The proper way to clean hair combs and brushes

Dear Heloise: What is the proper way to clean hair combs and brushes? — Katherine in Houston

Katherine, it’s pretty easy! Comb the brushes thoroughly to remove loose hairs, then soak the brushes and combs in a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of shampoo per cup of water. Let them soak for 30 to 60 minutes, then rinse well in hot water.

Baking soda is a workhorse around the house. Cheap, safe and readily available, I’ve used it for my entire career in household management! Would you like to know my other favorite hints for cleaning and baking with baking soda? It’s easy — I’ve compiled them into a handy pamphlet. To order, visit www.Heloise.com, or send a stamped (71 cents), long, self-addressed envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Don’t soak wooden brushes; scrub them with a nailbrush. — Heloise

Dear Readers: You’ve heard of curds and whey from the nursery rhyme, but do you know what curds and whey are?

Basically, when milk turns solid (usually done on purpose to make cheese, or by spoilage), its proteins separate into curds (solid, also called casein) and whey (liquid).

There’s lots of information on this subject, but now you know the rhyme and reason! — Heloise

Dear Heloise: Thought you might like a hint I got from my mom. We always had lots of fresh tomatoes. Mom said that to get the peel off easily, just use the dull side of a paring knife and press it against the skin as if peeling.

Do this all over the tomato, which causes the skin to loosen and then it peels right off. — Janice L., Bella Vista, Ark.

Dear Heloise: I needed to clean and hull lots of strawberries for shortcake for a group. I grabbed my melon baller and used the small end. One quick swipe for each berry and the top was gone. Voila – much faster and safer than a knife. — Carol K., Omro, Wis.

Dear Heloise: When I’m invited to someone’s house, I like to take pretty napkins and paper plates as a token of thanks or as a housewarming gift. — Sara, via email

So thoughtful! Readers, what are your favorite small gifts to give or to receive? We are coming upon gift-giving season! — Heloise

Dear Heloise: To put lotion on parts of my body I can’t reach, I use a silicone spatula that is flat on both sides, with a long handle.

It’s especially great for my back, but also for use on my feet and legs. It will not be absorbed as well as when you use your hands, so I wait a few minutes before putting on clothes. — Glenna in Middletown, Ohio