Dear Readers: Looking for a project on a cold winter’s day? Thinking of stripping or oiling your antique furniture? Think again.

Hints from Heloise sig

Back in the day, lots of wood furniture was painted. Over time, the paint fades and cracks. Don’t strip the piece to “freshen it up.” The faded and cracked paint is desirable and valuable in the antiques market.

And oil and wood do not mix. Don’t apply oil to wood. Oil can leach into the grain, oxidize and blacken the wood.

The one exercise experts don’t outright nix completely is waxing. Wax can protect the wood; solid paste waxes are best.

Always check with a conservator before treating any of your antique furniture.

— Heloise

A whole lotta holes

Dear Readers: The following letters are in response to a reader’s problem with small tears/holes in her cotton/cotton blend T-shirts in front where the zipper and buttons are.

— Heloise

• We found a solution: We bought lavender and hung it in our closets; no more holes!

— Mardi, Murrieta, Calif.

• My shoulder bag, when worn across my body, might be the culprit. I’ve stopped using that purse and haven’t seen any holes.

— A Reader, Long Beach, Calif.

• Please assure your reader that she is NOT alone in discovering small holes in the front of her pajama tops, T-shirts, etc.

I keep these holey items in a separate part of my closet to wear on days when I’m going to be occupied at home. I wash them in a lingerie bag to prevent the washer’s action from making the holes any larger than they already are!

— N.N.C.L.S., North Carolina

The prune

Dear Readers: Did you know that the prune used to be called the “dried plum” because the word “prune” had a bad connotation? But prunes are power-packed with nutrition and antioxidants, and are beneficial for your digestive tract. So whatever you choose to call it, give the prune a try, for the health of it!

— Heloise

Scrub this

DEAR HELOISE: Frozen vinegar ice cubes are good to clean the garbage disposal, but they don’t address the real issue. The rubber guard has to be scrubbed, as it gets a really yucky coating of decomposing food. I use rubber gloves and a grease-dissolving soap until it no longer is slick or has black coming off.

— Jean H., via email

Send hints to Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5001 or email

Sunday, February 23, 2020