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DEAR HELOISE: I have some wicker furniture. It is dirty, and I was wondering what is the best way to clean it.

-- Cheryl, via email

DEAR READER: If it's indoor furniture, then all you need to do is pull out your vacuum and use the brush/upholstery attachment. Also, take the furniture outside if you can, and turn it upside down to really shake loose some of the dust. If it needs a deeper clean, mix 2 pints of cool water and 1 tablespoon of salt, and apply to the wicker using a damp sponge or microfiber cloth. Don't overwet; just wipe. After the solution has dried, scrub with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse with clean water on a clean cloth and let dry.

This should get your wicker clean. Once clean, dust or vacuum the piece often to keep dirt and dust from accumulating.

DEAR HELOISE: A friend has an elderly mother who can no longer safely drive. Losing her car was very traumatic for this involved and active lady. So as not to stifle her mother's interests and assure safe transportation, the daughter contracted with a local taxi company to take her to the places she needs or desires to go. The daughter and the cab company agreed on a set amount of money, and the company agreed to use the same three drivers so she would recognize them. A win-win for all.

-- C.B.,

Huntington Beach, Calif.

DEAR READER: A win-win hint for sure. Yea for both parties -- they worked it out!

DEAR HELOISE: A couple of our bathroom faucets started letting out noticeably less water when we turned them on. My husband took out the aerator screens and showed me all the sediment on them. To get the sediment off, he soaked them in vinegar for a couple of hours, and the faucets were like new.

-- Tina W. in Texas

DEAR READER: Aerators can get clogged, especially if you have hard water, as we do here in San Antonio. Many times, just rinsing them under water will remove the dirt and sediment. However, for stubborn gunk, my beloved vinegar is just the answer. Just be sure not to soak any stainless-steel parts, or they can end up pitted.

Vinegar has so many uses. Add 1 cup of apple-cider vinegar to bath water. Makes your skin (and tub) squeaky clean.

DEAR HELOISE: I line my shelves with self-sticking shelf liner, but I have a hard time getting it to stick without air bubbles. I developed a new method. I remove the backing only from the edges, and I leave the center. Then when I place it on the shelf, only the edges stick.

-- Carol in Florida

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 on 07/24/2014

Print Headline: Helpful Hints

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