Ten minutes to clean

Help, Heloise:

My friends often call to announce that they are popping over in 10 minutes. What are the biggest areas to focus on so they’ll be in at least a somewhat-ordered apartment? I don’t have time for a deep cleaning; I’m just going for the illusion of tidiness and sanitation. Ha! – Julie B., Bloomington, Ind.

Julie, don’t panic. Here are some hints for you: First, step into your doorway/foyer area and look at your living space the way your guests would. What sticks out? Clothes strewn about? Dirty dishes, newspapers, magazines? Pick up these biggies and stow them in a trash bag or bin temporarily, and toss them in a closet or room where no one will go.

Next stop? Bathroom. Remove spots from the mirror, wipe out the sink with a vinegar/water mixture and swish a brush in the toilet bowl with your usual cleaner.

Run the vacuum or sweep the big areas to eliminate dust bunnies.

Then relax and enjoy the evening. – Heloise


Dear Heloise: We have always loved Heloise’s Friendship Tea. It makes a wonderful gift for neighbors or as a hostess gift. I’ve been unable to find the orange-flavored breakfast drink mix as well as powdered tea in the grocery stores around me. Can you help? – Phyllis in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

Heloise Central checked and found that there are online retailers that sell both products. For readers who want the recipe, you will need:

2 1/2 cups powdered orange-flavored breakfast drink mix

1 3/4 cups powdered instant tea (unsweetened)

2 to 2 1/2 cups sugar

1 package lemonade mix (makes 2 quarts)

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Mix together all the ingredients and store in sealed jars. Use 1 to 2 rounded teaspoons in 6 to 8 ounces of water (hot or cold). For more delicious tea recipes, order my pamphlet by visiting www.Heloise.com, or send $3 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (68 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Coffee and Tea, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Make a sugar-free version with diet powdered orange drink and sugar-free lemonade, but then only 1 teaspoon of mix would be added to 6 to 8 ounces of water because it’s so concentrated. – Heloise


Dear Heloise: Using body wash on a nylon puff is great for lathering up for a shower or bath. I launder my puff once or twice a week in the washer on the warm/cold cycle.

I’m wondering if this method thoroughly cleans the puff for month after month of use, or if a new puff each month is preferable for health reasons. – Nancy B., via email

Nancy, these lather-makers are great for a sudsy scrub in the shower, but they can harbor nasty bacteria. Consider replacing them often. – Heloise


Dear Heloise: When someone is trying to lose weight, he or she complains about losing it first in the face. I’ve just discovered why: It’s from chewing all those leafy and raw, hard-as-a-rock vegetables – it exercises the face! – Carolyn M., via email

Hints from Heloise run occasionally in Lifestyles. Readers may send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE, or email: Heloise@Heloise.com. Letters won’t be answered personally.