Dear Readers: Today's Sound off is about the apparel young women wear on television:

"Dear Heloise: I have a comment and a question. Why is there not enough budget money for the news and weather women to have clothing that would cover their knees?" -- Anonymous in San Antonio

Dear Anonymous: Many young women keep up with the fashion trends (just like their mothers and grandmothers did), and the current trend for young women is short skirts. Their mothers wore the miniskirt in the '60s, and during World War II, when cloth was rationed, women raised their hemlines. In the '20s, women who wore short dresses and rolled down their stockings were considered very daring. Fashions come and go, and no doubt hemlines will drop again. -- Heloise

Fast facts

Dear Readers: Protect yourself from telemarketing fraud with some of these hints:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it more than likely isn't true. It's OK to be skeptical!
  • Never, ever give out banking information, your Social Security number, passwords or any other personal information. Telemarketers have no right to ask those types of questions.
  • Use caution when a company won't give you its name, address or references.
  • Do not be pressured into making a decision immediately, no matter what they tell you. -- Heloise

Reusable, recycled

Dear Heloise: I always either recycle or reuse plastic containers. I save them for a number of uses, such as a container for small gift items (jewelry, watches, belts, scarves, etc.). For example, I'll take a container that held strawberries, put some shredded paper on the bottom and put the little gift on top, then put a ribbon around it. I used a tub that held a whipped topping by painting it gold and decorating it for Christmas, then placed home-baked cookies inside. -- Kaycee D., Chelsea, Massachusetts.

Kaycee, what a great hint! It's an inexpensive gift-giving idea and environmentally friendly. Readers, do you have more suggestions for empty plastic containers that you'd like to share? -- Heloise

Help on the way

Dear Heloise: Help! I just got lipstick on my husband's favorite Egyptian cotton shirt. How do I get it out without ruining his shirt? -- Carla Y., Manchester, New Hampshire

Carla, immediately place the stained area over an absorbent towel and saturate with rubbing alcohol (test hidden area of fabric for colorfastness). Then rub the area with a cloth dipped in rubbing alcohol. You also may have good results with a prewash spray. Rinse and launder as usual. This and many more stain-removing ideas are in my Handy Stain Guide for Clothing pamphlet. Just go to, or you can send a stamped (70 cents), self-addressed, long envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Stain, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio TX 78279-5001. There's no need to throw away good clothing because of a stain that can easily be removed with a few simple cleaning instructions. -- Heloise

Check the picture!

Dear Heloise: I see that I can deposit a check by taking a picture of it. What can you tell me about this? -- Karen D. in Kentucky

Karen, this is called "remote deposit capture" or "RDC." The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. says this is a safe way to deposit a check. Here is how it works:

You need to download your bank's or credit union's mobile banking app on your phone or tablet computer. When you have a check to deposit, sign the back of the check (endorse it). The app will prompt you to take a picture of the check, front and back.

Then you will choose which account to deposit the funds into, and enter the dollar amount of the check. The app will let you know right away that the transaction was successful.

Here are some hints:

  • Make sure the entire check is photographed, centered and in focus.
  • Your cellphone provider may charge you a data fee -- inquire about that; the financial institution typically does not charge for this service.
  • Keep the original check until you are sure there are no problems with the deposit.
  • This is a timesaver, so check with your bank about this service. -- Heloise

Paintin' place

Dear Heloise: When tackling the chore of cleaning or even painting kitchen cabinets, it often is difficult to see the underside of the cabinets I'm working on, and the constant bending of my neck and back made the job slow and hard.

I found that by positioning a mirror on the counter below where I'm working, I didn't have to bend constantly to look to see if I'd gotten it all, or had missed any spots. -- Phyllis F., Rootstown, Ohio

Dorm norm

Dear Readers: Here are some quickie hints for dorm-life decorating:

  • The dorm mattresses may be extra long. Look for extra-long sheets.
  • Bring cleaning supplies. The dorm office may not provide these, or it might have just brooms and vacuums.
  • Bring pictures of family and friends to warm the space.
  • Coordinate with your roommate, if you have one, on colors. -- Heloise

Hangin' around

Dear Heloise: I wrap a rubber band around each end of a hanger. This prevents blouses and T-shirts from slipping off the hanger and ending up on the floor in the closet! -- Barbara H. in Arizona

Ancient library?

Dear Heloise: Today, everything is at our fingertips. Got a question? Look up the answer on the internet on your phone.

The thrill of the pursuit of information seemingly is over. I loved going to the library, flipping through the paper catalog and going on a treasure hunt for the book I wanted up in "the stacks" (the book storage area).

Just curious -- what do your readers think of this? Is the library becoming a dinosaur? -- Rick D. in Pennsylvania

Shoes in the house?

