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Hints from Heloise: Make your own denture cleaner

You can also mix up a tooth-brushing powder

Dear Heloise:Do you know of any way to clean dentures? I've been reading your column every day hoping I would see a solution. Thank you so much. — J.T., North Plainfield, N.J.

As a matter of fact, I do have a homemade denture-cleaning solution that works great. Note: Check with your dentist before using this solution; it contains bleach and cannot be used on cast-chrome, gold-framed or partial dentures that have wire or metal frames.

This homemade cleaning solution can easily be made by adding 1 teaspoon of household bleach and 1 teaspoon of water softener to 1 cup of water; mix well. To use, soak your dentures for 10-15 minutes each day, and follow by brushing and rinsing well.

As a bonus, I'd like to give you the recipe for a tooth-brushing powder that has been a reader favorite for more than 45 years. (CAUTION: If you are on a salt-restricted diet, you should consult with your doctor before using this, as it is high in sodium!)

You'll need:

1/2 to 1/3 cup salt

1 pound box of baking soda

Make your favorite flavor by adding a few drops of vanilla extract or oil of clove, or a dash of cinnamon spice

Mix the above ingredients in a glass blender (do not use plastic — it might scratch) by first pouring the salt into the container and blending until it is powder. Next, add the baking soda. Mix again for just a second or two. IMPORTANT: DO NOT OVERBLEND. Last, add the vanilla extract, oil of clove or cinnamon and mix.

Store the mixture in an airtight container. To use, put some on a wet toothbrush, brush your teeth, rinse well and voila — now you've got something to smile about! — Heloise

Dear Heloise: You recently published a reader hint about keeping old purses in the car for children's toys and the like. If you do that, be sure that the purse is removed or hidden out of sight when you leave the car! Thieves will think nothing of breaking the car windows to take the purse if they can see it. — Rebecca, via e-mail

Rebecca, you, along with several other readers, pointed this out as a safety concern, and it's absolutely correct! Thanks to one and all who wrote. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: One of my favorite hobbies has been cross-stitching. Until recently, I was never able to come up with an easy way to organize all those skeins of thread when working on a pattern.

I purchased a plain three-ring binder and sheet protectors to place the individual thread colors in. Then I got plain, self-adhesive labels, wrote each thread-color number on a label and stuck each one on a plastic sleeve. These labels can be easily removed when you want to start a new pattern and replace your thread colors. If you purchase a binder that has pockets on the inside, front and back, this is a great place to store your pattern and cloth when not working on it. — Sherry S., Killen, Ala.

Dear Heloise: When sending a student off to college, make a laundry-kit basket with premeasured detergent and quarters packaged in self-sealing bags. Don't forget to include a handy chart with hints on doing laundry. — A Reader, via e-mail

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.