For your reading convenients below you will find all the Rotating Trio: Potpourri published in 2016
Many of us don't have a great deal of mechanical training, but having a few basic tools can often save you both money and the annoyance of waiting until someone, with their tools can get around to giving you a hand. Of course, learning to use a couple of basic screw-drivers...flat head and Philip's head, hammer and a good drain plunger are your first investments. If you have these tools, even if you can't use them, someone else can, who just happens to be there.
Have you ever heard, "I don't have any tools with me."? I have, and found that by bringing them out, the expense of a repairman, which often doesn't exist for little jobs, is often eliminated.
Most of us have been confronted with the inconvenience of needing a plumber. Whether it's an over-flow in the bathroom or the kitchen sink that won't drain. Before you call him, who probably can't come for a couple of days, check the underside of the unit instead of inside.
-Open the lower cabinet and run your fingers along the bottom of the disposal unit.
-First, you are looking for a button which may switch from side to side or need to be pressed. If the disposal is not coming on, then it has cut itself off, a safety feature so it won't burn out the motor.
-Press or slide the button, and it may or may not come on.
-If not, cut the unitís power off at the wall switch.
- Now, still examining the bottom of the unit, check for a small opening which looks roundish. Here, you need an Alan Wrench which is an odd looking piece of metal bent upwards on one end, and downwards on the other. Unlike other wrenches, the ends are flat.
- Insert this into the hole, and work it from side to side to begin to dislodge what has locked your unit. With a lot of effort, you can begin to rotate until it becomes easy.
-Switch on the unit, and if necessary, press the button on the bottom.
If yours reacts as did our Editor's during Christmas, WooHoo for you!
Editorís Note: Yes, this is a true story. Suzy gave me these exact instructions and my garbage disposal started working again, and is still working! FYI: I am not the least bit mechanically inclined. Therefore, if I could do it, anyone can!
-If it still doesn't work, and you have plastic pipes, don't call the plumber. You can learn to do what he will, saving you the time and expense of at least $100.00.
So stay tuned for my next article when I explain how to do that.
Until next time, accumulate a few tools, and give it a try.
Water, Towels, & Pipes, Oh My!
In the last potpourri Fix-it article, the saga of the kitchen's friend was discussed. Um, in case you didn't read it, my idea of the kitchen's friend is my garbage Disposal.
*Note: you can find Suzyís previous article by clicking on the Rotating Trio link at
There are times when clicking the bottom button, and using the Alan wrench aren't going to fix the problem. But, with plastic pipes, well let's get with the program.
*First of all, the big job is cleaning out the bottom of your cabinet, and yes, everything has to come out. Find a big box or your laundry basket and pile it in. This way, everything is together and you don't have to hunt around on the floor, knock something off the counter, or find it when someone has come over and is wondering why your old fruit jars are sitting in the center of your table.
*Next, collect some old bath towels and spread on the bottom of the cabinet. Donít worry, if you have to use the good ones, they will wash well.
*Now, needed is either a plastic bucket, a small plastic trash can, or a large pot to set under the pipes. Whichever you choose, it will be catching the water and crud that is causing the lack of flow.
*There is a horizontal pipe (HP) leading from the side of your garbage disposal to the vertical pipe (VP) coming down from the sink that leads to an elbow. It is possible that you may just need to loosen the left end of the HP going into the VP.
*You will find a large nut holding the pipe in place, and with a strong grip, rotate the nut to the left, toward you.
*When this is done, work the horizontal pipe away while tilting it downward, into the bucket, and while nudging the elbowed portion to your left.
*Be sure that the nut is slid to your right as well as the rubber gasket, that way, you know where they are.
*For more flexibility, you can loosen the nut at the top and bottom of the VP portion from which you have just detached the HP. Here is where the buildup of debris is most likely clogging up the works.
*This clog could have accumulated from a buildup of vegetables, paper, or who knows what. It isn't a pretty sight, smell, or feel, but just clear it out with your fingers. Be careful because it will all gush out, and then you will know why the bucket and towels are planted first.
*Dump the bucket outside or down the commode, it handles worse than this.
Back together again:
*Bring back the bucket and position again at the same place. When you achieve this, position your pipes and begin tightening each a bit at a time.
*When all is lined up, tighten completely, and then allow hot water to run!
*As the water flows, turn on the disposal. You may need to press the button on the base, but unless there is a mechanical problem, you should be hearing the sound of Music or the unit humming in harmony with the sink draining, instead of the money from your pockets and bank account.
*Rinse out the bucket, again dumping where you did last, Roll up the towels, wipe any mess that may have occurred, and decide how much in the box goes back in the cabinet and/or in the garbage.
Pat yourself on the back and smile!
Oh, it's tool/Fix-it Time for the BP. No, not you that are pro's, but the Non's who try to get by.
