DEAR HELOISE: I have a nonstick iron that has sticky residue on it. The residue comes off on clothes when I try to use the iron.
How do I get rid of this without harming the nonstick surface? And how do I prevent my iron from getting the residue again?
A Reader, Via Email
DEAR READER: First, check your owner's manual or the company's website. Or you can use one of my favorite cleaning products, vinegar. Take a damp cloth, soak it in diluted white or apple- cider vinegar, and wipe the bottom surface of the cool iron.
Do this only while the iron is unplugged. This should remove the buildup, but it may take several tries. You also can use a plastic scrubbie.
The residue can come from many things: a fabric that melted onto the iron; or, if you use starch, especially spray starch, it can leave a buildup that needs to be cleaned occasionally.
DEAR HELOISE: I used your recipe for cleaning silver for the first time, and it was simply amazing.
Do you have a recipe for cleaning brass?
Anna F., Colorado Springs, Colo.
DEAR ANNA: I do, and it's as simple as grabbing the ketchup out of your refrigerator or using the little packets we seem to accumulate.
You need to know whether the brass is lacquered or nonlacquered, because only nonlacquered brass can be cleaned using ketchup. Rub the ketchup on the item's surface, then remove with a clean, damp cloth. When done, buff dry.
Use only a damp, soft cloth without cleaner or polish on lacquered brass. Anything more can cause damage.
DEAR HELOISE: For many college students and busy families, organization is key when there seems to be a never-ending mess of important papers and projects.
What about the mess of documents on the computer?
Create a "file cabinet" in your computer. Divide work into two folders: course work and personal work (or, house, auto, etc.). Save more time when searching by creating folders to cat- egorize the subjects.
Amber H., Via Email
DEAR HELOISE: Why do many "family" restaurants give oversized portions?
I would frequent places that offer percentage discounts in exchange for managed-portions-type meals. This could be an advertised allurement, with a win-win outcome.
DEAR DONNA: Donna, one reason seems to be that bigger is supposed to be better! How about just planning on taking half home?
DEAR HELOISE: My family and I love hot soup when it is cold outside. We make a big pot and eat it for lunch on the first day, then dinner on the second by adding chicken or other meat.
DEAR READER: A quick recipe that is easy to whip up for busy families and helps use up leftovers is my "Refrigerator Soup."
Look in your refrigerator and pull out any leftovers you may have. Grab any vegetables and pieces of meat or chicken. If you have rice, add that, too. Cut meat and vegetables into bite-size pieces and throw it all in a saucepan. Add water and your choice of bouillon, either chicken or beef. Season to taste and let simmer for a few minutes. A filling meal and your family won't even recognize the leftovers!
DEAR READERS: Other uses for a single, stud-type, pierced earring:
Use to decorate a package.
Break off the back and glue to a hair ribbon or bow.
Use as a scarf pin.
Use several to make one-of-a-kind artwork.
Use as a thumbtack.
DEAR HELOISE: I threw a baby shower and was looking for centerpiece ideas, and decided to make mini "diaper cakes" (not a real cake Heloise). I rolled up several diapers and rubber-banded them together to look like a cake tier and topped them with little animal cutouts to go with my theme. You can decorate them with whatever you want. When the shower is over, the guest of honor can then take the diapers home to use for the baby.
DEAR AMBER: Great idea!
Readers, if you are having a hard time envisioning what a diaper cake is, head over to my website, www.Heloise.com, for pictures!
DEAR HELOISE: Whenever someone in my house is on antibiotics, I make a chart on the side of the bottle. If the medicine needs to be taken twice a day, I have a square for Monday a.m. and p.m., and so on. I use permanent marker and check it off when taken. It helps me remember to take the pills and when they have been taken.