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Hints from Heloise: Have expert clean wedding dress

Dear Heloise: I took out my wedding dress, which had been dry-cleaned and preserved (so I thought) in a box, and found a huge stain (probably wine) right down the front. I took it to a couple of dry cleaners, and none was very encouraging. Any ideas? —Laura L. Sadler, via e-mail

Laura, we took your question to our friend Jane Rising of the International Fabricare Institute. She said that it would be difficult to determine any cleaning method since there is no mention of what type of fabric the dress is.

She did, however, suggest contacting a dry cleaner that specializes in wedding gowns. You can check the backs of wedding books or bridal magazines for locations of cleaners that do this particular service.

If the cleaner you choose is a member of the IFI, it can call the institute for help in removing the stain from your wedding gown. We wish you lots of luck with this. —Heloise

P.S. I hope your letter helps others avoid this dilemma. Always check a wedding dress before storing it away, and you should check it at least once a year.

Heloise: The bedding manufacturers are way off-base — I have bought and returned quite a few down pillows, comforters and blankets because of a heavy odor associated with them.

I lament the day when my present down comforter (which doesn't smell — I wish I could remember where I bought it from) wears out, because it will be quite a hit-or-miss affair to get a replacement that won't make the bedroom smell like a barnyard. —Lynne Tobias, Point Pleasant, N.J.

Lynne, you are doing the right thing by returning the items that smell. This lets the manufacturers know that their products aren't being received well by the consumer. —Heloise

Dear Heloise: I don't know why I didn't think of this 40 years ago. Having two dogs and a cat, pet hair is always an issue around here. With arthritis and a sensitive back, getting the hair that gathers along the edges of furniture and walls is always a chore. It's a pain switching out attachments on the vacuum.

Since most of us have rubber-sole shoes (the more textured, the better), this is what I do: I just rub the carpet along the wall with the toe of my shoe. You'll be amazed how easily the hair just rolls right up. I leave it about 6 inches from the wall or furniture, where the vacuum can easily pick it all up. —Betty, Anna, Texas

Dear Heloise: I wanted to make an egg-salad sandwich the other day and grabbed the ice-cream scoop to smush the egg yolks. Worked like a charm. —Sandra in Oxnard, Calif.

Dear Heloise: I save the plastic bags the newspaper comes in. When I send a package, I use these bags as a filler, rather than having to buy those plastic foam peanuts. They can also be used to cover shoes being put in luggage to keep any dirt or dust from getting on the clothes.

Also, when I had a broken arm, I used a plastic bag to cover the cast when taking a shower or bath. You'd be surprised how many uses these bags have. Another is to put one over your hand and arm when painting — no mess. —Mrs. Lily Rodney, Baton Rouge, La.

Dear Heloise: I sent my four children to camp with a complete outfit for each day put into one roll — T-shirt, shorts, socks and underwear. They could grab a roll, dress and go! I did the same on our vacations, and getting ready to go out was a breeze. —Inez Murray, Davie, Fla.

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