Hints from Heloise: The makeup of microfiber

Dear Heloise: What is microfiber? How is it labeled at a store? What are brands to look for? — A Reader, via email

Microfiber is a synthetic fiber that’s one-fifth the diameter of a human hair. The most common types of microfibers are produced from polyesters, polyamides and, occasionally, polypropylene, with a common ratio of 80/20 and 70/30. There are a number of factors that affect quality and performance of a microfiber fabric — in fact, too many to list here.

The U.S. government requires companies to state the country of origin when labeling a product, as well as the content of the product. However, different manufacturers have different methods of labeling their products once all the legal requirements are met. While microfibers are good for cleaning because they can be used repeatedly, absorb well and don’t leave lint behind on surfaces, they also are flammable if manufactured from hydrocarbons (polyester) or carbohydrates (cellulose), and produce a toxic gas when burning. — Heloise

Word of warning

Dear Heloise: Just an FYI for your readers: If you’re downloading a PDF file and you happen to notice that it ends in “.exe,” delete it immediately! It’s likely a virus. —Joan E. in Las Vegas

A long drive

Dear Heloise: I travel 140 nights a year for my job, and it’s mostly by car. You might be surprised how easy it is to fall asleep at the wheel late at night, but there are some things you can do to stay awake:

▪  Get a good night’s rest beforehand, or if possible, take a 30-minute nap before starting out on the road.

▪  Eat something light before you start your drive. You need fuel just like your car does, but never eat a heavy meal before you begin a long drive.

▪  Listen to a CD or radio program that features comedians. It’s hard to fall asleep while laughing.

▪  Take some coffee, or tea or colas, with you so you can stay hydrated during your drive, but never drink alcohol while driving.

▪  Take a snack along with you: fresh fruit such as apples or grapes; nuts; crackers; even chewing gum.

▪  Stop every two hours or so and get out and walk where it’s safe, such as at a coffee shop or truck stop. Get some fresh air and maybe a cup of coffee.

— Norman R., Casper, Wyo.

Beach blues

Dear Heloise: If you’re at the beach or the pool on a hot, sunny day, turn your shoes or flip-flops facedown on the sand or concrete. That way, you won’t burn your feet when you put them on again. Before you leave the beach, run your hand through the sand around the place where you were seated or lying down to make certain you haven’t lost anything, such as keys, rings or watches. Every year, people lose these things accidentally while at the beach. — Kayla D., Miami Beach, Fla.

Send a great hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, fax to 1-210-HELOISE or email Heloise(at)