Dear Heloise: Did I hear right — use straight vinegar on sidewalk areas where WEEDS are coming through the dirt cracks? If so, I can't wait to try this before the weeds take over again as they did last year. —Nancy, Lebanon, N.J.

Yes, you heard right! If you listened to my podcast, I talked about using vinegar to kill weeds. Before those nasty weeds gain a stronghold, spray or pour full-strength vinegar directly on them. That should do the trick!

And while you're at it, soak a cloth with undiluted vinegar and wipe the salt-ring buildup that forms on clay pots, and soak rusty screws and bolts in vinegar to remove corrosion. There are so many more vinegar uses that I put together a six-page pamphlet full of hints for everything from cleaning discolored aluminum pots to defrosting windshields.

To receive one, send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (59 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. You'll also find a bunch of cooking hints, such as how to give your homemade bread a beautiful sheen by brushing the top of the loaf with white or cider vinegar just before it's done and how to get that drip coffee maker brewing faster!—Heloise

Dear Readers: Here are some handy ideas for storing recyclables:

• Store newspapers and brown paper bags in brown paper grocery sacks. They're the perfect size.

• When you store plastic bags, fold or roll them lengthwise from bottom to top so the air is pushed out as you go, and then they will be neater.

• To avoid having to dig for the right bag, store grocery bags inside a grocery bag, bread bags inside a bread bag, newspaper bags inside a newspaper bag and so forth.

• Avoid the aggravation of trying to fit the right lids for plastic containers. Before you store them, use permanent markers to mark matching lids and bottoms with stars, smiling faces or other symbols.—Heloise

Dear Heloise: With the rising grocery prices, I buy meat in supermarket value packs. I take out what we need for a meal and rewrap the extra in freezer wrap. I cut off the label from the package and slip it into the bag. This tells me what it is and how long it has been in the freezer. —Jackie C., Kerrville, Texas

Dear Heloise: I spray the shoelaces on my white sport shoes with a fabric protector before I ever wear them. They stay beautifully clean. —Marge in Quincy, Calif.

Dear Heloise: To keep the good vibes of a vacation or trip when I get home, I use the cup (plastic or foam) from the hotel when I brush my teeth in the morning or at night. I see the cup and remember the good times! —Deborah L. Woracek, Bellevue, Neb.

Dear Heloise: This weekend, as I was cutting in half my "almost but not quite used up" cream container to access the very last drops before obtaining another, it occurred to me that these household/beauty hints were a result of years of reading Heloise's Hints in newspapers, magazines and books. My mother read your mother's columns throughout her life. I naturally read them, too.

The knowledge I inadvertently absorbed has enabled me to continue to enjoy the quality of life (in spite of various obstacles) my parents wished me to have — in short, to be independent, determined and creative. —Carol Davidson, Austin, Texas

Dear Heloise: My pet peeve is the price of eyeglasses, particularly the frames. Reading glasses found in many drugstores and supermarkets can be purchased for much less. The frames are comparable to those sold by optical companies. I buy these instead, since optical companies charge anywhere from $80 to $150! —Betty Davis, Colorado Springs, Colo.

I've done the same!

—Heloise


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