Dear Heloise: My husband the golfer is very particular about his polo shirts. The collars no longer lie flat, and he wants me to buy new shirts. I think that's silly. So, is there a way to perk up the collars?

— Kay in California

Kay in California: Yes there’s an easy fix. The sizing (a starch-like substance) that the manufacturer puts on the material to make it stiff has probably washed out. Spray starch and an iron should do the trick. Spray the back of the collar with the starch and work it in with your fingers. Then, with your iron on a low to medium setting, iron the back of the collar first, then flip it over and iron the front. This should make your husband happy.

Dear Heloise: I inherited a rolling, wooden butcher block table that works great in my kitchen for extra workspace. What is the best way to clean it?

— Lettie in Missouri

Lettie in Missouri: You don’t want to use harsh cleaners that might damage the wood. The safest and easiest way to clean the butcher block is to make a paste by sprinkling baking soda on a damp sponge then, using a circular motion, scrub the surface. Rinse well, then dry thoroughly. If needed, lightly oil the wood by using mineral oil (NOT vegetable oil). Wipe with a paper towel.

Baking soda is one of my favorite “go-to” solutions for so many cleaning chores, and you can learn many useful hints for using this versatile product by ordering my six-page pamphlet “Heloise’s Baking Soda Hints and Recipes.” To get a copy, visit or send $5, along with a long, self-addressed, stamped (70 cents) envelope to: Heloise/Baking Soda, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX, 78279-5001.

FYI: Back home from camping? Before putting away the cooler, wash it well, dry thoroughly, then sprinkle the inside with baking soda. You’ll have a fresh-smelling cooler for your next adventure.

Dear Heloise: I read your recent column about children giving their technically challenged parents new technology, and it made me want to write to you.

My son insisted that I learn to use a smartphone, so after listening to his valid arguments, I gave in. I have to say that I'm glad I did. I'm especially fond of the calendar feature. I use it to remember annual occurrences such as birthdays, dentist visits, pet vaccinations and doctors' appointments. I've even learned to use the feature that allows you to see each other while talking. Now I get to see my grandkids more often.

— Millie in Nebraska

Millie in Nebraska: I don’t know about you, but I don’t like that “forgetting something feeling” hanging over me. It’s wonderful that new technology helps put our minds at ease by remembering appointments and birthdays for us. Bravo to you for learning something new!

Heloise’s column appears six days a week at Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or email it to

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