Dear Readers: Wearing shoes in the house? Maybe you shouldn't. Here are some reasons:

  • Shoes you wear out of the house can get really dirty! They may pick up germs and dirt from streets, office buildings, elevators or public restrooms.
  • Hardwood floors can be damaged from high heels!
  • Feet need to "rest" and relax -- you know, when you take off work shoes, heels or boots and say, "ahhhhhhhhh!"

Consider your lifestyle: Your feet should be happy and healthy, and if so, you will feel better. Barefoot gal in Texas! -- Heloise

Fresh fruit in tea

Dear Heloise: I've discovered a delicious way to infuse fruit flavors into my iced tea. I skewer blueberries, strawberries or raspberries (sometimes all of them) and set them in the teapot when I brew tea for my iced tea. This adds a little bit of flavor. -- M.M. in Texas

Well, as a Southern gal who drinks of lot of "home-brewed" iced and hot tea, I love this! I take a peek in the refrigerator to see what fresh fruit is there. I'll rinse and cut up strawberries, blackberries, peaches and even apples to drop into the teapot. This makes delicious tea for a cup of hot tea or a glass of iced tea! I brew it strong, so when poured into a glass filled with ice, the tea still has that wonderful quenching effect.

If you would like to learn a little more about tea and coffee, I put together a pamphlet filled with my favorite tea and coffee hints. Visit to order it, or send a long, stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope, along with $3, to: Heloise/Coffee and Teas, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio TX 78279-5001. A quick way to "spice up" a pot of hot tea? Hard candies like peppermint, butterscotch or peach. -- Heloise

Shower power

Dear Readers: If you or a family member uses a shower seat, the plastic seat can be slippery when wet.

Cover the seat with shelf liner. Some, you will find, have a "nubbly" texture that is nonslip. This will give a more comfortable and safer place to sit. -- Heloise 

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Kitchen clutter

Dear Readers: Does your silverware tray slide around in the drawer? Take paper towel cores and slip them behind the tray. This should keep the tray snug in the drawer. -- Heloise

Removing fingerprints

Dear Heloise: I use the last slice of white bread on my walls. I mash it into a ball, then sort of mush it into a smudge or fingerprint to remove it. -- Dannie T., Dayton, Ohio

Head to the mall?

Dear Heloise: I'm wondering how your readers feel about shopping malls? When I was a kid, I loved spending time at the mall with my friends; some malls had carousels, ice-skating rinks and movie theaters, and they all had wonderful food courts with delicious choices of eats. But now so many malls are going out of business.

In San Antonio, we still have malls that are doing well, but off-price stores and shopping online are gaining in popularity.

Will your readers always go to the mall? Do you like the energy there? The service? The people? It was convenient to have all the big stores under one roof, and years ago, I used to walk in the mall for exercise. That was fun.

The salespeople in the kiosks outside of the stores can be pretty pushy, but I've learned to just say, "No, thank you."

Is the shopping mall becoming a thing of the past? Hopefully not! -- Jana B., Helotes, Texas

Readers, what do you say about the shopping mall? I've done many book signings in many malls over the years -- a great place to come together! -- Heloise

Save it for later

Dear Heloise: I read your column (regularly). I want to keep some of your hints to reference later.

To hold your column until I'm ready to "laminate" (with tape) the front side, I lay the back side of the newspaper column against the sticky side of leakproof sealing wrap. Then I cover the front side of the article with the clear packaging tape.

Now I can cut it out and tape it to the fridge, microwave, a mirror, a notebook or wherever I want, and it is protected from splashes. -- Jackie in Santa Ana

Hint from him

Dear Heloise: There's no need to slice yourself instead of your bagel. Lay the bagel flat, cut first downward so that you have two semicircles. Then stand each half-bagel on its flat cut and slice downward again.

Four perfect quarter-bagels that still fit in the toaster just fine. If you then insist on having circles again, just spackle the pieces together with a little extra cream cheese! -- Neil S., Falls Church, Virginia

Trunk cleanup

Dear Readers: Take an hour to clean out the trunk of your car. Sort and donate things you don't use, and find a place in the house for things you do use. Carrying less cargo may improve your gas mileage!

Next, sprinkle some baking soda in the trunk to deodorize. Let it sit for an hour or overnight, and then vacuum thoroughly.

The baking soda will absorb any bad odors, and is a multiuse workhorse around the house, outside and in your auto. It is cheap and safe. If you would like a collection of my favorite money-saving baking soda hints, visit to order, or send a large, stamped (70 cents), self-addressed envelope, along with $5, to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio TX 78279-5001. To freshen a drain, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda mixed with 1/4 cup of salt into the drain, and then add 1/2 cup of vinegar. The mixture will bubble! Let it sit for 30 minutes, and flush with lots of water. -- Heloise

Send a great hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio TX 78279-5000; fax: 1-210-HELOISE; email: