Bleach not right for these whites

Dear Heloise: I purchased new white bath towels. The care instructions say not to use chlorine bleach. I’ve always used chlorine bleach in white loads of laundry. Why would it not be recommended? Is there another type of bleach readily available? — A.J.S., Long Beach, Calif.

Seems odd, huh? Today’s fabrics (including towels) contain brighteners that chlorine can break down. Here’s my tried-and-true fix:

Create a solution of equal parts — say, 1 cup each of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and water. Fill the washing machine with water and add this formula. Swish it around, then place the towels in the washer. Let them soak for six hours or overnight, then wash as usual.

Baking soda is in my arsenal of cleaning champions. Sometimes it’s hard to completely remove strong odors from clothes. Try this: Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle. Don’t overload the washer; the clothes need to move around. You’ll rinse those nasty odors right away. — Heloise

Shoe-size stretcher

Dear Heloise: I bought shoes, and they needed breaking in. My caretaker said put pinto beans in bags with a little water and then put the bags in the shoes overnight. When the beans swell up, they stretch your shoes. It worked. — Linda H., via email

(Heloise is a columnist for King Features Syndicate. Send money-or time-saving hint to P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or E-Mail: