Dear Heloise: My concern is cleaning my mother’s RHINESTONE JEWELRY. I would like to wear it to my granddaughter’s wedding in a month. — Marnie W. in The Villages, Fla.
Hello to my friends in The Villages! Lovely costume jewelry from bygone days often was made from rhinestones — lead glass or crystals glued into a setting of base metal, gold or silver.
Careful cleaning is necessary. Use a solution of mild soap and warm water, and a soft-bristle brush. Avoid getting the setting wet; you don’t want to loosen the glue holding in the stone.
Dry facedown on a fluffy towel.
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Antique or valuable pieces should be professionally cleaned. — Heloise
Iron it out
Dear Heloise: My clothes iron is clogged — help! What’s the best way to clean it? — Carolyn D. in North Carolina
Carolyn, don’t despair! Help is on the way. First off, have you read the operating instructions that came with the iron? It’s always best to read them first.
If the booklet is not available, and you can’t reach the manufacturer on the phone, let’s go to my ol’ standby: vinegar! Mix equal parts white vinegar and water, and pour into the water well.
Turn the iron on high, hold it horizontally over the sink and let it steam.
Flush out the steam vent by depressing the steam button several times. Unplug the iron, let it cool and empty out the mixture if any remains. Rinse the reservoir by pouring in fresh water several times.
Caution: Do this method only sporadically. Too much vinegar could corrode the inner workings of the iron.
Vinegar is my go-to household helper. It is cheap, readily available and nontoxic. To receive a pamphlet of my best vinegar hints, visit www.Heloise.com to order, or send $5 and a long, stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. There are commercial cleaning solutions available to clean the clothes iron, too — look for them in the laundry aisle, and follow the directions to the letter. — Heloise
Dear Heloise: I have collected many T-shirts through the years, and I decided to stitch them together to make a quilt. I cut out the design and sewed over the raw edge, then sewed them together.
It took some time to place everything and put the backing on, but it sure is a conversation-starter!
Rare or vintage T-shirts don’t make the cut. — Benny C. in Philadelphia
Dear Heloise: Crumple aluminum foil to scrub the bottoms of pots and pans if you have burnt or baked-on residue. This is a cheap alternative to expensive commercial scrubbers. — Helen and Mike T. in Pennsylvania
Dear Heloise: My biggest beef is about getting new shoes: The bottoms of the soles are so slippery! I’m just afraid I am going to fall. I have to scuff the soles on the concrete to break them in. — Rose H. in California
Send a great hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, fax to 1-210-HELOISE or email Heloise@Heloise.com.