Dear Heloise: I read your column every day in the Ventura County (Calif.) Star, and I have a hint I'd like to share.

I keep a toothbrush in the shower, but not for brushing my teeth or cleaning the tile grout. I wear my wedding ring almost 24/7, and to keep it (and sometimes other items) sparkling, I clean it with the toothbrush and a very small amount of shampoo while I'm in the shower. It comes out beautiful each time. Of course, it has to be a shampoo without any residue or color to it. Or you can keep a small bottle of a mild dishwashing soap in the shower for cleaning jewelry.

— Karen W., Camarillo, Calif.

Karen, this is a real multitasking hint, but may I caution that if there are loose stones in your ring, you risk having one go down the drain!

— Heloise

Dear Readers: Ketchup and mustard packets from fast-food restaurants and takeout are great for other things:


children's school lunches

football games and other sporting events


when your condiment bottle is empty.

— Heloise

Dear Heloise: I am a consummate recycle/reuse fanatic, and lids have always stymied me.

I finally figured out a use for those pesky lids on milk jugs, plastic containers, soda bottles, etc. I use them in the bottom of flowerpots. They're especially effective for those that require a little dampness in the soil, as there will be small pockets of extra water to draw from.

— Wendy P., Salem, Ore.

Dear Heloise: As I put my shower scrubbies in the wash, I was reminded of a hint a while ago regarding tossing them out on a regular basis. I thought this might be a helpful hint to extend the life of the scrubbies and be a good steward of our environment.

The night before washing the sheets, I put the scrubbies to soak in a hot-water-and-vinegar solution. In the morning, I toss them in a mesh bag and throw them in with the sheets. This is one time I don't use fabric softener. When the load finishes, I hang them in the fresh air and sun to dry. My bath scrubbies are still going strong after a year.

— Sara, via e-mail

Dear Heloise: If I have to remember something (pick up cleaning, make a phone call, etc.) and I have no paper or pencil, I just move my watch from my left to my right wrist — that reminds me of what I have to do.

— Judy H., Chevy Chase, Md.

Dear Heloise: I live alone, and I love saving money like anyone else. Why do most of the coupons require you to buy two of the product? Most of us don't have the room to store extra food, etc., and, being alone, can't use the product before the expiration date.

— J.W., Manchester, N.H.

>Send a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; fax: 1-210-HELOISE; e-mail:

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