HELOISE: Storage with military precision
Dear Heloise: My husband is retired from the military and has some old uniforms we'd like to store. Some are heavily starched. Should I wash out the starch before I store them? -- A.L., Huntsville, Ala.
Good question! Before storing a uniform, you want to make sure it is clean, of course. Some experts say you don't have to remove the starch, but it can cause permanent creases in uniforms when stored. Others (me included) think you should wash (if the uniform is washable) out the starch. If they are "dress" uniforms, do have them professionally cleaned.
Before storing, wrap it in acid-free paper. Remove small pieces, like belt, nameplate, etc., and wrap separately, and it's recommended to store uniforms flat. Store in a box in a cool, dry spot. The perfect place? Under your bed. -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: My daughter left a pink crayon in the backseat of my car. The seats are cloth, and it melted! How do I remove it? -- Melisa B., via email
Melisa, this can be a difficult stain to remove, but let's give it a try. Put a couple of ice cubes in a metal pan and place the pan over the wax until it hardens. Next, scrape off as much of the wax as you can using a plastic credit card or a dull knife.
Next, put some dry-cleaning solvent (found at the grocery store) on the stain using a clean, white cloth. Let it absorb, and then blot it. The color should start to come up. Use a clean section of the cloth each time you blot.
You may need to reapply the solvent, continuing to blot until all of the stain has been removed, then blot using a damp (only water) microfiber cloth. Good luck! Always test a stain remover on a hidden section of fabric first! -- Heloise
Dear Heloise: I had a nearly full "sport" water bottle handy when I needed to refill my steam iron. I grabbed it, and it was perfect to get just the amount of water needed into the small opening on the iron without spilling onto the board (Heloise here: Do NOT refill with water while the iron is hot). -- A Reader, via email