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Cleaning your Computer
• Remove individual keys to clean and wipe the underside with a microfiber cloth. Some keys have springs and it might be tough to get them back in place.
• Lay an extra place mat over to keyboard (when not using) to prevent dust, dirt and pet hair from getting on or in it.
• Keep food or drinks away from your computer.

Uses for Microfiber Cloths
To help make cleaning easier, manufacturers have introduced wonderful new cleaning products and equipment. I love microfiber cloths because they are so handy and do a great cleaning job. Try these hints for using them around the house:


Keep several microfiber cloths underneath the front seat of your vehicle. Use them to dust off the dashboard, radio and steering wheel.

Bathroom, Kitchen
Store a couple of microfiber cloths in these locations because they will clean and shine the chrome, spiff up mirrors and are great for wiping off the sink. When the cloths become dirty, toss them into the washing machine.

Freshen up your dog by lightly dampening a microfiber cloth with water and wiping over its fur. If your cat or dog needs to get the gunk out of its eyes, a microfiber cloth will do the job nicely. And if your pet, like Cabbie, my miniature schnauzer, gets a dirty beard after eating, the cloth will remove that food crud.

To take dust off live or artificial leaves, lightly dampen a microfiber cloth and wipe over the leaves. This will also add a bit of moisture to the real plants too.


Pet hair, dust, ashes from smoking can migrate into your computer and clog the open holes. Use the hose attachment of your vacuum to remove pet hair and dust from the back of your computer. Clean the monitor case with a slightly damp microfiber cloth. Be sure to also dust the power cords, floor and area around the computer, printer and fax machine too.

Cell Phone
Wipe the handset surface with a dampened microfiber cloth to eliminate fingerprints and dust. But if it’s still sticky, mix one cup of water with one drop of mild detergent to wipe off and then rinse area (not the screen) with a clean dampened cloth. Don’t spray anything into the handset or keys.

Digital Camera
To remove dust, grime and fingerprints, wipe the outside with a microfiber cloth and then carefully swipe over the lens. For a thorough cleaning, take to a professional or use commercial wipes.

Music Players
Wipe the outside with a slightly damp microfiber cloth to clean, but don’t let moisture seep into openings. Do not use alcohol or solvents on this equipment.

Plasma Screens
First, unplug the power cord. Lift off fingerprints or dust by wiping screen with a microfiber cloth. Use it to clean the remote control too. NEVER apply any solvent on the screen. Lightly vacuum the vents on the rear panel occasionally.


Bug-Free Room
• Put a couple of drops of lavender or peppermint essential oil on a cool light bulb to help repel bugs.
• Place several drops of oil of lavender or peppermint on a cotton ball or two. Put them into a small jar or margarine container. Poke a few holes in the lid and cover. Put around the room.

Natural Insect Repellent
Mix 2 drops of oil of peppermint or lavender with 2 teaspoons of almond or sweet oil and dab on the skin.

Pest-Free Picnic Table
Add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to 32 ounces of water. Pour into a spray bottle and wipe down the table and chairs.

Body Heat Coolers
• Place a piece of silverware on the back of your neck for a quick cool down.
• Rest your wrist on a cold glass of iced water and feel the chill.
• Wipe your feet with an alcohol wipe to cool off your whole body.

Freeze several different sizes of water bottles to keep food chilled in an ice chest. When the water melts, you can drink it!


Heloise Hints /FamilyNet Channel

Goodbye to Split Ends
Add a few drops of lavender oil to a tablespoon of warm (not boiling) castor or sweet oil. Apply just to the ends of your hair. Then wrap hair with plastic wrap or a plastic shower cap and cover with a warm towel— warm the towel quickly by tossing it into the dryer for a few minutes. Leave on for at least 30 minutes and then shampoo twice using cool water.

Pre-Shave for Silky Smooth Legs
Add a couple of drops of essential oil, such as eucalyptus, bergamot, or lavender, to castor oil and mix with hands. Then apply the perfumed castor oil directly to wet legs.

Pre-Shave for Men
Mix equal parts of castor oil and sweet oil, along with add a drop or two of an essential oil, such as lavender or eucalyptus. Moisten beard with warm water, and first apply a small amount of the pre-shave mixture, and then the usual amount of shaving cream. Shave as usual.

Roach Patrol
Mix equal parts of boric acid powder and sugar, cornmeal or flour. Pour this mixture into lids or small open containers and place in the areas, such as behind the refrigerator or backs of cabinets in the pantry, or underneath the kitchen sink, but NOT on kitchen or bathroom counters or floors! You also can put this mixture into an empty catsup squeeze bottle and “poof” the mixture into hard-to-reach corners or cracks. Keep this away from pets and small children.

