It turned out to be the perfect tool to get at the curve and sides of the pan. I just held the lid with its curved side toward the pan and scraped up, down and sideways around the curve, adjusting the angle when needed. It was such a handy, effective and cheap tool.

For my aluminum, electric frying pan, I put soapy water in it and turn it back on to boil for a bit. After that, everything seems willing to part company with a little persuasion. Love your column!

-- Harvey Versteeg,

Augusta, Maine

and Belleview, Fla.

DEAR HELOISE: I discovered an easy way to get a home-baked pizza out of the oven. Use a flat-sided cookie sheet to slide under it, then lift it out just like the pizza parlors do with their shovels.

-- Jan Thompson,

Vancouver, Wash.

DEAR HELOISE: There are products that eat the grease found in pipes. If they're used regularly, there shouldn't be a problem with grease going down the drain. These products contain enzymes that thrive on grease and oils. They are made for restaurants, so they should work well in homes.

-- Falcon Frank,

Ventura, Calif.

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