Dear Heloise: When I had ceramic tile installed in my kitchen, I noticed that the installer rinsed his hands in apple-cider vinegar when he finished working. He said the vinegar seemed to neutralize the abrasive effect of the alkaline mortar, leaving his hands feeling good. Since then, I started rinsing with vinegar after using harsh cleaners or after a day of yardwork. It really makes a difference. — Ginny, Spring Branch, Texas

That's right, Ginny, vinegar works wonders on overworked hands and is also great on your hair. Soap film and hair-product residue can linger on hair and make it dull and lifeless, but rinsing with a tablespoon of white vinegar added to 1 cup of warm water can make it fluffy and shiny again. I have a bunch of other skin, hair and home-style hints using vinegar in my six-page pamphlet, which you can have by sending $4 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (58 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.

Vinegar will help clean hairbrushes by simply soaking them (not wooden) overnight in a 50/50 mixture of household vinegar and water. Plus, remember vinegar is cheap, safe and environmentally friendly. — Heloise

Dear Readers: What else besides vinegar can be used to clean smelly hands of onion, fish or other odor?

A. lemon

B. sugar and a drop of detergent

C. baking soda

D. all of the above

Well, what do you think? If you said "d," then you know your scents. Cut a lemon in half and rub it on your hands, followed by soap and water. Or pour some sugar in the palm of your hand, add a drop or two of liquid detergent and wash those odors away. You can also put a sprinkle of baking soda in your wet hands, scrub vigorously and rinse. Clean and fresh! — Heloise

Dear Heloise: I keep a rectangular wash basket in the back of my car. When I go shopping, I put my packages in it. No more shopping bags all over the trunk and out of reach. — Maryann from Florida

Dear Heloise: Since gift bags are used so much instead of regular gift wrap, a lot of tissue paper is also used. I came up with the idea of ironing the tissue with my steam iron. It comes out like new, thus I can recycle the gift bags and also the tissue paper that comes with them. — Leona Petcavage, Massillon, Ohio

Dear Heloise: When you mention the instructions/recipe for a cleaner, I always write it on a piece of paper and tape it to a spray bottle right after I have made the cleaner. I know what is in the bottle when I label it with the ingredients and portions, and also what it is to be used on. — Nancy, Lexington, Ky.

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