Going to Heloise and back


Ann Kuehn - Contributing columnist



This morning I arose, made the bed, dressed, and ironed the carpet.

Why iron the carpet? Because last night, I spied a pillar candle down to its last sputter.

Instead of picking up the candle and holder, I picked up just the candle and watched the bottom collapse, streaming hot wax down onto the carpet.

Thank goodness for “Hints from Heloise.” The woman should be canonized, profiled on Mt. Rushmore and/or win the Nobel Peace Prize for calming mothers ready to ax the child who has sprayed ketchup on the curtains.

My “Heloise” hints are enshrined in a folder next to “The Joy of Cooking.”

How to …

• Remove wax: place damp cloth on the affected area and press with a hot iron. (Since the iron is now out, I can tackle the stack of cotton table napkins which have accumulated over the past 16 months).

• Teach a woman to engage in a love affair with the laundry: Get the right tools—horsehair brushes and a good stain kit (bottle of vinegar and water for stains; spray bottle of vodka for odor (or forget the spray and drink the vodka); oxygen b• Clean a burnt pan (always pertinent): place 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar in the pan. Add 3 Tbsp baking soda, then jump back when it fizzles over. When fizzing stops, add hot water, dish detergent, and SCRUB.

• Clean the microwave: Place 2 cups of water and 2 Tbsp of vinegar in a bowl. Place a toothpick on the top so it does not boil over. (Trust me, remember the toothpick). Microwave on high for 5 minutes and allow to steam for a few minutes more. Dislodge crusted food splatters. Wipe clean.

• Glassware/hard water blues: Put 2 cups of white vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher. Run a regular cycle. Glasses will turn out crystal clear, as will the dishwasher. I am a fussy cleaner. Along with the above advice, I decided to disassemble the working parts of the dishwasher. Well, ICK! That cone thing in the bottom was stiff with soap scum. Once clean, it along with whatever else was on the floor, was a bear to reassemble. Note—have pad/pencil with which to draw a diagram/location of parts.

• Polish silver: Very, very high on my list of most hated things to do, but then I insist on putting the silver in the dishwasher. Place enough water in a large pan to cover items. Add 2 tsp of salt and 4 tsp of baking soda. Crumple balls of aluminum foil and add to pan. Bring water to a boil. Add silver and boil gently for several minutes. If the silver has tarnished to a dark black, this may take a little longer. Rinse the silver in soapy water, followed by a clear water rinse. Buff dry.

• Clean oven: Mix 1 cup baking soda with 1/3 cup water, forming a paste. Use a scrubber/dishrag coat on all interior oven surfaces. Let sit overnight. Meanwhile, remove oven racks and soak in warm water with dish detergent. The following day spray the surface with vinegar, using a non abrasive pad to gently scrub off the paste. OR, hit “oven self clean”. Hours later when the light goes off, open all windows and doors to air out the house.

• Fruit flies: put cider vinegar in a pint jar. Place a funnel. Leave a space between the bottom of the funnel and the liquid. Fruit flies, in order to get to the vinegar, will become trapped in the funnel. My fruit flies are a whole lot smarter, ending to hang around until the first hard frost.

• Prolong life of cut flowers. Add 2 Tbsp of white vinegar and 2 Tbsp of sugar to water, or a copper penny and an as[pirin. (Are copper pennies still circulating?) As a longtime member of the Wilmington Garden Club and a Master Gardener, in name only, I submit one up on Heloise—cut flowers will stay fresh longer if cut on a slant under running water. If you are anti pesticide—mix 2 cups of white vinegar, 2 Tbsp of salt and 1 Tbsp of dish soap to spray weeds.

• Clear a blocked drain: cut off and discard the top third of an old tennis ball. Place the open end over the drain. Block the overflow hole with a dam cloth and run a small amount of water into the base to create a seal with the edge of the ball. Using the palm of your hand, plunge down hard and fast. Call a plumber.

There is a thread of continuity among Heloise’s hints — vinegar.

Is she, perhaps, a Heinz?

Ann Kuehn resides at Ohio Living Cape May in Wilmington. She says, “I gravitated to Ohio at age 18 and never left” and moved to Sabina in 1987.

Ann Kuehn

Contributing columnist