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This article was published February 27, 2014 at 2:38 a.m.

DEAR READER: Here is a good way to test your hint IQ: Do you know what to do to keep a block of hard cheese, like cheddar, from getting moldy? Which of the following should you use?

A. A cheesecloth sprinkled with baking soda.

B. Sprinkle salt on the cheese.

C. A vinegar-dampened cheesecloth.

The correct answer is C. Wrap the block of cheese in cheesecloth that has been moistened with just a little vinegar. Then put the covered block in a plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator. The taste of the cheese will not be affected. Depending on how long you are storing the cheese, you might need to remoisten the cloth.

DEAR HELOISE: I shine my dress shoes and find that it’s difficult if they aren’t securely anchored. Placing them on my feet and bending over to buff them is no longer an option. I went to my tool chest and grabbed the 5-pound sledgehammer, put it inside a shoe, then placed it on the edge of the workbench (or countertop). It provided enough weight to keep the shoe in place.

  • Kerry E., California

DEAR HELOISE: Could you reprint a solution for stale- or sour-smelling towels? - A Reader, via email

DEAR READER: There can be several reasons towels smell sour or moldy. One is that you may be overloading the washing machine, and the towels can’t be rinsed well. Rewash the towels in smaller loads with the normal amount of detergent, but also add a half cup of baking soda or washing soda (found in the laundry aisle). Also, try a second rinse and then put the towels in the dryer immediately. You may need to repeat the process.

Is your mop a little smelly? Soak it in a baking-soda solution (4 tablespoons to 1 quart of water) for a few hours. Rinse well, and the smell should disappear. Then pour the baking-soda water down the drain as a freshener.

DEAR HELOISE: Being economical in baking is important. I buy chocolate candies after the holidays, when they are on sale. Separate the colors and freeze. When it comes time to make cookies, get out the coordinating colored candies. For example, red for Valentine’s Day and green for St. Patrick’s Day.

  • Mary L., Schererville, Ind.

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

Weekend, Pages 36 on 02/27/2014

Print Headline: HELPFUL HINTS


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