Clean sweaters less often to save wear and tear

King Features Syndicate Dec. 10, 2005 12:00 AM

Dear Readers: You don't need to wash sweaters after every wearing. In fact, they'll look better and last longer if you clean them only when they are really dirty. Here are cleaning hints:

Check the labels. If the sweater is not made of rayon or silk, chances are, the sweater can be hand-washed. Use a mild soap and cold water.

After rinsing, roll the sweater in a towel and gently push on it to squeeze out the excess water, and then lay the sweater flat to dry. Don't wring it out or hang it up - these methods will stretch a sweater out of shape.

Mohair- or angora-fiber sweaters can be popped in the freezer while still damp for 20 minutes or so to restore their fluffiness. No matter what the fiber, do not iron the sweater, if possible. If you must, try using a steam iron on the reverse side to steam out wrinkles.

Dear Heloise: We have limited space in our home. When I start to sort clothes for a cruise or trip, I utilize our spare bathroom by putting an extra shower-curtain rod across the tub area, and I hang all of the clothes there. It is easy to see what is hanging there.

- Jeanne Rogozenski, via e-mail

Dear Heloise: I purchased a set of vertical blinds, and the slats were fabric-looking vinyl. My daughter installed the hardware, and when she put the slats into the holders, the slats clung together from static. She asked me for a fabric-softener dryer sheet and ran it down the front and up the back of each slat - no more static cling. The vertical blinds now hang properly.

- Colleen Wheeler, Indianapolis

Dear Heloise: I have arthritis in my neck and need a brace when leaning back to take a nap in the recliner. My head was always "falling off" to one side, so I devised an effective and inexpensive brace.

I took a cotton tube sock, filled it with dried lentils, secured the open end, and now can rest quite well, with no more "broken neck."

Popcorn kernels, dried beans, etc., would do just as well, and one can adjust the firmness by using more or less filler.

- A reader in Lubbock, Texas

Dear Heloise: I've discovered that scrubbing hard vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots, with a nylon-net scrubber before cooking works better than scraping them with a knife or peeler. The scrubber removes less of the peel and leaves more nutrients.

- P.C., in South Carolina

Dear Heloise: To protect porcelain sinks from scratches and dishes from breakage, I use a waffle-weave shelf liner. It comes in a roll and can be cut to the size of your sink.

Also, you can cut out a section to provide easy access to the drain.

- Irene, from Texas

Dear Heloise: When I clean my automatic-drip coffeepot with vinegar, I save the vinegar and rinse water and pour them into my outdoor city trash container to help eliminate odor. I let the liquid sit a while and then turn over the container to pour the liquid out.

- Joyce McCasland, Little Rock

Dear Heloise: When I rinse grapes, cherry tomatoes, etc., I use a plastic container with holes in it that other fruit came in, and I don't have to pull out the colander.

- K.M., in San Antonio

Send a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279. Or fax your question to 1-(210)-HELOISE (435-6473).

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