Are you used to handwashing things like sponges, brushes, and even your toothbrush holder? There may be a more effective and germ-killing option- Your dishwasher! The temperature reached by your dishwasher is much hotter than the water in your sink, so it naturally kills bacteria. Let’s be honest, you wouldn’t want your sink that hot, it could scald you.
Not every home has a dishwasher, but if you do, here are 5 things you can put in the dishwasher to keep them clean. Be sure to look for the dishwasher safe symbol before you put it in the dishwasher. You don’t want to ruin the item or the appliance.
Sponges: Did you know you can clean dirty sponges in the dishwasher? Kitchen sponges carry a lot of bacteria, so if yours hasn’t been washed in a while, think about putting them in the dishwasher (top shelf of course) on a regular basis. Washing your sponges once a week can really make a difference.
Hats: We bet you didn’t know you could clean hats in the dishwasher! Washing them in the washing machine doesn’t work very well, but the top shelf of your dishwasher can. It helps clean out all the dirt, sweat, and grim while keeping shape. If the hat has a cardboard rim, we don’t recommend putting it in the dishwasher.
Toothbrush Holders: The bottom of your toothbrush holder isn’t usually a pleasant sight…and usually full of grime. Place it face down on the top shelf of the dishwasher just like a regular cup and watch it get sparkly clean.
Plastic Toys: Some of your kid’s plastic toys can even be washed in the dishwasher. Cleaning them with rags and chemicals can make them unsafe for your children, but popping them in the dishwasher can be a game changer. Put toys on the top rack to be safe and put smaller toys in a mesh bag to keep them from falling through.
Shelving from the Refrigerator: It’s hard enough to clean the shelving from your fridge. Make life easier and put them in the dishwasher. Place them on the bottom shelf just like a place and watch them get clean! If you find that the shelves are too big, you can always take out the top shelf of the dishwasher to create more room.
Of course, these are just a few things you wash in the dishwasher, but there are many others. We’d love to hear what’s worked for you!
What’s the Smell in My Kitchen?
Have you noticed an unpleasant smell in your kitchen, but you can’t figure out where its coming from? Perhaps you’ve checked the refrigerator, taken out the trash (and cleaned the trash can), but the smell persists? It could be that your kitchen sink is to blame!
The kitchen sink is one of the busiest places in the kitchen. You prep food, wash hands, clean dishes, use the garbage disposal, and so much more. With all the activity, gunk and grime can build up in the drain which can cause some of those nasty odors.
What’s worse is that food and grease can stick to the pipes in your drain, which not only can start to rot, but can also cause clogs if you’re not careful.
So, if you’ve determined that your kitchen sink is to blame for smell, here are some things you should investigate:
Clean and Take Care of the Garbage Disposal
If you have a garbage disposal, when was the last time you cleaned? If you’re wondering why we’re asking that question, we can pretty much assume you haven’t cleaned it. 😊 It’s also important to note what you are putting down the drain. We have some great blogs on maintenance for your garbage disposal and what not to put in there! Check them out.
Check the Drain!
Grease, food, and oil can all build up in the drain, so its important to check it form time to time, especially if you have a smell that won’t go away. You can clear the drain by pouring a cup of baking soda down the drain, followed by a cup of vinegar. We recommend letting it set for 10 minutes before flushing it with hot water. Of course, if it doesn't clear, we’re always here to help.
Check The Trap
Depending on the smell coming from the sink, it may be something trapped in, well, the trap! The P-trap is the curved section of the pipe underneath your sink. It prevents gases and odors from coming up through the drain. Whether the P-trap doesn’t have enough water to trap the odors, or it’s clogged, if the smell seems more like sewer than rotting food, you should check the P-trap.
If the P-trap or other problems aren’t to blame for the bad smell, it very well could be a clogged vent. When the vents connected from your sewer line to the outside become clogged or blocked, it can also cause a smell.
Since vents are usually located on roof tops, its not impossible for these vents to become clogged with bird nests, leaves, or other debris. This one we recommend having a professional look at!
If you aren’t sure where to get started or just don’t have time to deal with the problem, you know we’re here to help. Give us a call today.
So you’ve discovered your garbage disposal is leaking… This is not good, you say to yourself. But before you panic, let’s go through the best way to deal with the situation. There are three places the garbage disposal can leak from and there are different ways to deal with them.
Leaking from the bottom - There are internal seals on the garbage disposal that can wear out over time, which can cause a leak. The fix is to get a new garbage disposal. They can last 5-10 years, so if it has been less time between replacing the disposal, check the warranty on the one you have installed to see if it is still valid.
