HELP­FUL HINTS

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - HELOISE Send a money- or time-sav­ing hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San An­to­nio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

DEAR HELOISE: I pur­chased new white bath tow­els. The care in­struc­tions say not to use chlo­rine bleach. I’ve al­ways used chlo­rine bleach in white loads of laun­dry. Why would it not be rec­om­mended? Is there an­other type of bleach read­ily avail­able?

— A.J.S., Cal­i­for­nia DEAR READER: To­day’s fab­rics (in­clud­ing tow­els) con­tain bright­en­ers that chlo­rine can break down. Here’s my tried-and-true fix:

Cre­ate a so­lu­tion of equal parts — say, 1 cup each of 3 per­cent hy­dro­gen per­ox­ide, bak­ing soda and water. Fill the wash­ing ma­chine with water and add this for­mula. Swish it around, then place the tow­els in the washer. Let them soak for six hours or overnight, then wash as usual.

Bak­ing soda is in my arse­nal of clean­ing cham­pi­ons. It’s cheap, safe and read­ily avail­able, and I’ve been us­ing it for over 40 years. Some­times it’s hard to com­pletely re­move strong odors from clothes. Try this: Add ½ cup of bak­ing soda to the rinse cy­cle. Don’t over­load the washer; the clothes need to move around.

DEAR READ­ERS: We’d like to print your child’s or grand­child’s let­ter to Santa. And then, of course, we’ll for­ward all the let­ters to the big guy. So get your kids in­spired to write down what they’d like to have for Christ­mas.

P.S. In­clude the name and age of each child, please.

DEAR HELOISE: Where does one find boric acid?

— Russ, via email DEAR READER: Boric acid is avail­able at big-box re­tail­ers and the large on­line mer­chants.

It’s used as an in­sec­ti­cide, to make fiber­glass, and med­i­cally as an an­ti­sep­tic, acne treat­ment and even to help pre­vent ath­lete’s foot. Al­ways read and fol­low the pack­age di­rec­tions.

DEAR HELOISE: I bought shoes, and they needed break­ing in. My care­taker said put pinto beans in bags with a lit­tle water and then put the bags in the shoes overnight. When the beans swell up, they stretch your shoes. It worked.

— Linda H., via email

DEAR HELOISE: A friend from out of town needed some in­for­ma­tion from me, and it was too late to mail a let­ter. I typed up the in­for­ma­tion, took a pic­ture of it and sent it to my friend via text mes­sage. It worked.

— Tony D. in San An­to­nio Heloise@Heloise.com

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