Dear Readers: Dryer fires? They are a real possibility. Here are some hints to help avoid a fire:

Hints from Heloise sig

Inspect the outside exhaust vent two to three times per year. Lint and debris can build up in there. The cover should open and close freely. The exhaust vent might be on the roof.

Clean the duct going from the dryer to the wall with a vacuum or lint brush once a month.

Run the dryer only when you are at home and awake.

• Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning company might offer a professional inspection once a year for a fee. Look into it.

— Heloise

Shoe tip from NH

DEAR HELOISE: Whenever I prepare for my return trip home, I always wipe down the soles of all my shoes with disposable antibacterial wipes before placing them in a plastic bag and packing them back in my suitcase.

This prevents any dirt and germs from getting on my other items.

— Debbie, New Hampshire

Tossing salad

DEAR HELOISE: I don’t use salad tongs to toss salad, only to serve it. The tongs can be rough and can tear the lettuce leaves. I toss the salad with my hands.

— Minnie R., Texas

Sent hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001 or email