Leaking from the side - This means that the leak is coming from the drain lines. There are two connections on the side of the disposal, the bottom, bigger hose pipe is the drain out the disposal to the sewage system, and the top, smaller pipe is where the dishwasher drains into the disposal. This is an easy fix. Just tighten the connections to your disposal. The metal clamp that is on the pipes can be tightened with a screwdriver. The main drain line is connected with screws, with a rubber gasket on the inside. So you can tighten the screws, or possibly have to replace the rubber gasket.
Leaking from the top - There is a seal on the top of your disposal that connects to your sink with a plumber’s putty or a flange. This can loosen or rust over time and cause the top of your disposal to leak. To fix it, you can just re-seal the disposal by removing the old putty and replacing it with new plumber’s putty. If your unit has a flange, then you can tighten the screws. It may need to be replaced, if you can’t get it to tighten. This is a bigger job to do, if you are not familiar with garbage disposals.
Some of these fixes, you can handle yourself. But if you find yourself having trouble with repairing these leaks or disposal on your own, you can give us a call at Tony’s Plumbing and we can get it all fixed up and running like new again.
May 24th, 2022
Dishwashers are a god-send. Most of us out there do not enjoy washing dishes. So when our dishwasher starts having trouble, it can get frustrating. One source of dishwasher trouble is a clog. This can be caused by not rinsing dishes properly before running them through the washing cycle. Make sure you clear all bits of food off your dishes to help prevent clogging. If there are bits of food, they can accumulate in your filter basket or drain hose causing clogs.
But how will you know if it’s clogged? Signs indicating a clog can be water backing up in the sink, gurgling sounds, shaking or thumping while the dishwasher runs. Standing water in your dishwasher after a wash cycle also indicates a clog, because leftover food is clogging the drainage basket.
Once you’ve figured out the dishwasher is clogged, how do we fix it? First, clean your drain basket. Make sure it is free and clear of debris. Then you’ll want to gather all the items you’ll need to clear the clog.
If the problem persists, give a plumber a call as there might be a bigger issue. Call Tony’s Plumbing and we’ll get your dishwasher all cleared up and draining smoothly!
Garbage Disposal Woes
One of the worst misnomers in the plumbing world is the concept of the garbage disposal. The name would suggest that you can dispose of garbage in the sink, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. A garbage disposal allows you to avoid a stinky rotting waste bin, and eliminates some of the worry about food waste washing down your drain. Garbage obviously doesn’t belong down the disposal, but neither do a lot of other items! Most garbage disposals are finicky machines that will go on strike at a moment's notice if you try to feed them something they don’t like.
There are numerous food waste items that seem like they wouldn’t be an issue to put down the drain, but actually do a lot of damage if done too often. Another thing to consider before putting something down the garbage disposal is beyond the machine itself. It’s important to think about what you are sending down the drain into your pipes and plumbing. The better you treat your garbage disposal, the fewer times you’ll have to call Tony’s in for repairs!
We’ll say it again for anybody who needs to hear this; do not put coffee grounds, egg shells, or bones down your disposal! Most people are aware of these big issue items, but it’s always good to refresh your memory. All three of these items are solid examples of the mushy clog, fibrous build up, or just too tough on the machinery reasons you should think before you grind!
As a general rule, starchy scraps and mushy items are going to wreak havoc on your system, no matter what they are. You’ve likely put small vegetable or fruit scraps in your disposal, sure. But if you put potato skins in the disposal, you’ll end up with a soupy mess and a nasty clog. The same goes for items like banana peel, onion skins, and other fibrous vegetables.
Oatmeal, nuts, rice or pasta belong nowhere near the disposal either. For similar reasons to above, they break down and cling to each other, binding the gears and coating the drain pipes. These items along with fruit pits and any kind of shell, oyster or otherwise, should be tossed in the trash where they can be disposed of without damaging your kitchen.
You should also avoid putting oil, grease or cooking fats down the drain. Anything that coagulates as it gets cold shouldn’t go down the drain, because it will cause a clog. Even things like paint aren’t a good idea, as it can coat the walls of the pipes to create a slow clog over time.
Biodegradable items can go down the drain safely, and aren’t something to worry about. Your disposal can handle small amounts of food waste, but it’s a great idea to throw out what is waste, or try a compost if that option is available to you. Garbage disposals are a great and helpful part of the kitchen, but they do their best work when you pay mind to what you give them. As your favorite local Oakdale plumber, we are always around to help if you have an issue or even just a question! Give Tony’s a call today!
At Tony's Plumbing & Heating, we offer outstanding residential and commercial plumbing and heating services in the East Twin Cities metro. With our blog, we hope to bring you useful tips and tricks for ever day life!