Dear Heloise: I work in a school counselor's office and have made life unbearable for my co-workers. I microwaved popcorn and became distracted, only to discover that I had burned it. The smell is awful, and I can't get rid of the odor. Help! Jan W., Cypress, Texas
Well, Jan, let me school you on Burnt Popcorn 101, and rest assured that you are not alone -- this is one of the top 10 questions that come in.
Pungent odors from cooking or overcooking foods like cabbage, fish or even a recipe that contains curry can cause unpleasant smells, especially for people who share common areas like an office break room or even a dormitory. Here are a couple of cleaning ideas to try, but first, thoroughly clean the microwave of any crumbs and spills.
Citrus works wonderfully at eliminating odors and is recommended by many manufacturers for its deodorizing effects. Combine 1/2 cup of lemon juice and 1/2 cup of water in a microwave-safe container four-cups or larger. Microwave on high until the water boils and creates steam. The steam will help eliminate the lingering odor. You must leave the mixture cool completely before opening the microwave, about 15 to 20 minutes. Leave the door open for a while so air can circulate.
Baking soda is a great nonabrasive cleaner, and it deodorizes. Sprinkle some on a damp sponge and use it to scrub the interior surfaces of the microwave.
For more ways to use baking soda around the house, send for my six-page pamphlet Heloise's Baking Soda Hints and Recipes. Please send $4 and a self-addressed, stamped (60 cents), long envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001.
Picnic season is upon us, and it's time to pull out the cooler. Make sure it has been washed well and dried, sprinkle baking soda inside and close. When you need the cooler, rinse, and it's ready to use without any musty smell. Heloise
Dear Heloise: I wear high-heeled shoes and often slip on the tile floors in my building. I have been looking for treads to put on the bottom of my shoes and was shocked at the price. I decided to buy tread for bathtub floors and cut it to fit. You can buy it at most discount stores for a couple of dollars, and one package contains enough to fit quite a few pairs of shoes.
All the ladies at my work are doing this now for a lot less cost. Meredith Keyser, Ashburn, Va.
Dear Heloise: When I use an extension cord or appliance for the first time, I wrap a twist-tie around the cord about 6 inches from the plug. This way, it is easy to wrap up the cord and store neatly. D.C., Houston
XSend a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; fax to (210) HELOISE, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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