Dear Heloise: I found an unusual use for vinegar. While repotting a plant, I discovered that an army of ants had moved into the dirt. I poured a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water on the dirt — they were sent to ant heaven! — Cathy, via e-mail

Cathy, your vinegar solution will not only keep ants out of your plant dirt, but if you wipe down your kitchen counters (do not use on marble, granite or specialty countertops) with a solution of half vinegar and half water, you will also discourage the little buggers from following the scent trail left by other ants.

There are zillions of uses for vinegar in the kitchen, house, garden, etc. You'll find an alphabetical list of these amazing hints for just about everything in my Fantabulous Vinegar Hints & More pamphlet.

Order one by sending $4 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (58 cents) envelope to: Heloise/ Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. To remove shampoo buildup, rinse your hair with a solution of 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 cup water. To kill weeds and unwanted grass between pavers, just pour on a little vinegar! They'll be gone! — Heloise

Heloise Update: Our much-loved vinegar does nothing to help a sunburn. I know! I've printed (and thought) this for years, as have many of you. But new research says nope, it doesn't help. Sorry, folks.

Dear Heloise: While using a mop with the floor-cleaner bottle attached, I discovered I was out of the wipes that attach to the mop. I used an old washcloth, and it clung perfectly to the sticky-sided fabric tape on the pad. I can remove the washcloth, wash it and reuse it over and over! No more purchasing expensive refill wipes. — A Reader, Harrisburg, Pa.

We love this hint! Everyone has a few extra washcloths around, or you can pick up a dozen cheap ones at a discount store. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: Seeing the hint about marking luggage reminds me that several times, the ribbons on mine had been removed by the time the luggage got to the baggage-claim area. I took artists' acrylic paints and painted yellow and green flowers on all six surfaces of my bags, and I can spot them immediately on the conveyor belt, trolley or wherever they end up. — Lee Ellen Cate, Houston

Dear Heloise: Here's a hint my husband suggested when I was trying to think of an easy way to get my curtains back on the rods without them getting snagged.

He suggested putting an adhesive bandage over the end of the rod, which I did, and it worked just great. We used the flexible fabric bandages. It wasn't any time at all and I had the clean curtains back on the rod. — Caroline R., Portage, Wis.

Dear Heloise: When old or broken clay pots are useless, break them into small pieces and place in the bottom of future pots to promote drainage without soil loss. — John in Ohio

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