Old wine rack repurposed as shoe rack

Dear Heloise: I was going to toss out an old 18-bottle wine rack. My husband took it to the garage and filled the rack with old golf shoes and tennis shoes. It’s nice to have all those shoes in a neat place and easy to locate. Guess wine racks can hold more than just wine! — Mary Anderson in Las Vegas


Dear Heloise: You had a recipe for a general cleaner that used alcohol, dish soap and water. I used it, and it worked like a dream. However, I can’t remember how much of each item you used. If you could help me, it would make a lot of us very happy. — Linda P., via email

Dear Linda: You must be talking about one of the Heloise homemade ammonia-based general cleaners. The ingredients for this all-purpose grease and grime cutter are:

½ cup household ammonia

½ cup rubbing alcohol

1 teaspoon dishwashing liquid

Mix these into 1 gallon of water. It’s safe to use on most surfaces, but do wear gloves and do not mix with chlorine bleach or anything containing bleach.

For a quick window cleaner, mix ¼ cup of ammonia with a gallon of water. Put in a spray bottle, label clearly and keep away from little hands. — Heloise


Dear Heloise: I read with interest the letter concerning hotel mirrors and lighting in the bathrooms. I discovered that mirrors with the light fixture above them cast shadows that the side-lighted mirrors do not have. Therefore, when doing some remodeling in my own home, both bathrooms have side lighting. — G.C., Lubbock, Texas

Dear G.C.: A makeup trick every actor and model knows — down lighting throws down shadows. Light up (or side), and you will look much better! — Heloise


Dear Heloise: My refrigerator has a water filter. It has to be replaced approximately every six months. After it is installed, I have to run 2½ gallons of water through the line. Is this water safe to water plants with? I hate just pouring it down the drain. — Shirley B., via email

Dear Shirley: Yes, you can use this water for plants, to rinse dishes or to wipe off countertops. There may be some little bits of gray stuff floating about, but don’t worry — these are just particles of the carbon from the filter that the water runs through. — Heloise

Hints from Heloise is syndicated by King Features Syndicate. Send great hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000; by fax, 210-HELOISE (435-6473); or by email,

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