What a relief to learn I'm not the only one who always buys white bath towels, bleaches them weekly and then downgrades them to cleaning cloths when they start to fall apart. In response to my newspaper column today, a number of readers wrote to share their own stories of childhoods lived in impossibly clean houses.
Peggy, whose mother was a nurse, grew up to be a woman who was unable to accept a cleaning defeat. "I found a 'Krazy Kloth' ('As seen on TV!') when I lived in Tokyo that is a life saver," she wrote. "It's made in New Jersey. It removes 'impossible stains instantly' with 'space age chemicals fused into cloth.' All I can say is that it removed a lava lamp burn from a beautiful Japanese wood shelf. A year later, the burn was still gone. Every home should have one for emergencies."
Other readers are facing cleaning challenges beyond my expertise. But maybe someone else out there has a suggestion for Lauren, who wrote, "I upgraded my kitchen appliances to stainless steel not that long ago and my refrigerator, stove and dishwasher all have slight surface scratches that I would LOVE to get rid of. Do you know of any product that would help?"
Vivian has a poser, as well: "What product can eliminate scratches and pits in an off-white cultured marble sink?"
As for me? I just ordered a Krazy Kloth.
UPDATE: OK, here's a tricky one. A reader writes, "My latest research is how to clean an oil painting. It has only intrinsic value so sending it to a conserver is not part of my budget. One site suggested rubbing it with soft white bread! That didn't work. Do you have any suggestions?"
TODAY'S MILITARY: From Rye, NY, a reader shares these housecleaning memories: "My time in ROTC Summer Camp proved that toothbrushes and scrub brushes, with an assist from Brand X Ajax cleanser, would work on everything in a bathroom, while Brasso would do all the metal, and Grandma's Yellow Soap (actually Kirkman's) would clean everything in a kitchen. "