Dear Heloise: I am desperately seeking your recipe for making my own prewash spray. Would you reprint it? —Karen Malone, Coulee City, Wash.

With all of us trying to save money in today's economy, this hint will help cut your grocery bill. All you do is mix equal parts of tap water, household ammonia (sudsy or plain) and dishwashing (not dishwasher) liquid. This means, as an example, 1/2 cup of each. Put into a clean spray bottle and label it.

Don't let it sit too long on the stain — maybe three to five minutes. Wash the garment. Don't put into the dryer — let the item air-dry, and repeat if needed. For an alphabetical list of stain-removing hints for everything from adhesive-tape residue to wine spills, order my eight-page pamphlet Heloise's Handy Stain Guide for Clothing by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (59 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Stains, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.

You'll also find a list to help you read clothing-care labels. For example: It's not always what a care label says that matters, but what it DOESN'T say that is also important. Care labels are required to give at least ONE satisfactory method of care even though other methods may be used. #151;Heloise

Dear Readers: Here are some handy uses for binder clips, large or small:

• Hold outgoing mail together.

• Hold papers when typing.

• Colored clips can be used to ID lunch items in the fridge.

• Hold chip, cookie or frozen-veggie bags closed.

• Keeps coupons together when shopping. —Heloise

Dear Heloise: While folding the towels and washcloths to put away, I looked at those darn tags that always show. It dawned on me: I don't need them to tell me how to wash towels! So, I tore them off, and now when I hang the towels, I don't have to worry about the tags showing. —Jan, via e-mail

Dear Heloise: I knit and have accumulated quite a number of needles. I have found that the best way to keep track of the needles is by using a quart-size zipper bag — the kind with the label you can write on. I labeled one bag for each size needle and put all the various lengths in another bag. I store all the bags in a plastic shoe box in order from largest to smallest. —Brenda W. Finnegan, Valparaiso, Ind.

Dear Heloise: It seems every new household appliance I get is bigger than the old, simple styles of the past. My kitchen isn't getting any bigger, yet my coffee maker, mixer, electric frying pan, iron and even my new manual can opener are bulkier than the old versions. Some don't work as well as the slim-and-trim ones, either. Bigger is not always better, especially when I can't fit things where the old ones used to fit. — Sharon B., Woodbury, Conn.


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