Removing a ballpoint pen mark

Dear Heloise: I hope you can help me. How do you remove a ballpoint pen mark from a colored shirt? I have tried several things but have not been successful. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much. I read your column every day in the paper and appreciate all your excellent help. You have super suggestions. — Betty De Witz, via email

Dear Betty, this is a common problem. For dried stains, gently rub isopropyl alcohol until the stain comes out. But do not apply this to highly colored material.

For spot removing, sponge the area around the stain with a commercial dry-cleaning fluid. Then place the stain face down on several layers of clean paper towels. Apply the dry-cleaning fluid to the back of the stain. Rinse with water and launder as usual. — Heloise


Dear Readers: I get many letters about this common household problem. The refrigerator is one of the most used appliances in our homes. We go to it daily and keep it well stocked with our favorite foods. And we often shove containers to the back of the fridge when we put newer items inside. When it stinks or is crammed too full, it’s time to clean it out.

Toss out old items. Always put leftovers in zip-top bags or sealed containers. And label them with dates. Wipe down shelves with soapy water to remove spills. And finally, wipe the walls with white vinegar. To control smells, pour baking soda into one or two plastic margarine tubs, poke holes in the lid and place inside the refrigerator. Replace every three months.

Baking soda is indispensable around the home. For more helpful hints about baking soda, order my six-page Heloise’s Baking Soda Hints and Recipes pamphlet by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (75 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5001. FYI: If the trunk of your car smells, sprinkle baking soda over the carpeting. Let remain on for several days and then vacuum. — Heloise


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