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Hints From Heloise: How does one clean the tarnish bags?

DEAR HELOISE: In cleaning a relative’s home, I found two large drawstring bags to keep silver from tarnishing. One is big enough to hold a platter. But they are very dirty – mainly with dust, I think – from being in the attic for decades.

If I hand-wash them, will it take out the tarnish-proofing?

Jane T., Centreville, Va.

DEAR JANE: Maybe yes, maybe no. The manufacturers say NOT to launder them, as it may remove the tarnish-proofing properties. If they are just dusty, shake them out well, or put in the dryer on “air” or “fluff” for a few minutes. Here is a suggestion from one manufacturer to remove “debris” on the bag: Use packing tape or duct tape to remove the debris. Really? Give me a break!

I “tested” my hints again with several bags, one more than 50 years old. I rinsed one many times in a large bowl of just cool tap water. With the next one, I did the same but added a drop of dish soap. Wow! The water turned brown for both. I repeated rinsing until the water was clear.

Conclusion: They both seem to be fine. What have you got to lose?

DEAR HELOISE: Here is my mom’s tip for packing for a vacation: Take twice the money, half the luggage and enjoy!

Dennis Z., via email

DEAR DENNIS: How true, especially on vacation! Check your bag when home. How many clothes did not even get worn?

DEAR HELOISE: Please help me! I got mustard on one of my favorite shirts. I washed it a few times (no dryer), and it’s lightened up some.

Sandy F. in South Dakota

DEAR SANDY: Your first steps are in the right direction. Now wet the spot and rub liquid laundry detergent in from the back. Gently scrub from the back of the stain with an old toothbrush. Let sit for an hour or so, then rinse. Some still left? Repeat, then wash on a normal cycle, but add an enzyme detergent. This should remove the mustard stain.

Send a money-saving hint to Heloise P.O. Box 795000 San Antonio, TX 78279-5000.

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