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Saturday, September 20, 2014, 12:58 a.m.
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Helpful Hints

By Heloise

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

DEAR HELOISE: I just moved into a house with hardwood floors and was wondering if you have any hints on how to care for them?

-- A Reader in Texas

DEAR READER: Hardwood floors are beautiful and can last a long time if maintained. Here is how to take care of them:

• Never push or slide furniture around. Pick it up and move it. Use furniture protectors under table legs, etc.

• Place rugs in high-traffic areas, like by doors, to minimize wear and tear.

• Be careful about the shoes that are worn on your floor. High heels and cleats can leave dents.

• Clean up spills immediately. Use a slightly dampened towel to wipe up spills, then go over the area with a dry towel.

• Use only the correct hardwood-floor care products on your floor. Others can damage.

If you have any other concerns, contact a manufacturer for suggestions.

DEAR HELOISE: My area rugs cannot be washed in my machine. I drape them over the clothesline, spray them with a hose-attachment cleaner and rinse well with the same applicator. They drip-dry and look like new. A broomstick hung on the clothesline with two shower-curtain hooks makes a great sag-proof drying rod.

-- Jane A.,

Beavercreek, Ohio

DEAR READER: What a great idea! Just make sure that the hose attachment is cleaned thoroughly before using and doesn't have any residue in it that might damage the rugs.

DEAR HELOISE: I have a beautiful brick fireplace in the living room, and I wanted to know the best way to clean it and brighten up the brick surface.

-- Judy C. in New Jersey

DEAR READER: Of course, this depends on how old, soiled and soot-covered the brick is. If barely soiled, try an art gum eraser from an art-supply store. Knead the eraser and press it on the soiled parts of the brick to remove the stains.

If the bricks are more soiled, grab a scrub brush and some cheap, white vinegar. Clean small areas at a time, and be prepared to have to scrub more than once. Use old towels or paper towels to wipe up the dirt and soot that come off the brick. Try using a vegetable brush to get into the smaller nooks and crannies, wiping up as you go along.

DEAR HELOISE: If you have trouble finding an on-off switch in the dark or reading print on black electronics, attach a small piece of self-sticking fabric tape so you can easily feel it. Great for alarm clocks, etc.

-- Laura in

Punta Gorda, Fla.

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

Heloise@Heloise.com

Weekend on 05/15/2014

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