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February 10, 2013

No one ever told me that you could not grind up all your leftovers or peelings in the garbage disposal. I thought it was a Food Dispose ALL. I am here to give you some good advice and save you frustration time and money.

Do NOT grind up your leftovers, peelings, the dinner leftovers, or the crap from your refrigerator that’s un-identifiable. Really. No matter what you think and what it says on the box, this is not going to keep your garbage disposal in working condition.

Here is my advice on garbage disposal etiquette. You can choose to take it or pay me later to come fix the monster under your sink (the one that growls at you from time to time).

  1. Scrape the leftovers into the trash can and then rinse the rest into the garbage disposal. Run cold water during and immediately after putting anything in the hole.
  2. Do not try to ground up fibrous foods such as banana peels, corn husks, celery, or plant vines.
  3. If you want to fix your disposal yourself be sure to unplug it and turn it off. Check out to see if anything is stuck inside and clear it out. Insert your Allen wrench into the socket at the bottom of the disposal and turn it to try and free the jam. Turn your disposal back on and if it doesn’t work make sure you press the red reset button on the bottom (the button will be popped out if it has been tripped).
  4. If you have a disposal with no place on the bottom for the Allen wrench, you can stick a wooden broom handle in the hole and try to turn the flywheel. Again, try the reset button.

a.    If the water backs up while the disposal is working correctly, the problem is in the drain pipe, not the disposal.
b.    Do not use a disposal if you have a septic system because too much food waste will interfere with the normal decomposition of septic waste.
c.    To keep the disposal smelling fresh, grind up lemon or lime rinds every once in awhile.
d.    To keep the disposal assembly clean, grind up ice cubes every once in awhile.

Ladies, always remember that the systems we use in our lives (including our disposals) operate under the rule that if you put too much garbage in, you will clog. Or, even worse, get too much garbage out.

Here’s an extra tip: If the disposal will not turn on (no noise) than the problem is electrical. You may need a new switch, the circuit may have tripped, or the garbage disposal is dead.

To garbage disposal etiquette,

Jo Ellen Soesbee, the ToolBox TomGirl

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