DEAR HELOISE: Now that my kids are back in school, is there an easy way to clean their backpacks?
My kids seem to use them not only as book bags but as trash cans. Help!
Tina In Illinois
DEAR TINA: Isn't that the truth? You never know what you will find in kids' backpacks!
To clean, first remove everything, throwing away what you can. Outside, or on newspaper, turn it upside down and gently shake to remove hidden debris.
To really clean it, vacuum it out with the upholstery attachment. Then use a sponge to wipe the entire backpack with a mild dish detergent. Rinse with a sponge dampened with water, and allow to air-dry.
Set up a regular time with your kids (such as each Friday) for them to go through their backpacks and throw out trash that might have collected during the week. This will help keep them organized.
DEAR READERS: Other uses for pool noodles (those long, foam pool toys):
Boot stands cut to length.
Wrap around things for cushioning.
Use as a wreath base.
Make an obstacle course out of them.
Place on a wall in a garage so you know how far to pull in.
DEAR HELOISE: Why do people (yes, well-educated ones, too) compliment and boast about a young person in the presence of the person's sibling and say nothing about the sibling?
I was the overlooked one more than 70 years ago and see the same slight still alive and well.
A Reader, Via Email
DEAR A: I don't know, but hopefully they will keep this in mind now.
DEAR HELOISE: Some potato-chip bags have a pretty silver lining to them, and I wondered if there was something I could do with them. When I had an empty bag, I cut it open and into strips. I had an extra foam wreath base. I tied the strips around the base. It made a cute, metallic-looking wreath. You also can take corsage pins and pin the strips to the base.
Ellen In North Dakota
DEAR HELOISE: I often wear the type of headband that is stretchy and goes all the way around your head. I was having a problem with it constantly slipping off. I took some hair spray and spritzed my hair right where the headband was going to go on the top of my head.
With the hair spray still wet, I put on my headband. The hair spray gives it a little extra stickiness that helps it stay put better.
Hope In Maryland
DEAR HELOISE: My dad, a retired firefighter, shared this hint with me recently: When cleaning the clothes dryer's lint filter, simply use a 3-inch paintbrush to quickly and thoroughly get the filter clean as a whistle and eliminate the risk of fire caused by lint buildup.
Safe, neat and clean.
Johnny O. In New Jersey