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Stronger vinegar works best for cleaning

Complete address

DEAR HELOISE: I wish manufacturers of products would list their complete address on the label so consumers like me could write it down. Most of them list only their town and state. My mail is always returned. — Catherine B. in West Virginia

DEAR CATHERINE: You can call the library reference desk for an address and phone number for a product, or check online. Most of the products I checked had the full address. — Heloise

Vinegar strength

DEAR HELOISE: I wonder how many people are aware that vinegar at the grocery store comes in two strengths – 5 percent and 9 percent. While most cooks use 5 percent, for cleaning the 9 percent can do a better job. I buy the 9 percent by the gallon and use it anywhere lime deposits build up, as well as for general cleaning. After it has been used for something like buildup in a glass, I pour it into the bowl of the commode. It helps keep deposits from building up in the bottom of the bowl. – Rosalie, Uvalde, Texas

DEAR ROSALIE: You are right. Both strengths are carried by a large grocery store in our area, but many parts of the country have only the 5 percent. The higher strength is a little more expensive. — Heloise

Dogs are foiled

DEAR HELOISE: I have two large and very hairy couch potatoes — my dogs, not my kids. We recently had the couches re-covered and wanted to break their habit. I laid down heavy-duty tinfoil across the couches when not in use. It did the trick, and no need for us to get involved in correcting. — A reader, via e-mail

DEAR READER: This also works to keep kitty off the furniture. – Heloise

Pesky webs

DEAR HELOISE: I used to have difficulty getting webs down from my 14-foot-high ceilings. I came up with an easy, efficient way to get them down.

They make a long (8-foot), thin-walled plastic tube that is used to protect 8-foot fluorescent light bulbs during transport. I put one of these on the end of my vacuum-cleaner hose and vacuum the webs and spiders down. The tubes are ultralight and easy to maneuver up to the highest corners. The tubes are sold at many hardware stores. — Ray, via e-mail

Caramel-corn packing

DEAR HELOISE: My mother-in-law sends my family care packages or gifts once in a while, and she packs it along with sandwich-size bags of caramel corn. My kids love her homemade caramel corn, so she uses it as packing material. It is a great way to send a gift, surrounded by an edible gift. The item arrives intact and surrounded by a wonderful treat. — Brenda in Washington

Cats versus flowers

DEAR HELOISE: For those who are having problems with cats in their flowerpots and gardens, I tried this last year to see if it really works, and it did. It kept the cats out. Spread a layer of red mulch on top of the dirt. This spring, I cleaned out the beds and replaced the red mulch again, and have had no more problems. — Betty, via e-mail

Fast facts

DEAR READERS: Don’t toss those empty yogurt cups. Here are some reuse ideas:

n On-the-go drinking cup for the car.

n Toothpick holder.

n Cover with pretty paper and use as a vase for a single small flower.

n Spare-change receptacle.

— 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 e-mail, Heloise@Heloise.com.

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