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HELOISE: Use homemade cleaning concoction to keep yoga mats clean

Dear Heloise: I have been doing yoga and taking classes at a local university for a long time. It surprises me how many of my fellow classmates don't think about cleaning their yoga mats. While a yoga mat can look clean, it often is actually quite dirty. You can buy yoga-mat cleaning solutions, but they often are expensive. To save money, I make a solution of 2/3 water, 1/3 vinegar, some tea tree oil and a few drops of my favorite essential oil. I spray the mat generously with the solution and wipe with a damp cloth or sponge and let air-dry. The first time I cleaned my yoga mat, I was surprised and disgusted at the dirt and grime that came off! -- Tessie T., via email

Tessie, I, too, have been doing yoga for most of my life. What I love about yoga is that it can travel with you, you don't need special clothes, and you don't have to go to a gym. My routine when I am on the road for business is to take one of the bath towels, spread it on the floor and then do my stretching and relaxing movements. -- Namaste, Heloise


Dear Heloise: My family and I take a trip to the beach every summer. After we have been down at the beach, we are covered in sand and don't want to track it back into our rooms. The hotel has a "rinse-off station" that you can use to wash off the sand before going inside. The problem is that our towels were covered in sand, so we would have to run up to the room dripping wet. I started putting an extra towel in a zippered plastic bag. I would bring it with us and open it only after we had rinsed off. Now we have a clean towel to dry off with that isn't covered in sand. -- S.S. in Texas


Dear Heloise: Here is a hint for all of your readers with kids or grandkids going to prom. Many dress stores have tuxedo shops right next to them, or close by. They often are "sister shops." If your daughter picks out a dress at a store, have her date go to the tuxedo shop right next to it. The stores often use the same color name, and that way the outfits will match. If this isn't an option, see if she can get a swatch of fabric for her date to take with him when picking out a tux, so he can match her dress. -- J.L. in Texas


Dear Heloise: Starting at the first of every year, when we check our daily mail, we place anything having to do with taxes in a manila folder that we keep in the kitchen. When it comes time to do our taxes, all we have to do is grab the folder. -- A Reader, via email