DEAR HELOISE: Can you wash pillows? I have foam pillows and was wondering if they can be washed.
– J.T. in Kansas
DEAR J.T.: Check the care labels on your pillows. Most can be washed on the gentle cycle. If possible, fill the washer with water and dissolve the detergent before putting in the pillows.
Foam stuffing should be air-dried and not put in the dryer. Some feather and other pillows can be put in the dryer. Most important is checking the care labels to see what the manufacturer recommends and following those instructions.
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DEAR HELOISE: When I make a sandwich, I have switched from using a knife to a spoon. When I scoop mayo or jelly with a knife, I have to keep scooping because the knife hardly gets anything out of the jar. With a spoon, I can scoop more out, and I just turn the spoon over and spread the mayo, etc., with the back of the spoon.
– Fiona In Kansas
DEAR HELOISE: My husband and I recently bought our first home, which is a fixer-upper. We are doing many repairs ourselves. Do you have an easy, eco-friendly way of removing old wallpaper?
– Kelly P. In New Mexico
DEAR KELLY: I do, and it’s probably in your kitchen right now: vinegar. Mix equal parts vinegar and water, and put the mixture in a spray bottle. Spray the wallpaper until wet. Allow the solution to sit on the wallpaper for at least 10 minutes, then watch as you wipe away the wallpaper with the solution.
DEAR HELOISE: I used to work in a shopping center. When I went to work, I carried a smaller purse with a long strap on it. When I walked and had a coat on, I put my purse on my shoulder, then put my coat on. No one could see it or grab it. And if I had to get in it, I still could reach into it.
– Barbara M., Highland, Ind.
DEAR HELOISE: I take several medications – each has to be taken at a different time of day. Frankly, I sometimes looked at the bottles of medicine, trying to remember which ones I had taken.
I devised a solution. At the beginning of the day, I stand the bottles up in a certain spot. Whenever I take a pill, I lay the bottle down on its side. No more guessing or worrying.
– F.M. Goodwin, Jacksonville, Ark.
DEAR HELOISE: I was distressed when an attorney informed me that my older pets could not be included as a part of the updating and finalizing of my will. But I was able to include (in the will), as a request, that my wishes be carried out concerning them.
He stated that the request (their euthanasia and cremations at a specified facility) are not enforceable. He stated, “Who is going to check?”
I was heartbroken. Laws may vary from one state to another. My dinnerware will be bequeathed, but my beloved pets’ care and final resting place are considered only a request.
– Heartbroken In Texas
DEAR HEARTBROKEN: You are a caring and loving pet owner. I hope my readers will stop and think about this and try to make plans for their pets, just in case something happens.
The Humane Society of the United States recommends that you have at least two friends or relatives willing and able to carry out your wishes concerning your pets. Provide them with your veterinarian’s information, keys to your home and care instructions for your pets before an emergency occurs, because pets need care every day.
DEAR HELOISE: I would appreciate an easy hint on how to clean my Venetian blinds. They are metal.
– Norita A., Bellevue, Neb.
DEAR NORITA: To give those blinds a really good cleaning, make a mixture of 1/4 cup of laundry detergent, a scoop of oxygen cleaner and warm water in your bathtub. Take off the blinds (as long as they are metal) and soak them in the tub for about 30 minutes. Rinse and then hang to dry. For a quick clean to remove dust, use an old sock and wipe away.
DEAR HELOISE: I’m sure you are aware of the plastic keychain fobs that grocery and convenience stores, etc., give out to be scanned for bonus points at purchases. To prolong their longevity, I laminate them on both sides.
– Timothy T., Harrisburg, Pa.
DEAR HELOISE: With all the identity theft, should I sign the back of my credit cards or not?
– Janice W., via email
DEAR JANICE: Yes, you should sign credit cards, even if there is concern that someone might practice your signature and then use the card. Credit-card companies tell retailers not to accept the card for use if it is not signed.
Merchants can ask you to sign the card in front of them (if it is not signed when you hand it to them) and then produce another form of ID with a matching signature. If you refuse, the credit card may be declined for payment.
P.S.: You can add the words “Check ID” by your signature and hope retailers will look at the back of the card, see those words and ask for it, but it is no guarantee.
DEAR HELOISE: On a recent trip, I stayed at a hotel that has a little fast-food type restaurant in the lobby.
My hint is to make sure you check the operating hours. Some of these hotel “restaurants” will shut down for a few hours between mealtimes and may close early on Sundays. Saves you the surprise of finding out they are closed when you need a meal.
– K.W., A Traveler From Texas
DEAR HELOISE: Here is a helpful hint for the kitchen sink at cleanup time that my husband, Henry, came up with. When the daily newspaper is delivered, we save the plastic sleeve (bag) that it comes in, in a box in the laundry room.
When we are prepping for dinner, we place the bag in a corner of the sink and drop all scraps into it. When finished, we tie it up neatly and toss it into the garbage can. No fuss, no mess and no smell.
– The Andersons, Neptune, N.J.