DEAR MARY: I’m writing in response to a recent column in which you gave a tip on washing loads of dirty potatoes. As a first thought it may sound like a good idea to put your potatoes through the dishwasher to clean them. Two reasons it’s a bad idea: 1) there is still a clearing agent that will be put into the rinse, and 2) the food filter has trapped food in the filter. Dishwashers were never designed to wash food for human consumption. Terrible idea. There are always residual chemicals left behind. Check with the manufacturer. I’m sure they never intended their dishwasher to be used as a food prep device. Robert

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DEAR ROBERT: Points well-taken. However, isn’t the purpose of a dishwasher to sanitize and present dishes, glasses and utensils clean and ready to handle food for human consumption? If the potatoes get coated with a rinse agent, wouldn’t the dishes come out that way, as well? If the rinse agent is properly removed from the dishes at the end of the rinse cycle, wouldn’t the potatoes get the same treatment? If a rinse product like Jetdry were toxic, would any of us be comfortable using it to clean the glasses we drink from and utensils we eat with? As for the food filter, my common sense dictates that thing should be cleaned routinely, like every day. But if not, isn’t that residual food being sanitized with water temps of 140 F (recommended temperature by dishwasher and detergent manufacturers) each time we run that appliance? That being said (can you tell I love a good debate?), I trust that my readers will take all of this under advice and carefully consider your points before dishwashing a big load of spuds. And for the record, Finish, who manufactures Jetdry, recommends on its website under “Dishwasher Hacks” not only washing potatoes in the dishwasher, but also to steam salmon that you’ve first wrapped in foil! Thanks for forcing all of us to bone up on our critical thinking.

DEAR MARY: I am an avid walker, cyclist and living in Vancouver, BC. Beautiful province famous for its rain. I need advice on how to best waterproof my expensive nylon/suede hiking boots and a jacket. Thank you. Meg

DEAR MEG: There are lots of so-called waterproofing products out there, however, in my experience and research the best (meaning don’t even consider others because they do not work well) are Kiwi Boot Protector for anything made of leather or fabric including boots, tents, tarps, sleeping bags, backpacks, hunting and any other rugged outdoor camping gear including materials like Gore-Tex—but NOT for suede leather. It simply will not waterproof suede. For suede leather you must use Kiwi Suede Protector. Both come in aerosol spray cans, both have a very strong odor when applied and both become completely odorless and invisible once dried and cured. Provided you follow the label instructions carefully, you will be amazed and thrilled with the outcomes.

DEAR MARY: I recall reading in a past column about your favorite kitchen trash can. And now I can’t put my hands on that information. Could you please give me that information again? Theresa

DEAR THERESA: Sure thing! That column, “My Perfect Kitchen Trash Can and Perfectly Cheap Bags, Too!” featured my Simple Human 30-litre/8 gallon round step can.

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