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A quick cleaning regimen to slow the spread of disease

Dear Heloise: At the start of cold and flu season, I got in the habit of washing my hands when I came home after doing errands. But I also added the extra step of wiping down the steering wheel, gear shift, car door handle and anything else I touched with a sanitary wipe. It would seem especially important to take this extra precaution during the present health crisis.

I enjoy reading your tips in The Villages Daily Sun and passing them on to family! — Virginia B., Fruitland Park, Fla.

MESSY EATER

Dear Heloise: My dog is a sloppy eater and drinker, so there was always a mess to clean up. I put a rubber bathmat under his bowls to catch all the spills. I scrub it clean with a brush in the sink using some dishwashing soap and water. — Gloria in Maine

Gloria, great idea! A designated cloth, dish-drying mat would work as well. Just throw it in the washing machine to clean. — Heloise

WRITE IT DOWN

Dear Heloise: I write the model and serial number for any electronic device or appliance, such as computers, printers, etc., on a sticky label and put it at an easily accessible place on the item.

There’s nothing worse than having to try to turn a heavy printer or other appliance over to see the numbers needed to contact service for help. — Sherri H., Statesville, N.C.

Sherri, I agree! Appliances and printers can be heavy, and searching for any needed information for a service call when you are already frustrated is no fun. — Heloise

SAFE LANDING

Dear Heloise: I love watching birds visit my birdbath, but I was having a problem with algae growth due to the birdbath being in the direct sun. So I moved the birdbath under a tree. The birds loved the new location! The tree branches not only blocked the sun’s rays, but also provided a safe landing spot out of predators’ view. — Robyn in Texas

RECYLING OLD TIRES

Dear Heloise: I would like to suggest that people use old tires for planters if they’re growing flowers, but not for growing edibles. Plants can pick up chemicals from the tire in the soil, and vegetables, such as potatoes, can end up tasting like old tires. — Kathy in Bozeman, Mont.

MELTED MESS

Dear Heloise: Help! I left my plastic grocery bag too near a hot burner on my stove. The bag melted and stuck to the burner. How can I safely remove the melted plastic? — Phyllis in Texas

Phyllis, I’ve certainly heard this one before. It’s a very common problem. Don’t worry. It’s easy to fix. Fill the sink with enough hot water to completely cover the burner, and let it soak until the water cools. After draining the water, sprinkle salt on the melted plastic. Scrub with the rough side of a kitchen sponge. The salt should serve as a mild abrasive. Then rinse away the plastic. — Heloise

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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.

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