Home & Garden

Clean pillowcases ward off germs

DEAR HELOISE: I really enjoy reading your column and getting all the helpful hints. Here’s one of mine:

Most folks change and wash bedsheets weekly or so. I wash just the pillowcases every couple of days. They don’t take up much room and can be washed with other items.

Nothing feels better than a nice, clean, cool pillowcase to lay your head on, especially during allergy or flu season. This gets rid of germs instead of lying in them night after night for a week.

Mary S., New Madison, Ohio

DEAR MARY: I’m in full agreement! We have more than 12 pillows on our bed (yes, each dog, Chammy and Henry VIII, has their own!), and that alone takes me 30 minutes to take off, wash/dry and put them back on!

DEAR HELOISE: Family gatherings can change from one year to another, with new family members, some no longer part of the group and so on. Here is what we do for holiday gift-giving:

When the family is gathered, decide on the rules for a Christmas or holiday gift exchange. Decisions such as the dollar amount, who will be participating and a list of what you’d like, along with sizes, are a good start. But there are other factors to consider, too:

1) Draw names or not? 2) Include the children in the exchange? 3) Will there be any outside or new guests participating? 4) Time and place? This preplanning will remove stress and make the experience much more pleasant for everyone involved.

G.H. in Texas

DEAR HELOISE: How do I remove sizing from work shirts? The fabric is 60/40 cotton/poly. These have much more sizing and are more uncomfortable than the same ones I’d bought previously. I have tried hot water, cold water, laundry soap, vinegar, dryer sheets and washing soda. Nothing has touched that sizing.

Tommy C., via email

Tommy, they look great in the store (which is what the manufacturers want), but are as stiff as a piece of cardboard! It usually takes several washings to remove the sizing.

You’ve tried all of the right things. Let’s review the process, though: Let the item soak in hot water and vinegar. Fill the sink with water, add 2 to 3 cups of cheap vinegar and let soak. Rinse and repeat. Doing so three to four times should break down the sizing.

Do not use fabric softener – it only coats the fibers; it will not remove sizing.

DEAR HELOISE: Here’s a little money-saving hint: I’ve noticed that there is a difference in cost between the flip-top toothpaste tubes and the regular-top tubes. So I bought a tube with a flip-top cap. When I finished the tube, I removed the cap, cleaned and saved it.

I now buy toothpaste with the original twist-off cap and replace that cap with the flip-top one.

Cindi A., Cuero, Texas

DEAR HELOISE: Here is how I grow tomatoes on my patio: I live in a very small apartment with limited space. When it’s time to plant, I open a bag of potting soil, place a metal cone inside and plant the seeds inside the bag.

The tomatoes grow very nicely, and I usually have extra tomatoes to share with friends and family.

M.H., via email

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