Down the drain? Maybe not

Dear Readers: What should and should NOT go down the KITCHEN-SINK DRAIN?

▪  DON'T put grease or oil in it, even if you think, "Well, I run hot water, so it dissolves." It may dissolve for the first few feet or so of the plumbing, but the rest of the way? NOPE. It will just re-congeal, and it can really clog up the plumbing!

▪  DON'T rinse off greasy or oily plates, either. Wipe with a paper towel or napkin first.

▪  DON'T put stringy food, such as celery or artichoke leaves, down the disposal.

▪  DON'T use hot water when running the disposal. Cold is best.

▪  DO pour oil, grease or fat into a can or other safe container (that won't melt if you pour hot oil into it) and let it cool. When it's solid, dispose of the whole thing in the garbage.

DO prevent a serious plumbing problem that can cost you a lot of money! — Heloise


Dear Heloise: To protect my neckties from stains, I spray a fabric stain repellent on them to keep them looking fresh. Two light coats is best. This spray is available at the drugstore or mega-retailer! — Bryant G. in New York

Hey, Bryant, smart guy! It's not cheap to have ties cleaned, and a lot of ties are VERY expensive. You also can pick up a can of the fabric and leather water repellent at most shoe shops. — Heloise


Dear Readers: Don't forget to clean THE BLADE of your electric can opener or the cutting gears on your portable can opener. A lot of "gunk" gets stuck on them.

The best way to clean them? Remove the cutting part from an electric can opener. For both types, run under hot water, then use a kitchen scrub brush (or a dedicated toothbrush) with a drop of dish soap to clean.

Dry both types with a paper or kitchen towel. Put a little cooking oil (not a spray that contains lecithin) on the working parts, and you're good to go! — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I made my own spa pillow for the bath. I took a hot-water bottle, filled it with warm water and wrapped it in an old, soft towel. Luxury on a dime! — Terry K., The Villages, Fla.

Wonderful! Readers, what are your favorite at-home pampering hints? It's great to save money while relaxing and becoming more beautiful! — Heloise


Dear Heloise: My granddaughter has so many hair ties, ribbons and barrettes! It was hard to keep them organized. I took an old belt and hung it in her closet. She can clip and tie all the hair accessories to the belt and see everything she has! — Harriet in Warsaw, Ind.


Dear Heloise: After birthday or other parties, I save the foil helium balloons. I cut the neck open, deflate and reuse the balloon as a gift bag!

A small gift and some streamers or tissue paper will slip in there just fine. — Angela B. in Ohio

Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, fax it to 1-210-HELOISE or email it to I can't answer your letter personally but will use the best hints received in my column.