Dear Heloise: My children don't always use coasters on our hardwood coffee table. Is there any way to remove those pesky water rings?—C.R., Schertz, Texas

Mix some nongel white toothpaste with a little baking soda and rub it into the rings until warm. It can take time for the marks to disappear. When they are gone, wax or use furniture polish on the wood. Baking soda is one of my all-time favorite cheap, environmentally safe cleaners. There are lots of ways to use baking soda around your home instead of expensive commercial cleaners. If you would like to check out all the ways to use it, please send $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (59 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Baking soda does deodorize, and it also does a fabulous job when used with some liquid detergent (dish soap) to clean the sink. Scrub with a sponge or brush and rinse.—Heloise

Dear Heloise: Airline cleanliness is a real issue, particularly with blankets and pillows. An alternative is to carry along a small, fleece, clean, cheap baby blanket and roll it to a small size. —Nima Patel, M.D., West Hartford, Conn.

You are right! Those blankets (unless in a plastic bag) are not cleaned between flights, and I don't think you want to know about the pillows!—Heloise

Dear Heloise: I send packages to my friend and her children often. Instead of using wrap with air bubbles or shipping popcorn, I toss in a paper-towel roll or a couple of rolls of toilet paper. It fills the space in the box and is useful later.—Caroline Mulders, Westerville, Ohio

Dear Heloise: As a single man, I am very time-challenged. I have more projects and duties than time. And my workout seemed to suffer the most. So, I devised a multitasking crunch workout.

Whenever I unload the dishwasher or dryer, I bend at the waist and remove one item at a time, then stand to fold or put it away. I can feel a real "burn" in my abs doing this.—T.J. Hobbs, San Antonio

Dear Heloise: To save on closet space, I coordinate "sets" together. For example, if I commonly layer clothing that I wear, I will place those layers (two or three) on the same hanger together (along with the pants). Also, since sweatshirts do well on hangers but sweaters do not, I place sweaters over the shirts. They hang well and do not end up with fold lines.—Mickey Althouse, via e-mail

Dear Heloise: I have a hint for getting the last amount out of those lip-balm tubes. I use the end of a fingernail file to dig out the last of the tube. There is at least one-third of an inch left in the tubes.—Diane Holmes, Omaha, Neb.


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