HELP­FUL HINTS

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - HELOISE 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 Heloise@Heloise.com

DEAR READ­ERS: To­day’s Sound On is about store-brand prod­ucts:

“I buy store-brand prod­ucts and save money on our gro­cery bill. My friend said that he won’t buy a store ‘no name’ brand be­cause he thinks they are just not as good as the na­tional brand. What do you think?”

— N.M.I., via email I’m with you. Many times the store brand and the na­tional brand have the same qual­ity, and the sav­ings can amount to quite a bit over time.

Do the Heloise test: Buy one of each and open them at the same time. Most times, you will find that they are the same or al­most the same, or it does not re­ally mat­ter. If you are not happy with the store brand, take it back, and the re­tailer will re­fund your money.

DEAR READ­ERS: Hints to use old hard­cover books: ■ Stack sev­eral and dis­play a plant.

■ Use to el­e­vate a com­puter screen.

■ Hold down table­cloths out­doors.

■ A booster seat for chil­dren.

DEAR HELOISE: We use a lot of dif­fer­ent cheeses, but it seems to go moldy be­fore we can fin­ish it all. Help!

— J.Y., via email DEAR READER: The key is to wrap the cheese tightly in plas­tic wrap, then put into a zip­per-top bag. Keep­ing air out helps pre­vent cheese from get­ting moldy. This is par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant with soft cheeses.

For hard cheese, such as ched­dar or Swiss, dampen a pa­per towel with just a splash of vine­gar, wrap the cheese in the towel, then cover with plas­tic wrap and put it into a plas­tic bag. Vine­gar does kill and pre­vent most molds from grow­ing, and it won’t hurt the cheese. Stor­ing cheese this way shouldn’t af­fect its taste. If you buy dif­fer­ent cheeses, buy the small­est size you can to be sure it’s to your lik­ing.

DEAR HELOISE: I have a red, white and blue bed­spread. The la­bel reads “dry clean only.” Can I laun­der it with­out it fad­ing?

— Jenny in Omaha, Neb. DEAR READER: Jenny, if the la­bel says “dry clean only” and you care about the spread, you should in­deed do as in­structed. If the tag says “dry clean,” you may be able to wash it with­out harm. Test a small red spot with cold wa­ter on a cot­ton swab. See red? Don’t wash the spread!

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