Dear Heloise: We have a cedar chest that we purchased at a yard sale. The previous owners must have used mothballs inside it, and now we cannot get the horrid scent out of the wood.
I've tried washing it, sanding it, using baking soda and air freshener -- we even set it outside for an afternoon with the lid open to air out. Is there something else we can try, or are we stuck with the scent of mothballs? Kathrin Steinbauer, via e-mail.
It seems like you have tried most of the usual hints! Since you've used baking soda with no results, try it again, but use it along with newspaper. Newspaper is also an odor-absorber, so by filling the chest with the paper and baking soda and closing the lid, the mothball smell should transfer to the paper. Once that happens, remove it and add more fresh paper until the smell is gone.
Now, another hint: Dampen a sponge in a solution of equal parts white vinegar and rubbing alcohol, and apply it to the entire inside of the chest. After a few days with the lid closed, the odor should dissipate. Good luck! Heloise
Dear Heloise: A way to travel light, yet not look like you stepped out of a suitcase, is to carry along a small, empty spray bottle. At night, hang the clothes that you plan to wear the next day on hangers. Fill the bottle with a little water and lightly spray only the wrinkles. Next day, the clothes are dry, and the wrinkles are gone. Kay Beall, Trussville, Ala.
Kay, this is an easy way to "lose the iron." Just be sure the clothes are not dry-clean-only. Heloise
Dear Heloise: My family tries to be ecologically friendly, so we never liked wrapping presents in gift paper because it is wasteful. My mother discovered a great solution: She bought fabric from scrap bins at fabric stores and quickly sewed simple gift bags of different sizes!
Now, wrapping is quick -- we just tie a ribbon around the mouth of the bag to close it. People love getting these lovely bags because they are reusable and pretty. The cloth bags are a gift in themselves. Jess Schoenleber, Roseville, Minn.
Dear Heloise: When I throw away appliances of any size, I save parts. For 20 years I have turned the light in my oven off and on with a radio knob. It has lasted much longer than the first three from the manufacturer.
My friend's rabbit-guard gate to her garden is made of my old refrigerator shelves, and the veggie bins store things in the shed. An old grill grate is laid outside in places where I don't want the dog to dig. Marlene W., Omaha, Neb.
Dear Heloise: Here's a hint for those who still hang clothes on a clothesline: Wear an apron with pockets to hold your clothespins. So handy! A waitress apron with slanted pockets works the best. Marylou Schifer, Bucyrus
King Features Syndicate