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Helpful Hints

By Heloise

This article was published August 15, 2014 at 1:49 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: What is the best way to clean a computer keyboard? Mine is looking rather dirty, but I have been afraid to do anything for fear of damaging it.

-- I.E., via email

DEAR READER: Unplug the keyboard and hold it over a trash can or the sink. Turn the keyboard over, pat the back and shake, shake, shake. You will be shocked at how much dirt and lint falls out. Then use the brush attachment on your vacuum or a can of compressed air to get anything else that may be left.

You can use alcohol on a tissue, or cleaning wipes, to wipe down the keyboard and get rid of all the fingerprints and smudges. Don't use anything too strong, and don't overwet it, either. Cleaning your keyboard helps it work better and longer.

DEAR HELOISE: When we go on vacation, I like to send postcards. I write the names and addresses on self-adhesive labels. I place them, my return-address labels and my stamps in a bag in my suitcase. When I write a postcard, I simply stick the labels and a stamp on it and go.

-- A Reader in Kentucky

DEAR HELOISE: My wood molding was scratched by my dog's nails, and I, too, used a walnut to fix it, just as you suggested. The problem was that my dog, Sam, smelled the scent of the nut and licked the nutmeat right off the wood!

-- Mary T, via email

DEAR READER: Well, can't blame the guy. You also can use a light-colored crayon.

DEAR HELOISE: My clay pots have an ugly white ring on them. What is it from, and what can I do to get rid of it?

-- Paula in Pennsylvania

DEAR READER: Paula, the white rings on the outside are from the salt in the water or even soil seeping through the clay. This can happen on outdoor and indoor plants. You usually can remove the rings by wiping with a cloth that has been soaked with full-strength white or apple-cider vinegar. You may need to scrub with a brush to get them off. Rinse and you're done.

Are your aluminum pots discolored? Pour in a cup of water and a cup of vinegar, and boil away the stain. Wash, rinse and dry as usual.

DEAR HELOISE: Businesses often give away plastic flying discs. I found that they are good to use under plants. They catch the water and protect whatever the plant is on.

-- A Reader in Virginia

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email

MovieStyle on 08/15/2014

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