Stinky Shoes
Lay a piece of plastic wrap into shoes and put a drop of clove oil on a cotton ball and place it on plastic wrap to remove the odor. Don’t forget to take this out of the shoes before you put them on. You also can use empty film canisters as shoe odor-busters. Poke holes into the lids and put the essential oil perfumed cotton balls inside.

Stubborn Stains
Mustard, chocolate and lipstick can be removed by rubbing a few drops of liquid glycerin into the stains first and then rub in stain remover or laundry detergent. Launder as usual in cool water first.


Heloise Hints—Homestyle Cleaning Solutions
What I love about these is that you can make them for just pennies an ounce! Why spend a lot of money on commercial products when you have the basic ingredients at home?

These have a new twist: To make them smell nice, add a drop or two of an essential oil, such as orange, which is uplifting and clean smelling, or lavender, which is relaxing. You can have a lot of fun making your own signature scent by mixing a drop of this (cinnamon) and a drop of that (orange). I seem to come up with a different fragrance each time!

Heloise Updated Window Cleaner 
12 to 16 ounces water
1/2 cup white or apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol (70%)
1-2 drops blue or green food coloring, if desired
1-2 drops lavender, cinnamon, clove or orange essential oil. Combine the ingredients and  put into a labeled spray bottle.

Here’s a hint:
Use newspapers rather than paper towels, because they leave no lint and you are recycling!

1. Spray the newspaper first, then wipe down the window to avoid drips.
2. Wipe vertically one side of the window and horizontally on the other side so you will know which side a streak is on! 

This bottle of nice-smelling window cleaner can cost as little as 25 cents and also works well on mirrors or glass shower doors.

Metal Window Blind Cleaner
16 ounces tap water
1 tablespoon clear ammonia (non-sudsing)
1 drop lavender, peppermint, lemon or other essential oil

Fill a spray bottle and label.
Use old cotton socks to wipe away that grime, but if the blinds are really dusty vacuum first, using the furniture (brush type) attachment. Spray the sock (not the blind) with the cleaner and wipe horizontally first, then vertically.

This mixture costs less than a nickel to make!

Glycerin Skin Softener
Mix 2 parts glycerin and one part water. Add a couple of drops of an essential oil. Lavender and rose are calming. Mix several oils together to create a special one-of-a-kind fragrance.

Heloise Homemade Furniture Polish
Combine 2 parts of sweet oil (which is olive oil you buy at the pharmacy) and one-part apple cider vinegar. Put into a spray bottle and label. This is just perfect for most finished wood, but DON’T use on raw or unfinished wood. Just shake it up to mix. Spray a little on a soft cloth and polish away!

Roach Recipe
To get rid of roaches, make this mixture: half boric acid powder and half sugar or cornmeal or flour. Put in lids or small containers and place in the areas where you see roaches. They will track it back to their nests and eventually they will die. Keep away from pets and small children.

Heloise Bath Salts
Make your own special bath treat by combing 3 cups of Epsom salt, 1 tablespoon of glycerin, a bit of your favorite perfume or essential oils, such as peppermint, bergamot, rose or lavender, in a glass or metal bowl (you can add a few drops of food coloring, if you want). Put 1/2 cup or more of the mixture into the hot bath. Store the rest in an attractive apothecary jar with a latch.


Heloise Hints—Essential Oils
Create your own home fragrances with essential oils, such as cinnamon, orange, lavender, peppermint or eucalyptus, which can be found at independent drugstores. Try these hints to make every room smell wonderful:

Air Fresheners. Put several drops of peppermint or cinnamon on cotton balls and place in a margarine container or small jar. Poke holes into the lid and put in an out-of-the-way area behind furniture or in a guest room or bathroom and your guests won’t have a clue.

Scented Lightbulbs. Dab a bit of oil of clove, peppermint or eucalyptus on a cool lightbulb. When you turn on the light, the scent will drift throughout the room.

Refresh Dried Flowers and Wreaths. Add a few drops of the your favorite essential oil to freshen and revive. Do not put oil directly on silk flowers or any material because it could stain.

Good Kitchen Smells Without Cooking. If you don’t have the time to bake all day in your kitchen, create an inviting smell instead by putting a few drops of cinnamon, anise, orange or peppermint oil on a cotton ball and put it on the inside of the cardboard tube of the paper towel roll or dab on a dried-flower arrangement. Simmer a small pot of water and add a drop of the essential oil that matches the mood you want to create.


