Dear Readers: Are you ready? It’s TAX TIME! The Internal Revenue Service is here to help; the website is If you have questions about filing your taxes, jump You also can call and speak to representatives from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. local time (Alaska and Hawaii residents, use Pacific Time; Puerto Rico residents can call between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. local time). The phone number for individuals is 800-829-1040; for hearing-impaired folks, call 800-829-4059. But be aware: There may Again, search the website first; most likely your question can be answered. If not, give the IRS a call; they are happy to help. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I read your column in The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington. I’m surprised that no one has written to you about the problem with storing laundry detergent and other chemicals in the same place as your plastic storage bags.  
I have received many baked goods wrapped in plastic wrap, then foil and/or plastic storage bags, and they smell and end up tasting like laundry detergent or a perfumed candle. Have you ever noticed this? 
I would love it if you could encourage your readers to NEVER store any storage bags, wrap or other item that touches food next to chemicals, laundry detergent or perfumed candles. First of all, it is not healthy, but it also ruins the natural flavor of the food. - Simone, via email


Dear Readers: Think “quality” when shopping for clothes, bags and jewelry. You will reach for a well-made garment, handbag or piece of jewelry more often than you will a cheap copy. Figure cost per wear, and the item is usually a great value. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: On my cellphone, I simply go to “Settings” and “Do Not Disturb” and select “Contacts Only,” and only calls from people on my contacts will come through.
Believe me, life is much more peaceful with that setting completed. - Rose in Huntington, Ind.


Dear Readers: For parents and grandparents of infants, diaper rash can be a big problem. What causes diaper rash? The top three:

1. Not changing a diaper 
frequently enough.

2. Yeast infections.

3. Allergies to the diaper, soaps 
or wipes.

How to prevent it? Keep baby dry, clean and fresh. Use alcohol-free wipes and a diaper cream containing zinc oxide. Cloth diapers can help too. Disposables may have chemicals in them. Check with your pediatrician for more information on ways to prevent diaper rash. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: I was going to make a list of the credit cards in my wallet in case my purse is ever lost or stolen when it dawned on me: Just use my copier and photocopy all of them. It’s worked out fine. - Doe G., via email

Good idea! Be sure to store in a safe place, and make sure the customer service phone numbers are clear and legible. - Heloise


Dear Heloise: Some gyms sell overpriced “workout towels” that have the gym’s logo on one side and are solid white on the other. 
I buy kitchen towels, which are a lot cheaper and cuter. I find them with floral patterns, etc., but again, the pattern is only on one side. 
I prefer these to solid towels because, for sanitation purposes, I keep track of which side I put down on a workout seat and which side I keep facing my body. 
- Maureen A. in San Diego


Dear Heloise: I crochet baby blankets to donate to our neonatal intensive care unit. I found that after a while, the aluminum hooks would leave a black mark on my fingers. I put clear fingernail polish on the hook where my fingers made contact, and no more black marks! - Crochet G-Ma, via email


Dear Heloise: The mop head finally rusted through and fell off, but the handle is still useful. I threaded a folded napkin in the top and now use it to clean the dust bunnies out from under the refrigerator. - Norma C., Waterloo, N.Y.


Dear Heloise: My wife died a few years back, and I now cook for myself. I have a question about potatoes: The eyes and black spots -- are they bad for you? And how should I store the potatoes? - Robert C., Summerfield, Fla.


 Robert, first, potatoes should not be stored in a refrigerator. Ideally, they need a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight. As for the eyes and black spots, cut out the black spots. The eyes won’t hurt you. The black spots could be a bruised spot or a fungus, so cutting it out is a safety measure. - Heloise