Dear Readers: Does your carpet need a little help? For a quick and inexpensive carpet freshener, use all-natural, environmentally friendly baking soda. Just put some baking soda in a clean spice bottle with a shaker top or in a Parmesan-cheese container and lightly sprinkle the entire carpet. Leave it for at least 30 minutes, then vacuum.
Vacuuming regularly will help keep your carpet looking good. The best way to really clean out embedded dirt particles is to take several slow, overlapping strokes in different directions, and be sure the vacuum bag isn't full!
As long as you're deodorizing, sprinkle some baking soda in the trash compactor or an empty ice chest, and don't forget your shoes and tennies. It's even safe enough to use as a dry shampoo on your pets!
For a ton of other deodorizing hints, send $4 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (58 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001 for my six-page Heloise's Baking Soda Hints and Recipes pamphlet.
For dark-colored carpets, add a little cinnamon to the baking-soda container for a fresh scent, and it's a good idea to keep drapes and blinds closed on sunny days to help prevent the carpet from fading. Quick hint: If you're short on time, just vacuum the high-traffic patterns often, and the rest can wait! Heloise
Dear Heloise: We recently spent a few weeks in Europe. Before we left home, my husband called all the credit-card companies, etc., to tell them we would be on vacation and that there would be more activity than usual on the cards.
In Germany, we used our ATM card three times with no problem asked for 300 Euros each time. The fourth time we used the card, we asked for 500 Euros, and it did not work the message said to contact our bank. It was the weekend, and we could not speak to anyone until Monday. We found out that when we requested 500 Euros, it was over our $600 limit, which we didn't realize at the time. The computer put an automatic block on the card, even though we had contacted the bank before we left home.
Once the block was removed, we were able to use our ATM card again. I hope this information will be helpful to your readers. Steve and Laraine Rank, Huntington Beach, Calif.
Lesson: Contact banks before leaving to notify them of your travel plans, as you did, and find out if there are limits that will apply! Heloise
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