Dear Readers: The nice weather is finally here, and the trend these days is to create and decorate outdoor living areas. After a little sprucing up, a porch or patio can seem like an extra room added to your home. And for me, there's one cleaning solution that comes to mind: my favorite — good old, inexpensive, environmentally safe vinegar.
For everything from cleaning windows to removing salt deposits on clay pots, vinegar is the product to use. And all you'll need to get going is a gallon of white vinegar and a few cleaning supplies.
For sparkling windows, add 1/2 to 1 cup of vinegar to 1/2 gallon of water. Spray on a window, then dry with crumpled newspaper. To make your clay pots look like new, just wipe with a cloth soaked in undiluted white vinegar. If your porch or patio has exposed brick that could use a little freshening, scrub with a brush dipped in full-strength white vinegar.
I have tons of other cleaning formulas in my six-page vinegar pamphlet that will help you with all of your spring-cleaning projects. Order one by sending $4 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (63 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. In my pamphlet, you'll find out how to keep paintbrushes soft and supple after doing some touch-up painting, or how to discourage ants from visiting your porch or patio, or even how to remove unwanted grass from sidewalks or steppingstones. — Heloise
Dear Heloise:In addition to your other suggestions for international travelers, you might want to remind your readers to consult an infectious-disease doctor or their primary-care physician. Many foreign destinations require one or more vaccinations, and this is best done many months in advance. — Andrea Prevan, D.O., Omaha, Neb.
Dear Heloise: I have some hand soap that is very messy in the soap dish. Years ago, I had an oval, plastic "soap saver" disc that you put under the soap. I searched everywhere and could not find it.
I came up with an idea that works perfectly. I purchased one of those plastic craft screens. The beauty of it is you can cut it to the exact shape and size you want, and get several out of each 12-inch square screen. Plus, it costs only about 25 cents for the whole screen! — Anita, Indianapolis
Dear Heloise: I have another safety hint on cans. A few years ago, my son was dragging a garbage bag out, and his dad had put a can in the garbage with the lid loose. The bag hit the back of his leg and cut his Achilles' tendon, which resulted in several hours at the emergency room, two months in a cast and many weeks of therapy.
ALWAYS put the can lid inside the can, and bend it, so it cannot fall out! — A Reader from New York
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