DEAR HELOISE: Can you please tell me an easy way to clean the grates on my gas stove? No matter what I do, they still turn black from all the cooking grease and grime.
Diane T. in Texas
DEAR DIANE: To clean your stove grates, you will need some plastic bags and ammonia. Place the grates in the plastic bags, followed by a few tablespoons of ammonia. Seal the bags tightly and let them sit in the sink overnight. The grime and grease will come off or be loosened, but any remaining can be cleaned with a scouring pad, hot water and soap.
My only caution is when you open the bags, be very careful, because the fumes will be pungent and can be harmful. Open windows and keep the room as ventilated as possible while you finish cleaning. Do this on a regular basis to keep up with them.
DEAR HELOISE: While cleaning out my closet, I found I had lots of hangers with bags on them from the dry cleaners. I also noticed how dusty our luggage was.
I cleaned the luggage, took the bags off the hangers and taped the top opening closed. Then I slipped the bags over the luggage. It has worked really well, and the bags slip on and off so easily that it’s a snap. Just remember to keep these bags away from pets and small children.
Donna F. in Nebraska
DEAR HELOISE: Many years ago, I believe your column had a list of alternate uses for hair conditioner. I find myself with an accumulation of hair conditioners and need your help on ways to use this product.
Dorothy G. in New Jersey
DEAR DOROTHY: There are many uses for all your extra hair conditioner! Here are some reader favorites:
• Use for shaving legs.
• Rub on dry cuticles.
• Rinse lingerie or pantyhose in it.
• Soak feet in warm water mixed with conditioner before doing an at-home pedicure.
• Loosen tight rings.
• After bathing pets, place a small amount on their fur to soften it. .. Also can help remove burrs and tangles from a pet’s hair.
• Before dyeing hair, put a small line of conditioner around the hairline and ears to keep the dye from staining the skin.
DEAR HELOISE: I have a few strands of pearls just sitting around. Do you have a hint for how I can wear them more?
Dani M. in Colorado
DEAR DANI: A great way to use those beautiful pearls is to temporarily attach two strands together. This gives you a longer look that is handy with some necklines!