Tool-box basics to get you started:
*a Good basic hammer
*Screwdrivers, both flat-head and Philip's head, in two or three sizes. We're talking, tiny, medium and large. Often the battery compartment of a small electrical item is screwed in place, which means, yes, you have to unscrew to open and replace. A drawer knob that needs tightening will probably take a medium, whereas the loose toilet seat bolts will need a large one. Here, particularly ones using plastic bolts, use the screwdriver to turn the bolt while you are securing the nut, or vise-versa. In spite of making a real effort to do otherwise, I seem to get stuck with the seat that has plastic bolts. For these kind tend to loosen too often, and the lid flips off, not a pretty picture. Depending on your hand and body dexterity, you may opt to use pliers to turn the nut while stabilizing with the screwdriver.
Gradually, you may want to add to your collection those with shorter and/or longer handles.
*Pliers are another addition. I suggest an adjustable medium-large pair, and a set of needle-nose. Yes, there are many others, but we are addressing a basic beginning.
*You definitely need a measuring device. A plastic tactile marked tape measure will get you started, the same type that goes in a sewing box and measures your waist, or for determining the space you have for your computer, printer, etc. For anticipated help, buy an inexpensive metal measuring tape for a sighted person. Yes, there will come a time, and they like the way it zips back in its housing. You can later add more measuring devices, depending on how handy and serious home repair projects become.
*An assortment of nails and screws are also a good investment. You can often find packages of assorted sizes with needing a box of each.
*Note: Don't ever throw away a bolt or screw, you may need it next week.
*And if all fails, there is duct tape. Double sided tape can be useful as with Velcro, the heavy duty type.
Project: Mount an electrical strip to the back of a bed-side table which will accommodate five or six electrical plugs.
1. Measure the length of the strip, and then cut a strip of double sided tape and place one inch below table top.
2. Measure a strip of Velcro the same length...this will actually be two strips that will adhere to each other.
3. Cut another strip of two-sided tape and place on the back of electrical strip.
4. Unzip the Velcro, placing one piece back to the table tape, and the other to the electrical strip.
5. Now line up the Velcro, and press hard.
6. Plug in your plugs and the cords will fall behind the table but can easily be unplugged without moving the table.
*Question: Why use Velcro? Answer: You may want to relocate this strip. Should you want it stabilized as before, it will be easier to use another strip on the back of another table or other surface somewhere else.
If you have suggestions or questions, please send me an email to the address at the top of my article. Happy Fixing!
Given a few ideas from our editor & chief, let's look at a few things that some of us have encountered.
Spots and stains on clothing:
Oops, just dropped a bite. Of all the spot removers on the market, I find that something Mama used a few years ago still works best. This was first successful on a royal blue silky polyester blouse which appeared as an impossible dream. The product is Murphy's Oil Soap...and bet you thought it was only for wood. Whether a cotton tee, a polyester, or blend, dampen the stain and pour a dab of Murphy's on the stain. Then rub the spot between your hands. Hold the fabric in both hands, and rub the affected area vigorously, and Let set for about 5 minutes. Then rinse and either wash by hand or put in washer. Do this in cold water, because hot water will set the stain as will the heat from the dryer. Again, avoid the dryer. Lay the article of clothing on a flat surface to dry or place on a hanger and hang on the shower rod, if you have one. This way, you can get someone to check, if possible, and you have another try, should you have missed a portion of the stain.
Another question is: what not to put down your garbage disposal:
Except for banana peels, fruit pits, rice, celery, onion, Pineapple tops, and any stringy vegetable, I put most anything. Among these, besides the accepted left-overs, potato peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds, even cantaloupe peels, and I won't scare you with some of the others. The big thing, which many may not do, is to run hot water for at least 30 seconds after turning off the motor. This helps slough goop from the pipes as well as reduce odor. Lemon and orange peels leave a nice smell. As for sharpening the blades, run a few ice cubes followed with a few lemon slices, resulting with sharper blades and the scent of lemon.
Check out this homemade recipe that can be used in the bathroom, kitchen, and on tables. It is inexpensive, nontoxic, and effective!
Homemade Non-Toxic All Purpose Cleaner
What you will need:
*Recycled Glass containers with lids
*Orange peels (Or any other citrus fruit peels. This makes it smell great plus it adds cleaning power.)
*1 Tablespoon Salt (any kind)
*5 - 10 drops Essential oil (optional)
Step One: Cut orange peels and fill any empty glass containers you have on hand. If you don't have glass you can fill any containers that you have.
Step Two: Add some salt to the orange peels and let them sit for 20 - 30 minutes (or longer). This will pull the oils from the peels and ultimately make your cleaning solution stronger. You only need enough salt to lightly cover the peels.
Step Three: Fill the containers with vinegar and water. You can do all vinegar and leave it as is, you can do all vinegar and then add the water at the end of step 5, or you can do 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar.
Step Four: Put a TIGHT FITTING lid on the jars and let the solution sit for 2 - 3 weeks. The longer it sits the better.
Step Five: Strain the solution and fill a squirt bottle with your natural ORANGE cleaner. If you are using essential oils you will add them at this time.
*Note: It would be best to start a new solution as soon as you start using yours so that you have it ready when you run out.
If you have questions or topics you would like addressed, contact me at my email address located above.
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