DEAR HELOISE: Help! I repotted a houseplant with cheap topsoil, and now I have gnats. I moved the plant outside, cleaned and sprayed my house, but they keep coming back! They are driving me crazy. Do you know how to get rid of them, once and for all?
– Mildred A., Staten Island, N.Y.
DEAR MILDRED: Yes, and it’s pretty easy, too! Mix a drop or two of dish soap with a cup or so of water and either mist or pour a little over the soil. This should kill the little devils that are hanging out in the soil. Also, depending on the plant, the soil (at least the top inch or two) should be dry before you water.
DEAR HELOISE: In response to a reader who advised people to buy a drink at the airport after going through security: It’s the liquids that you can’t take through security, not the bottle. Many seasoned travelers take an empty water bottle with them and fill it at the water fountain before getting on the plane.
– Bernice B., Bentonville, Ark.
DEAR BERNICE: You are right on! This is what I do when traveling to give a speech or for other business. I always have an empty plastic bottle in my carry-on. It’s easy to fill it once I’ve gone through security.
DEAR HELOISE: I often work late and have a hard time making myself a good meal. It’s easier to pick up fast food. Here is what I do now: One of my favorite meals is pasta. I buy a box pasta kit (the kind that comes with the seasoning), make it and add some cut-up chicken and tomatoes. I stick it in the refrigerator, and it is ready to go when I get home.
– A Reader in Texas
DEAR HELOISE: One night my daughter crashed her car on a dark, lonely road. She was unhurt, but couldn’t call for help herself because her phone went flying when she crashed. Anyone driving should keep his or her cellphone in a pocket or in something easy to find in a dark car (purse). She was rescued by a kind family who pulled over to help her, but not everyone is so lucky.
– Mary W., Erie, Pa.
DEAR MARY: Who would have thunk? A very good safety hint that I hope my readers will consider.
DEAR HELOISE: I keep my bottle of face wash in the shower. I always wash my face at the end of my shower. I feel like the steam from the shower helps open up my pores, and I get a better clean that way.
– A Reader, via email
DEAR HELOISE: Buy an inexpensive electric toothbrush and mark it for “cleaning.” Use it to scrub in tight, dirty places, like shower crevices or where the backsplash meets the countertop.
– C. West, via email