Dear Readers: I have gotten several letters asking how to get red wine stains out of light colored carpet. When you are having a gathering, a lively and good time with friends and family, this just seems to happen. And we know it's not the end of the world! Here's what to do:

Get to the stain quickly. The sooner you do, the better result you will have. Blot up all of the liquid you can. Then apply a mixture of one part mild liquid detergent to 20 parts water. Blot with a microfiber cloth until there's no color left on the carpet. Last, finish with a mix of half white vinegar and half water for a final blot.

Vinegar is must-have in every home! It is so versatile; it can be used for cleaning, deodorizing and cooking. I've put together a six-page pamphlet full of vinegar uses that you can have by visiting www.Heloise.com or by sending $5 and a long, self-addressed, stamped (75 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Vinegar, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001.

FYI: To freshen your toilet bowl, pour in full-strength vinegar. Leave in for five minutes, scrub and then flush. — Heloise

Dryer safety

Dear Heloise: In a column, someone wrote in about dyer lint and to carefully clean lint buildup regularly. You said never to leave your dryer running when you are not at home. Let me mention some other very important dryer precautions.

Never run your dryer when you go to bed. Make sure that it has cooled off before going to bed. A fire could start if the dryer is hot, even if it is not running. You surely don't want a fire while you are asleep. Also, make sure that the dryer is cooled off before leaving home. The same thing can happen. — Debbie in North Carolina

Debbie, thanks for this safety information. — Heloise

Hospital sleep hint

Dear Heloise: If you have a friend or relative or you yourself are going to spend a night or nights in the hospital, give them soft earplugs to use at night. We know that hearing is the last sense to leave the body, but it is the first sense to stimulate the mind. A good night's sleep is essential to good health — both mental and physical. There is no harm in trying them. Advice from a retired RN. — Joan Brown, Fairfax, Va.

Joan, hospitals are filled with lots of people and equipment, which can be noisy, so having earplugs will help you get some sleep. — Heloise

Making flowers last longer

Dear Heloise: Another tip to keep flowers fresh longer is to give the stem a fresh cut when you first get them, and then again every few days that they last. Dump the old water for fresh water at the same time. — Cary, via email

Sound off

Dear Heloise: I have had it! When I call a business, I have to navigate my way around the robotic voice, prompts and long waits. If I had the "correct" answers to the robotic voice, I would give it. When I request customer service, the annoying voice says, "... to get you to the right person ..."

I wish businesses would return to human beings answering the phone. First of all, people would be employed at a living wage; therefore, people would not need unemployment. The pandemic has hurt many people in this country, so it would be a win-win. — Frustrated Customer

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