A few years ago I walked into the kitchen to find my old roommate shoving an entire tray of uneaten lasagna down the garbage disposal.
“What the hell are you doing?” I asked, as she repeatedly stabbed the noodles with a fork to dislodge them from the container.
“This is what a garbage disposal is for,” she confidently explained.
Incorrect. So incorrect, in fact, that our disposal broke two days later and we had to put in a service request.
“You can’t put things like egg shells down here,” the maintenance technician explained, hand full of egg-shell pieces. “Have you been putting anything large down here?”
“Yes, Liz, anything large that you can recall,” I asked, staring into her murderous eyes.
“Not that I can think of.”
Unfortunately, Liz was not alone in her ignorance. During October 2nd’s Webinar Wednesday, “Tricks of the Trade: Maintenance,” Webinar moderator Paul Rhodes, National Maintenance and Safety Instructor for NAAEI, said the most common appliance-related service request is for the garbage disposal—which should really be called the “food waste disposer.”
Rhodes says residents think their garbage disposal is a chipper, often throwing in bottle caps, fish gravel, tree branches, egg shells, chicken bones and coffee grounds. But as a general rule of thumb, if you can’t chew it, neither can your disposal.
If Liz can eat a tray of lasagna without coming up for air, I owe her an apology—and a congratulatory slow clap.
Lemon and lime minimize disposal odors and ice does help remove debris, but it doesn’t sharpen the blades (there actually aren’t any blades in a garbage disposal). Rhodes says it’s important to educate residents about such things in order to reduce the amount of service requests.
Following are three additional maintenance tips:
1. Mildew—essentially the same thing as mold—appears due to moisture, stale air and the presence of a food source. It craves moisture, which is why bleach is not the best remedy, as it is mostly made of water and simply removes color.
Instead, Rhodes suggests using laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent, both of which have a degreaser that will help fight mildew. You can also leave a thin layer behind to prevent mold from re-growing around a window frame, for example.
Finally—a use for my laundry detergent!
2. Joint compound is often applied to patch up a hole in the wall, but once it is dry, it needs to be smoothed out. Instead of using a sanding block, which spreads dust everywhere, use a wet sponge. It will do the job just as well without the mess.
3. Sometimes a door will “ghost,” or move on its own—a common complaint among residents. To fix this, simply take a hammer and hit the hinge pin on its side. Once it’s slightly bent, replace it into the hinges and tap it down. This will give your hinge a slight bind, which will hold the door in place.
If that doesn’t work, gather up your tools and run to the nearest Target for a Ouija board.
Learn more about Webinar Wednesdays (hosted by NAAEI, Apartment All Stars and Multifamily Insiders), and register for October 24th’s “No Tech, Low Tech, High Tech Marketing Strategies” with Lisa Trosien today.