Heloise Tackles Holiday Stains
Heloise shared her holiday stain hints on ABC's THE VIEW on Nov. 22nd in a segment hosted by Barbara Walters, Joy Behar and Meredith Viera. She showed how to remove some of the most common stains that always seem to happen when you are entertaining—candle wax drippings, gravy, cranberry, red wine and coffee stains.

To remove coffee (or tea) stains, rinse area with cold water immediately. Rub in a couple of drops of a mild, white dishwashing liquid and rinse well. Then treat with a mixture of one-part white household vinegar and three-parts water. Rinse again and launder as you normally do. Note: If cream was used in the coffee, you may have to sponge the stain with dry-cleaning fluid.

To eliminate cranberry stains, scoop up as much of the sauce as you can—as quickly as you can— and then rinse with cold water. Pretreat the stained area and then wash—as the care label for the fabric indicates.

With all the dinner parties and family gatherings during the holidays, your tablecloth can take a beating from the drips, spills and stains. Here are removal solutions for the most common party-related stains:

• To get rid of candle wax from the tablecloth, let the wax harden—a quick way is to put it in the freezer. Then scrape it off the tablecloth with a dull knife. Place paper towels on both sides of the stain and set the iron on the warm setting, then iron (no steam) over the stained area. Change the towels often to absorb all of the wax. Launder as usual.

• To clean up gravy, spoon it up as fast as you can. Sprinkle artificial sweetener or flour over the stained area to absorb the grease. Put the tablecloth into a sink and soak in a mixture of one teaspoon of a mild, colorless detergent with each cup of lukewarm water for at least 20 minutes. Then wash as usual and let air dry—don’t put in the dryer.

• To remove red-wine stains, pour a big dose of salt on top of the stain to absorb the liquid. Put the tablecloth into cold water and try to rub out the stain. Use an enzyme detergent in the hottest water safe for the fabric, soak for 30 minutes and launder.


College Student Hints
Cellphone Lands in the Toilet, Bathtub or Sink

If you act fast, you may be able to save the phone. Pull the battery out ASAP. Then dry the inside of the phone with a hair dryer. Put the battery back in to see if it works. You probably will have to get a new battery. Take the phone to a service center to check it out.

Cleaning CDs or DVDs
Data is embedded in the discs, so clean carefully by wiping with a soft cloth—from the center to the edge. Do not clean in a circular motion because that might damage the data.

Burnt Popcorn Smell in the Microwave
To get rid of this awful lingering stink, fill as large microwave-safe bowl with one cup of water and sprinkle your favorite spice like cinnamon or add several drops of vanilla or lemon extract. Bring to a boil. You must let it sit inside for 10 to 15 minutes to cool down. Simply wipe the walls down with paper towels. Leave the door open to further air it out.


Heloise Hint Updates
Many of us use hints passed down from our mothers or grandmothers. They may not be valid today. Products have changed so much that there may be better or different ways of using or caring for them. Here are the latest:

Ballpoint-Ink Stain

THEN: Hairspray
NOW: Rubbing alcohol
Ink formulations, fabrics, and hairspray ingredients have changed today. To get rid of the ballpoint ink from clothing you launder, place the garment on a towel stain-side down. Lightly dampen a cloth with rubbing alcohol and gently dab (do not rub) the stain.

Candle Wax on Carpet
THEN: Towel and iron
NOW: Ice and a metal pan
Put ice cubes into a metal pan. Place it right on top of the candle wax until the wax is frozen solid. With a small hammer, hit the wax to break it up. Pick up the pieces. Then apply dry-cleaning solvent on a clean cloth to remove any leftover residue.

Blue Jean Washing
THEN: Soak in salt or vinegar and water to stop dye from running.
NOW: Laundry products today are geared to help keep the colors dark. Denim is now manufactured with modern dyes.

Microwave Cleaning
THEN: Vinegar or baking soda and water
NOW: Any citrus (lemon, lime or orange)
Put a 4-cup capacity microwave-safe bowl filled with chopped citrus and 1 cup of water. Since microwave wattage varies, cook until the water boils. CAUTION: To prevent being scalded, let the water cool for at least 15 minutes before opening the door to wipe out the microwave.


The Questions You Ask Most Frequently
Here are the answers!



