Dear Heloise: My wife and I have been using a trick to both conserve our liquid dish soap and make cleaning a little bit easier. We bought a $1 spray bottle and filled it with dish soap and water. We just put a couple of sprays on things as we are cleaning them. We use far less soap compared with pouring it directly from the bottle, and it puts the soap right where we need it. The only downside is the bottle gets clogs, but a couple of raps against the cabinet usually clears that up. — Mark in Texas

Mark, I tested this and did need to add quite a bit of water to make it thin enough to spray, but it works. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: My daughter and I were reading your column in the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., and little did we know that we would be using your advice just 12 hours later.

In the column, you mentioned that you should always unplug, wait for 30 seconds and re-plug electronic devices before calling the repairman. We had a horrendous thunderstorm, and I saw a flash of lightning fly into the window and blow out our large-screen TV. The sound and the lightning were enough to convince me that our TV was destroyed. My daughter's bedroom TV also was not working later that night.

Before I called the insurance agent, we unplugged the TV and plugged it back in. Luckily, it came back on! We were both so happy that we had read your column! — C. and K. via e-mail

Glad all is well and that my hint came in handy. Your paper is a longtime client, so thanks to everyone who reads my column and submits hints. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: To get all the lotion out of a pump bottle, I twist the pump to the closed position, make a small hole on the lower side of the bottle and squeeze lotion out from the bottom. Since the pump remains closed, it creates a vacuum, preventing lotion from leaking out. A large nail works great for making the small hole. My family knows if it seems lightweight and the pump is closed, to squeeze. — L.B.S. in Texas

Dear Heloise: I have some repairs going on in my bedroom, and the workers came without anything to protect my furniture. I found some plastic shower-curtain liners, and they worked great to drape over furniture, etc., plus I'm sure I can reuse them for other paint or craft projects. — Joan in Houston

Dear Heloise: I love the new tagless clothing! I look forward to the day when all clothing articles are tagless! — R.E., via e-mail

Send a hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; fax: 1-210-HELOISE; e-mail:

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