Dear Heloise: Is there a way to keep DISHCLOTHS CLEAN? They are stained and look yucky even straight from the dryer. Should I just toss them and start with new ones, or can you help me? -- R. Smythe in Pennsylvania

If the cloths are bleachable, try this: Put 1 gallon of hot water, 1 cup of powdered dishwasher detergent and 1 / 4 cup of household liquid chlorine bleach into the washing machine. Add the cloths and let the machine agitate for a few minutes, then let them soak in the machine for at least 30 minutes. Next, add the regular amount of laundry detergent and let the cycle finish. This washing should remove the smell and any stains, too. For nonbleachable dishcloths, just wash them with like items in the washing machine.

Wash dishcloths frequently to keep them clean and smell-free. After using the cloth, rinse in cold water, leave a little bit of soap in it and lay it someplace so it can dry between uses. -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My husband travels on business and frequently must dress in a suit and tie. He was always forgetting to pack the collar stays for his dress shirts. He was advised by a friend that good emergency collar stays are the coffee stirrers you find in most coffee shops, hotel restaurants, etc. Just fold the stirrer to the correct length or cut the stirrer to the desired length. The stirrers are strong and handy. -- Kathy Smith in Dallas


Dear Readers: Arline Benes Nenni of Goffstown, N.H., sent in a photo of her Scottish terrier, Buddy, frolicking in the snow. Arline says, “Buddy loved the snow and didn’t mind it clinging to his snoot and feet.” To see a picture of Buddy, please visit my Web site, www., and click on “Pets.” -- Heloise


Dear Heloise: My mother said that her mother told her to go around the house after everyone is in bed and pick up items that are “dragging” -- our way of saying not in their right place -- and put them up. Then in the morning, everything is ready to start another day with a lot less work.

Also, when my children were young, they weren’t allowed to go out to play, watch TV, etc., until I checked their rooms to make sure they had made their beds and picked up their things. They turned out to be very neat grown-ups. -- P.M., via e-mail


Dear Heloise: I have so many pairs of earrings, and I have found that by keeping them in plastic ice-cube trays, I am able to keep the pairs together for easy access and loss prevention. Plus, the trays are stackable and fit in most dresser drawers. -- Pat K. in Louisville

And the trays are cheap, cheap, cheap! Many times you can find them 3 for $1 on sale! You can stock up for all the earrings you have! -- Heloise

Send a hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, Tex. 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to Please include your city and state.

2012, King Features Syndicate