Dear Readers: Kitchen knives in the dishwasher? That’s a big no-no. The sharp blade of a knife isn’t meant to be subjected to the heat and pressure of the dishwasher.

Harsh detergents, rinse agents and other chemicals can dull the knife, be a precursor to mold, rust the knife and rot the handle.

With gloved hands, immediately after the meal, remove any large pieces of grease and food particles, then gently wash the knife using running water, a sponge and mild dishwashing detergent.

Thoroughly and carefully dry your knife with a towel. Air-drying can lead to swollen wood, mold and rust.

— Heloise

Keep it clean

DEAR HELOISE: Thanks for your daily dose of commonsense hints! One that could bear repeating: When cleaning the space over kitchen cabinets, I place newspaper to absorb grease and dust afterward! Amazing how much easier it will be next time!

— Pat R., Washington

Mold in slow cooker

DEAR HELOISE: No matter how much I scrub my slow-cooker ceramic pot, I find mold inside the next time I use it. I do notice some fine cracks in the glaze. Cleaning tips, or time to replace?

— Brian, Alexandria, Va.

Brian, are you allowing the pot to dry completely before you put it away? The mold can develop from moisture left behind. If the mold develops regardless, it’s time to replace.

— Heloise

Let’s keep it simple, ok?

DEAR HELOISE: Have you noticed that many people say the year “two thousand nineteen” instead of the traditional “twenty-nineteen”? I even hear politicians and TV news anchors saying it.

It’s much simpler to say “twenty-nineteen” than “two thousand nineteen.” It even has one less syllable! We said “nineteen eighty-nine,” “nineteen ninety-nine,” etc.

Why do some want to add the longer “thousand” into the mix? When did this change? Let’s keep it simple, OK?

— Bill, Dana Point, Calif.

Bill, interesting point! Readers, do you say “twenty-nineteen” or “two thousand nineteen”?

— Heloise

Box it up!

DEAR HELOISE: In the winter (flu) season, I’ve found a way to eliminate the facial tissue pile buildup. I put an empty tissue box beside me. As I use a tissue, I put the used ones in it. No nasty tissues around! More sanitary.

— Carole N., Canton, Ohio

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