DEAR HELOISE: Just wondering — what’s the difference between brass and bronze?

— Michael (age 14) in Indiana

Michael, interesting question! Both brass and bronze are alloys. An alloy is a combination of two metals, usually put together to make a stronger metal.

Hints from Heloise sig

Brass is a combination of copper and zinc. Bronze is a combination of copper and tin. Brass is softer, brighter in color (more golden, where bronze is more reddish-brown) and is more malleable (shapeable) than bronze.

Brass is used mostly for decoration; bronze is used more in manufacturing and shipbuilding because bronze can stand up well to saltwater. Which is more expensive? Typically bronze. Thanks for your letter!

— Heloise

Sneaker cleaner

Dear Readers: It’s time to be out and about in cute canvas sneakers, but they can get muddy this time of year. Here’s how to machine wash canvas sneakers:

Take out the insoles and use a mild detergent and cold water. Pretreating stains with a commercial pretreater is OK, but never use bleach or treatments that contain chlorine bleach. Set your washer to delicate and throw some old towels in the wash as well.

Don’t put canvas shoes in the dryer. It can get too hot. Instead, wad up a couple of paper towels and fill the toe box (the part of the shoe that covers the toes) to shape the shoes. Let them air-dry. Dry cleaning is not recommended.

— Heloise

Temperature and taste

DEAR HELOISE: There is a relationship between temperature and taste. Heat generally enhances taste. Cold pizza and hot pizza don’t taste the same.

If drinking beer for the intoxicating effect, it should be consumed ice cold. However, if it is consumed for taste, it should be at room temperature.

For ice cream, try this: Spoon ice cream into a cup and heat. Consume hot or warm as one might consume hot chocolate. You will be amazed at the improved taste.

— Dr. Robert P., via email

Stamen staining

DEAR HELOISE: I found an interesting hint in a historical novel I read set in the 1800s. The servants in a grand house went around cutting off the stamens from arrangements of daylilies so they wouldn’t stain furniture or the tablecloths, a problem I have encountered!

— D.T., via email

Sink scrub

DEAR HELOISE: If you buy a facial scrub that turns out to be too rough on your skin, don’t pitch it. Clean your sinks with it.

— Becky G., McDonald, Ohio

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

Sunday, March 29, 2020