Dear Heloise: I bought new white bath towels. The care instructions say do not use chlorine bleach. I have always used chlorine bleach in white laundry loads. Why should not it be recommended? Is another type of bleach available?
A.J.S., Long Beach, California
A.J.S.: It seems strange, eh? Today's fabrics (including towels) contain brighteners that chlorine can break down. Here is my tested correction:
Create a solution of equal parts, such as 1 cup of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, sodium bicarbonate and water. Fill the washing machine with water and add this formula. Swish it around, then place the towels in the washing machine. Leave them to soak for six hours or overnight, then wash them as usual.
Sodium bicarbonate is in my arsenal of cleaning samples. It's cheap, safe and readily available, and I've been using it for over 40 years! At that time, I compiled a collection of my favorite baking tips and recipes of baking soda in a handy booklet. Would you like to receive one? It's easy! Visit Heloise.com to order or send a long stamped envelope (71 cents), self-defined, along with $ 5, to: Heloise / Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. Sometimes it is difficult to completely remove strong smells from clothes. Try this: add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle. Do not overload the washing machine; the clothes must move. You will immediately awaken those bad smells.
Dear readers: We would like to print your son or nephew's letter to Santa! And then, of course, we will forward all the letters to the big one. Give your children inspiration to write down what they would like to have for Christmas.
Post scriptum Include the name and the age of each child, please!
Dear Heloise: Where is boric acid? I asked my pharmacist, and he does not know.
Russ, by e-mail
Russ: Boric acid is available from big-box retailers and large online merchants.
It is used as an insecticide, to produce glass fibers and medically as an antiseptic, to treat acne and also to help prevent athlete's foot! Always read and follow the directions on the package.
Dear readers: Are you trying to increase levels of vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, potassium and fiber? Look at the lettuce, but only the dark green varieties.
The iceberg lettuce has practically no nutritional value and almost no flavor. Its only advantage is water.
Dear Heloise: I bought shoes, and they needed to enter. My caretaker said to put borlotti beans in bags with a little water and then put the bags in his shoes overnight. When the beans swell, they stretch your shoes. It worked.
Linda H., by e-mail
Dear Heloise: A friend from outside the city needed some relevant information from me, and it was too late to send a letter. I typed in the information, I took a picture and I sent it to my friend via a text message. It worked!
Tony D. in San Antonio
The Heloise column appears six days a week at washingtonpost.com/advice. Send a suggestion to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to Heloise@Heloise.com.