DEAR READERS: What is the difference between a disinfectant and a sanitizer? There are a lot of products out that advertise these properties.
Here's the germy difference: A disinfectant destroys or kills germs on surfaces or objects. A sanitizer reduces the number of germs on a surface or object to a safe level (according to public health standards), but does not necessarily eliminate germs.
Looking for a simple, safe, cheap sanitizing spray that you can make at home? Mix 1 tablespoon of regular household bleach with 1 quart of water. This mixture loses effectiveness rather quickly when exposed to light or heat, so make only enough to use in a day or two.
This is safe for most hard household surfaces, like kitchen and bath counters.
Want more money-saving cleaning solutions? Order a copy of my Heloise's Homemade Cleaning Solutions pamphlet by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (66 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Cleaning Solutions, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.
Oh, be sure to put this bleach-water solution in a clearly labeled, opaque bottle, and keep it out of reach of children and pets.
DEAR HELOISE: Here is a handy (and frugal) hint for your readers who hate throwing away used sandwich bags.
After lunch, I bring the bag home. Then, if it is still in good repair, I wash it with a little warm water and dish soap and put it in the drying rack.
The next day, I use the bag again. I save money and feel like I'm helping the environment at the same time.
Eric M., via email
DEAR HELOISE: I purchase extra-large containers of shampoo and conditioner from the hair salon. They are quality products and too good a bargain to pass up.
But I couldn't lift them in the shower, much less pour out the amount needed, especially when my hands are wet and soapy.
I found a package of two containers that were just the right size. One was red and one yellow. They are standard-size mustard and ketchup containers!
I just snipped the tops a little so the liquid would pour easily. Also, I used a permanent marker to mark them.
Carol M. In Pennsylvania
DEAR HELOISE: When removing nail polish, I use a cotton swab to remove the polish from around my cuticles. To prevent losing the cotton swab in the bottle, I pour a little remover in the cap and then dip the cotton swab in it.
K.W. In Oregon
Send a great hint to Heloise, P.O. 79500, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.