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Hints from Heloise: Baking soda, vinegar work to clean drains

SHARE Hints from Heloise: Baking soda, vinegar work to clean drains

Dear Heloise: I remember reading the formula for DRAIN CLEANING in your column. It was baking soda and some other ingredient. Can you please share this again? This time, I will be sure to cut it out and save it. Thanks so much! — Barbara, via e-mail

Barbara, this is one of the most-often-asked-for Heloise "recipes." Please keep in mind that this formula freshens and cleans but will NOT clear a clogged drain.

Pour 1/2 cup baking soda (mixed with 1/4 cup table salt) down the drain, then 1-2 cups of vinegar. Let it bubble up and work for at least 15-30 minutes. Then run HOT water for a minute, followed by cold water for at least 1 minute.

DO NOT use this method after trying commercial drain cleaners, because the chemical reaction can cause dangerous fumes and splash back! Vinegar is my favorite versatile product to have on hand because it is a cheap alternative to many costly store-bought cleaners.

Want to save big bucks on cleaning products? Just send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (59 cents) envelope to: Heloise/ Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001, and you will receive my Fantabulous Vinegar pamphlet, which is stuffed full of money-saving hints. Did you know that vinegar will help keep fresh flowers lasting longer? Just put them in a vase with warm water containing 2 tablespoons of vinegar and 3 tablespoons of sugar per quart of water. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: My husband and I are avid do-it-yourself decorators, so we enjoy painting the interior of our home often. Rather than making a mess of our clothing, we simply wear our most casual clothes and socks inside out while we paint. If we drop or smear paint on ourselves, there is no harm done. — Carol Gammon, Kenosha, Wis.

Dear Heloise: Now that I am retired, I'm traveling a lot! For years, I have kept a gallon-size zip-top plastic bag in my carry-on luggage. It contains:

• Seven sandwich bags — useful for keeping leftovers fresh in motel rooms, in the car or as resealable bags for splitting up original containers that are too large.

• Seven gallon-size bags — useful for wet or smelly clothes and to keep shampoo and conditioner from spilling.

• Two tall kitchen bags — used for dirty clothes, sandy beach apparel or rain covers for sudden downpours.

• Five grocery sacks — for packing shoes (stuffed with socks to maintain their shape) in luggage.

The gallon bag is marked with the contents and numbers of each size. After a trip, my husband and I restock it so it is ready to go next time! — Holly Harvey, Lexington, Ohio

Dear Heloise: I use the perfumed flaps found in magazines for bookmarks. This gives my book a wonderful aroma, which makes for a more enjoyable reading time. — D.J. Berry, Manila, Ark.

© King Features Syndicate Inc.