A dishwasher can be cleaned with household vinegar or citric acid powder. Pour a gallon of vinegar in the bottom, let set for an hour or so, then run the washer through a full cycle. Citric acid powder will also help remove hard-water buildup. Add a half-cup of powder and run the dishwasher. If there’s still an unpleasant odor coming from inside, examine the drain hose to see if it’s crimped and check the bottom for bits of food or gunk. After checking, if the odor it still strong, call a plumber because it might be a possible hazardous plumbing problem, like sewer gas, that needs to be remedied,

This strong odor, in furniture or clothing, can be taken care of with a lot of air circulation. If it’s in clothing, hang garments outside in fresh air to let the smell dissipate. Wash garments alone with washing soda or baking soda, added to the regular amount of detergent. If the odor is inside a chest of drawers or a cedar chest, you must air out the drawers too and then lightly sand the inside and vacuum up the shavings. Stuff the drawers with newspapers to help absorb the odors. Wipe the inside with a cloth lightly dampened with household vinegar and let air-dry.

If clothing smells smoky, put it out in the fresh air. Many fabric-odor sprays do a good job, particularly on winter coats and heavy sweaters. Of course, normal laundering can remove the odor. But if there has been a fire, and the smoke smell is awful, locate a dry cleaner that has an ozone cleaner and that should do the trick.

As long as foot odor is not a medical condition, try these hints: Wash your feet and dry them thoroughly. Spritz feet with deodorant before putting on socks. Apply antibacterial soap or soak your feet in vinegar for five minutes every night to help. Airing out shoes in between wearing, and pouring a bit baking soda inside, will help neutralize odors.


Prevention is better than curative. Let antiperspirant or deodorant dry completely before putting on your garment. Pre-treat the underarm area of the garment with liquid laundry detergent, so the buildup can be washed away. If the stain is old, treat the area with white or apple cider vinegar to help dissolve the perspiration. Wash in hot water at least every third or fourth time to get rid of the buildup.

Generally, lipstick can be removed from washable clothing with isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Use two hand towels; put one down and place the lipstick stain face down on it. Dab the back of the stain with the other towel, which has been dipped into the alcohol. Repeat until stain is gone. If there’s any residue, use a pre-spotter or stain remover before laundering and let air dry to be sure the stain is gone. Lipsticks today have newer formulas, such as long-lasting or those with a lot of gloss. Several treatments may be needed to remove these stains.

For clothes that you launder, soaking the bloodstained garment in cold water for about 30 minutes will usually remove it. However, if stains are visible, mix a bit of water with unseasoned meat tenderizer (which breaks down the protein in the blood) and apply to the area. If the garment can’t be laundered at home, take it to the dry cleaner right away and identify the stain. Let the professionals save the clothing.

Crayon on Walls
If your artistic child has shown his talent on painted walls or wallpaper, here’s how to get it off: Dry cleaning solvent, available at drug or shoe stores. Pour a bit on a terry cloth towel to safely remove crayon from almost any (except antique wallpaper) surface.

Suddenly you notice a stain, but it really isn’t a mystery because it probably was there when the garment was put away or actually laundered, but did not come out totally. These stains frequently are from a light-colored liquid, such as a clear soft drink or white wine that contains sugar. If you’ve tried all of the normal spot-and-stain removers without success, give this a try: If the garment is white or light colored, use three-percent hydrogen peroxide on a cotton swab to dab at the stain. Allow it to set for several hours because it acts as a milder, slower bleaching agent.



Use cheap hair shampoo and a scrub brush. (If you don’t like bending over, use a long-handled brush.) Commercial cleaners do an excellent job and so will vinegar, but do not use it on marble.

Newer-model toilets with a shiny finish are easy to maintain by scrubbing with the toilet brush several times a week (for a minute) rather than only once a week. This will prevent a hard-water buildup. For regular cleaning, use a disinfecting cleaner, and don’t forget to clean under the seat, the lid and around the base.

Shower Curtains
Put plastic shower curtain and liners into the washing machine to eliminate grime. Toss in a bath towel or two for scrubbing action, along with the usual amount of detergent. Then place in the dryer for a couple of minutes or hang to dry. Here’s hint from my mother: To stop mildew buildup, use pinking shears to cut off the bottom seam of a liner or a non-decorative plastic curtain, so the water drips off.

Sterling Silver
Sterling silver and stainless steel can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher. If you put them in the dishwasher, don’t place the utensils in the same basket with stainless steel because this could damage the sterling. If you put sterling or silver-plate (no hollow-handled knives) in the dishwasher, stop the machine before the drying cycle and take them out to hand dry. For regular care, a good quality silver cream or polish will have excellent results.



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