Dear Heloise: We just bought laminated floors for our home, but the guys who installed them didn't leave any instructions on how to care for them. What are the do's and don'ts of laminated floors? -- June W., Gadsden, Alabama
June, here are some hints to care for your new floor:
1. Remember that the number one enemy of any floor is dirt. Those tiny grains of dirt or sand will eventually wear down the finish on your floor, so vacuum your floors frequently. Use a dust pad with a disposable pad.
2. Be sure to have doormats inside and outside at each place of entry. It'll help keep some of the dirt off of your floors.
3. Area rugs should be large enough to protect high traffic areas.
4. Clean with a damp mop. Never get your floors soaked with water. If you have some kind of spill, be sure to mop it up immediately. Your mop should be damp, not dripping with water.
5. Never use any thing that could scratch the surface such as steel wool, sandpaper or even the rough side of a sponge. -- Heloise
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OLD COFFEE CANS
Dear Heloise: My husband is a pack rat! He saves old coffee cans with the excuse that they'll come in handy someday, but that "someday" never seems to materialize. What can I do with these old coffee cans to make them useful? -- Catherine H., Dawson, Georgia
There are some useful things you can use them for, such as:
-- Use them to store extra grass seed or fertilizer.
-- Use them to carry a small amount of potting soil.
-- Store leftover paint or small paint bottles from craft projects in them.
-- Cut a slit in the top of a can and use it to hold loose change.
-- Use a can to store small items, such as clothespins, small children's toys or dog leashes.
-- Use what you can and place the rest of them in the recycle bin. -- Heloise
CELL PHONE SAFETY
Dear Heloise: I like to go for walks after the sun goes down, because it cools off at that time here and our weather has been so terribly hot this year. I always take my cell phone, just in case someone calls. A couple of weeks ago, while I was walking around 8:30 p.m., I noticed a car seemed to be following me. I got scared and took out my cell phone and called my son who lives in the same town as I do. He quickly hopped into his car and drove to find me. As soon as he appeared, the other car stopped, and my son told me to get in.
I took down the license plate number and make of the car, and then called the police as soon as my son drove me home.
Turns out, the driver was on parole for stalking a woman and forcing her into his car. The lesson here is to be safe. Go walking with two or three friends, and carry mace and a whistle. A class in self-defense doesn't hurt, either. My son bought me a year's membership to a gym, but I miss those quiet walks. -- Toni D., Middlesboro, Kentucky