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Helpful Hints

By Heloise

This article was published July 4, 2014 at 1:47 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: Do you have some hints on how to clean entry doors? I have a wooden front door and glass and metal back doors.

-- Paula in Tennessee

DEAR READER: For the wooden door, use a broom to sweep away any dirt and cobwebs. Hose it down, and then use a microfiber cloth to wipe dry. If you want, you can use a soft terry towel and car or furniture polish to give it a coat of wax to protect it from the elements.

For the glass and metal doors, clean the glass with full-strength vinegar and dry with newspaper for no streaks. Then wipe the metal portion of the door with a damp rag (water only).

Any metal hardware, doorknobs, hinges, etc., can be cleaned with a little soap and water. Whenever I clean my doors, I take the time to check the weatherstripping to see if it needs replacing.

DEAR HELOISE: We recently had the experience of missing luggage while traveling abroad. Adding to the confusion was our difficulty communicating with the airline representative due to language issues. He asked us to describe the missing luggage and showed us a poster of different sizes, shapes and colors. Ultimately, we did reunite with our bags. On the way back, we snapped a photograph of our luggage just prior to checking it in. How easy it would have been to identify the luggage had we had this photo to show the airline baggage coordinator.

-- Linda G., via email

DEAR HELOISE: My rubber car mats are really dirty. Do you have any hints on how to clean them?

-- Steve in Texas

DEAR READER: For a good cleaning, make a solution of equal parts vinegar and water. Give the mats a good scrub with the solution and rinse well. Then let them air-dry thoroughly before putting them back into your car. To keep them cleaner between scrubbings, take them out and vacuum regularly. To clean car windows, use the same solution of vinegar and water and a microfiber cloth.

DEAR HELOISE: Each summer when I bring out my fans, I take off the grilles by removing the screws, and wipe the blades with a damp cloth. Then I take the grilles down to the self-service carwash and secure them in the clamps provided for car mats. A quick high-pressure spray cleans all the dirt and grime in those crevices. One must be careful to dry the grates completely before putting them back on the fans.

-- J.M., via email

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 07/04/2014

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