Gloves, tear-free onions and new uses for coffee filters

Dear Heloise: I have a home with a very large kitchen, and it should be spotless, but it’s not. I just don’t know where to start. There are children’s drawings on the fridge, my husband’s hobbies somehow seem to end up on my counters, and there are always dirty dishes in the sink. The floor needs to be replaced, and the dishwasher is always full.

We have four children and two more we took in due to a family tragedy. How can I get this project going and train everyone to clean up after themselves? I need a clean kitchen to work in. — Diane M., Denver

Diane, first, have a family meeting. Everyone has 24 hours to collect their junk from the kitchen. If it’s still there after 24 hours, then it goes in the garbage. And stick to your word. Next, hire some help if you need to, but start at one end and work your way around the kitchen. Clean the cupboards; scrub every shelf with hot water and soap. Throw out old food and check carefully for insects. Once that is done, go shopping for a new floor. Be sure to save children’s drawings somewhere else, other than the refrigerator. Your husband’s hobbies don’t belong in your kitchen. Once your kitchen is clean, you’ll want to keep it that way. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I recently went to a dinner at a friend’s home and saw her kneading crab cakes with her bare hands. I refused to eat any of her crab cakes for that reason. Picky? No, not at all. I wear gloves when I have to use my hands to knead anything. You never know what someone has picked up on their hands or under their nails. My friend said she washed her hands first, and I believe her, but it just seems cleaner to me to wear either rubber gloves that are washed or disposable gloves for things like this. — Karen D., Fitzgerald, Ga.

Karen, wearing gloves, especially in this time of COVID, is a wise thing to do. I always wear disposable gloves to mix salads or knead meatloaf to keep my nails, rings and hands clean. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I use onions a lot in my cooking, but to prevent those onion tears, I light a candle near where I’m cutting and it burns up the onion gas. To get rid of onion on my hands, I either use a lemon or lime, or rub my hands on something made of stainless steel, and the smell goes away. — Mary Ann W., Rutland, Vt.


Dear Heloise: We bought a new coffee pot, but our large stack of filters did not fit the new pot. So now I use them to hold items such as candy or nuts for my kids, or to drain something small I’ve fried. This way, I don’t have a mess to clean up because I just toss out the filter after use. These filters also come in handy for stacking dishes that are seldom used. — Gloria, Clawson, Mich.


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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