No love for bedbugs

Dear Heloise: Is there an at-home remedy to get rid of BEDBUGS? — A Reader in Washington.

These nasty little creatures did seem to make it around the world several years ago, and many hotels had a problem. Most of that has been resolved, so be sure that you are talking about bedbugs and not fleas or ticks!

There really isn’t any home remedy to get rid of bedbugs. Over-the-counter pesticides and bug-removal products do not work, according to my research. Sorry to give you not-so-good news.

Extreme heat seems to be the only way to kill the little devils. So, wash and dry all of your bedding in the hottest water and highest drying temperature you can.

Call a professional if they are in other areas of the house. You cannot kill them yourself, and they multiply very rapidly. So, if they really are bedbugs, don’t waste time trying old-fashioned hints. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to rid your home of these hitchhiking bugs! — Heloise



P.O. Box 795000

San Antonio, TX 78279-5000

Fax: 1-210-HELOISE

Email: Heloise(at)

Travel hint

Dear Readers: One of the best hints I’ve learned as a “road warrior” is to never pack clothes you haven’t tried on or worn before — you might end up with something you cannot wear! And it’s too late to buy something new when standing in front of the mirror at 7 a.m. in a hotel! Try to wash and wear a new item at least once to make sure it’s comfortable. Walk, sit, stand, bend and see if the clothing will perform throughout the day. Happy travels! — Heloise

Homemade gift

Dear Heloise: After Christmas has passed, I take the Christmas cards I have received and make name tags. I trim around Santa, snowman, etc., and punch a hole. Next Christmas, I add ribbon and tie onto a gift. — Linda M. in Mississippi

What would Heloise do?

Dear Heloise: My wife and I often paint small items we are assembling. The items are hung from teacup hooks for painting, and the hooks accumulate a thick coat of paint over time.

We wanted to clean the hooks for further use. It looked like a hopeless project until we asked “What would Heloise do?” The answer, of course, was vinegar! We soaked the hooks overnight in vinegar, and the next morning easily wiped the paint off with a cloth. Heloise’s favorite fix works again! — Rodger and Trudy, Spokane, Wash.

I’m glad the vinegar worked. Here is another Heloise hint: Wrap the hooks with plastic wrap or foil to help prevent the problem in the first place. — Hugs, Heloise

Pencils and toothbrushes

Dear Heloise: I have two hints for you. Use a nail file or emery board to refresh the old erasers on your pencils.

Use old prescription pill bottles placed over toothbrushes standing in holders to keep your toothbrushes clean. — Carol S., Amarillo, Texas