'Plain Talk': Samples of Earl Proulx's Column

I have a brand-new, expensive fur-lined golf bag. A bottle of vanilla extract spilled all over the inside of the bag. What is the best way to clean inside the bag and get rid of the horrible smell?


Norcross, Ga.

This is worth a try. Wipe down the inside of the bag with a wet cloth dipped in baking soda until the bag is clean. Then put four inches of fresh cat litter in the bottom and set it outdoors in the sun for a day. If you do not have fresh cat litter, use stale, dry coffee grounds.

What's the best way to clean mold and dust from the cardboard covers on 12-inch vinyl phonograph records?


Chatham, N.J.

The best way to clean those covers is to rub them with lumps of the doughy center part of a loaf of white bread. It doesn't have to be homemade; any store bread should do. Use about six slices to form a moist ball and discard the ball as it gets dirty. Just roll the balls on the surface. You can use a gum eraser to rub away stains, but don't use an India rubber one because that will take up the surface of the paper.

I collect pool cues and some have dents, either in the shaft or butt, caused by striking the cue on the table. I have been told that these dents can be removed by steam heating to swell wood out. I have tried this remedy without much success, perhaps because of the finish.


University Place, Washington

Wood that has been dented can be repaired with steam, but if the wood has lacquer or varnish on it, you must prick the dent. After the dent is repaired, fill any needle holes with beeswax or shellac.

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