Helpful Hints

DEAR HELOISE: I'd like to know how to get rust off a cast-iron skillet, and how to season it.

-- Ruth R., Winchester, Va.

DEAR READER: To remove rust, a steel-wool pad is your answer. Buff off the rust spots, wash with soap and water, rinse and dry completely.

Seasoning is a several-step process. When the skillet is totally dry, wipe a light coating of shortening or light cooking oil on the entire inside of the skillet, including the lid. (Aerosol-spray oil shouldn't be used, due to chemicals in the propellant.)

Then place the skillet in the oven upside down on a baking sheet that has been wrapped in foil. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Then let the skillet cool in the oven.

After preparing foods in your cast-iron skillet, let it cool and use a nylon scrubber, rinse thoroughly and dry. Don't soak or let water stand in your cast iron.

DEAR HELOISE: Why does aluminum foil have a shiny side and a dull side? Is there a difference?

-- Amy R., Allison Park, Pa.

DEAR READER: There is no difference between the sides. One side is shiny because it comes in contact with metal rollers in the manufacturing process, which "polishes" that side.

You may find nonstick aluminum foil on the market. The nonstick side should touch the food.

DEAR READERS: Getting away for a quick trip? Pack these items in your carry-on for the airplane, or to easily grab in the car:

• Medications and toiletry items

• Book, e-reader or newspaper

• Blanket

• Snacks and water

• Travel paperwork

• Cellphone and all chargers

DEAR HELOISE: I work in retail, in the fitting room area. This is a heads-up for my fellow retail warriors. I had a customer, wearing long basketball shorts, step into the fitting room with an identical pair of shorts, brand new, from the sales floor.

Only after he left did I realize he had tried on the new pair, kept them on and hung up his old shorts on the hanger to be returned to me!

My hint is: Never confront somebody afterward, but be proactive and let the customer know you're aware of him and the merchandise.

-- Holly P. in Texas

Send a money- or time-saving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000; fax to (210) 435-6473; or email


Weekend on 10/12/2017

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