My Funniest Frugal Fix

I fixed my garbage disposal, and I never even crawled under the sink! It was a lovely spring day a couple of years ago.  I had caught the spring cleaning bug, and I was madly re-organizing my kitchen cupboards.  Since I only re-organize my kitchen once a year or so, I came across a lot of things stuffed in the back recesses of the cupboards that were not fit for human consumption.

One of the things I found was a half-used can of protein powder.  I had bought it when I was on a health food kick.  Unfortunately, it made me sick, so I stopped using it, and nobody else in my family would eat it.  So it got pushed to the back of my cupboard, until it was old and nasty.

Being the nice person I am, I like to keep the trash can a lift-able weight for the garbage collector.  My trash was already getting heavy, so I decided the protein powder could go down the drain.  I dumped half a can of protein powder down the drain.  At once.

Now, my mother always used to tell me I was a smart kid with no common sense, and I proved her right again.  As I was running the water for the garbage disposal, I noticed the water wasn’t going down the drain.  And the sink was filling up.

I turned off the water and applied one of my favorite frugal fixes.   I poured a cup of baking powder down the drain and followed it with a cup of vinegar.  Nothing.  More baking soda.  More vinegar.  Still nothing.  In the end I think I used 1/2 a huge box of baking soda and a half gallon of vinegar.  And still nothing.

Finally I admitted defeat and called the landlord.  Needless to say, at 5:00 on a Friday afternoon, my landlord was NOT happy to hear he’d have to spend a Saturday morning fixing my garbage disposal.

Feeling horrible for ruining my landlord’s weekend, I googled “how to fix a garbage disposal.”  I discovered I needed some special garbage disposal tool.  I loaded the kids into the car and headed to Walmart to buy said tool.

We arrived home 20 minutes later (what can I say?  I live close to Walmart), and I braced myself for some hard work.  But when I got to the sink, it was totally clear of any water!  I turned on the water and the disposal, and everything was working just fine.  I guess the excessive amounts of baking soda and vinegar just needed a little extra time to work!

Unfortunately when I flipped the switch to the garbage disposal, I got a little electric shock.  So I called my landlord back, and told him the garbage disposal was fixed, but I had a little electrical problem.  The landlord, in a much happier mood, was there in 20 minutes to fix the electrical switch.  To this day he is still amazed at my ability to fix a garbage disposal with baking soda and vinegar.  I sure earned his respect that day.  He still jokes about my frugal fix.  But it worked, so I got the last laugh!

In my opinion, you can do just about anything with baking soda and vinegar!

Do you have any funny fix-it stories?  I’d love to hear them!

Photo by Mo ToMo.


By , on Mar 19, 2008
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


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  1. Tim:

    Congratulations on the fix! Personally I’ve had to fix tenants garbage disposals after they dumped a bunch of aquarium gravel down the garbage disposal. Who would have guessed, those things dont grind up rocks…geez….Yeah, I wasn’t happy when getting those calls…

    But, what caused the electrical shock problem that you got when flipping the switch? Were your hands wet, or is there a bigger electrical problem?

  2. Ron:

    If you want to have a little fun with your kids, go outside, put a little baking soda inside a balloon, then pour in a little vinegar and quickly tie the balloon. The reaction will inflate it and the kids will think mom is a genius.

  3. You know the moral of this story? Dont throw away your protein powder ;)

  4. My frugal fix involved a garbage disposal too. We had a rusted out disposal with a leak …. so we chewed some gum and “fixed” it until we could afford a new one :P

  5. Very funny story, you are officially entered to win the drill!

    The power of baking soda and vinegar wins again! I will have to keep this one in mind the next time I forget and put the potato peels down the disposal. Seems to happy way to often…..I guess I am a very slow learner!

  6. Well you certainly taught me something! Never knew that.

    I can only imagine how gross the protein powder looked in the disposal. Yuck! :)

  7. It’s pretty fun to watch it work, too (if you’re me). You know, the commercial stuff says to wait 20 minutes or something…maybe that’s sometimes the case with this remedy too.

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