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Helpful Hints

By Heloise

This article was published June 3, 2014 at 1:51 a.m.

DEAR HELOISE: I bought a candle while on vacation in another state. When I began to burn the candle at home, I discovered that it had a metal wick. Reading the container gave me no information about the wick or what metal it is made of, but I am concerned about lead and remember those types of wicks causing a concern. Should I be worried?

-- Natalie B. in Indiana

DEAR READER: According to the National Candle Association, you do not need to worry, because the chance that the wick is lead is very unlikely. In 2003, the United States banned lead wicks. However, metal-core wicks are still used at times with certain candles to help the wick stand up. Don't worry, though. The metal in these wicks has either a zinc or a tin core, which is perfectly safe.

DEAR HELOISE: I have a medium-size dog that gets treats on a regular basis. After his treat bag is empty -- the kind with the zip closure -- I place it beside my regular trash bags under the sink. When I get something that smells, I place it in the treat bag before putting it into the garbage. This saves me from having to take out the trash just because it smells bad.

I also use the plastic containers that powdered drinks come in for his water and food when traveling. The lids are the size of a small bowl.

-- Susan H. in Kentucky

DEAR HELOISE: I accidentally spilled some mascara on the bathroom sink. Without any plan, I rubbed some toothpaste on the mascara smear, and presto -- the smear is all gone.

-- Susan R. in Florida

DEAR READER: Many household hints are discovered by accident, and you have discovered a good one. Not only can the toothpaste clean the sink, but it also can shine the chrome. Be sure to use only non-gel toothpaste when cleaning.

DEAR HELOISE: I keep an old toothbrush with my vacuum. When vacuuming, I use the toothbrush to pull dirt and hair away from the baseboards to where the vacuum can reach it. This is much easier than repeatedly banging the vacuum base against the wall.

I also place the hose nozzle in the exhaust (it's an older vacuum) and blow out all the dust bunnies from under the furniture to where the vacuum can reach it. These simple hints make vacuuming much easier.

-- C.C. in New York

DEAR HELOISE: While making curtains for my great-grandson's room, I needed to cut a straight line. I used my dining-room table by opening it, as if to put in the extra leaf. The 1-inch opening provided the line I needed. It worked just like the ones they use at fabric centers.

-- Dorothy S. in Texas

DEAR HELOISE: Old credit cards make great scrapers for cooking pans when food gets stuck.

-- Carol N., 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

Style on 06/03/2014

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