This number is a gas

Dear Heloise: What does octane rating mean? Would my car benefit from a higher-octane gasoline? — Dana B. in Michigan

First, follow the owners manual to find out the best gasoline for your car. According to the Federal Trade Commission (, there is no advantage to using a higher-octane gasoline than what’s recommended for your vehicle, unless you hear “engine knock,” which happens rarely.

Higher-octane gas does not clean your engine, and it won’t make your car run better. Most vehicles use fuel with an octane rating of 87; that’s typically the lowest rating. Octane ratings can vary by state.

Luxury and sports cars usually require a higher-octane gas — this will be stated in the paperwork for the vehicle. Higher-octane fuels typically cost more per gallon. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: I work in a beauty salon. It is one of the best places to find referrals for workmen, house cleaners, doctors and anything you need. I pass on what I hear, good and bad, knowing we all have opinions. — June W., Hot Springs Village, Ark.

Dear Heloise: To be sure I don’t use a toothbrush on my teeth that is designated for household cleaning, I wrap a rubber band around the handle. — Cindy M., Post Falls, Idaho

Easier to grip, too. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: I’m ashamed to admit that I failed to take my phone out of my trousers before putting them in the laundry. I lost my pictures, stored data, etc.

What I’ve done to solve the problem is to tape a red-lettered note to the washing machine start dial that says “cellphone.” — Ron N., Alexandria, Va.