Down pillows get washed up

DEAR READERS: Many people wonder whether DOWN PILLOWS can be machine-washed. The answer? Yes, but you want to use a gentle cycle, warm water and a mild detergent. Here are some helpful hints for cleaning fluffy pillows:

• Check the ticking to be sure it is strong and the seams are firmly sewn ... otherwise you'll end up with a washer full of feathers!

• Wash only two pillows at a time.

• Fill the washer with water and gentle detergent FIRST, then submerge the pillows and wash for four to eight minutes. Rinse in warm water two or three times to remove all detergent.

• Dry on low heat. If your pillows are all down, that could take several hours. It's better to use low heat for a longer time than high heat for a shorter period.


• You also can give just the pillow cover a sponge wash with a gentle detergent and water.

• Or, if you choose to have them dry-cleaned, be sure to air them out for a while before using them.

— Heloise

DEAR HELOISE: Plastic toothpaste tubes won't stay permanently coiled. You have to squeeze the paste from a partially empty tube onto the toothbrush.

The solution is to coil the tube and apply a paper binder clip to keep it coiled. As the tube gets depleted, I simply add coils and reinstall the clip.

— M.S. in Kentucky

DEAR HELOISE: When my kids were young, I happened to be making meatloaf on Valentine's Day. I bake it in a glass pie plate, and while shaping it that day, I decided to make it into a heart shape. I always put ketchup on the top of my meatloaf, so that day it looked like a large valentine. The kids loved it so much that I began a new family tradition with them. To this day, they ask if I'm making a meatloaf valentine for my husband. — Deb, Hobart, Ind.

DEAR HELOISE: The walk-out basement of my house has a double window facing the backyard and another facing the neighbors. I discovered a great way to "frost" the window panes facing the neighbors -- air-filled packaging material cut to fit each glass pane and attached by two-sided tape in the corners. The windows were then fancied up with curtains made from dish towels simply by spacing button holes large enough for a rod to fit through. — R.L., Danville, Ky.


Sounds good. However, we tested this, and you can still see through it (we used large-size "bubbles") somewhat. From a distance, it does distort the image a bit. — Heloise

DEAR HELOISE: For a great shave for men or women, rather than use a shaving cream or gel, substitute a hand or body lotion or hair conditioner. — Ralph in Louisiana

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