Dear Sun Spots: How do you get the sour smell out of a sink? I’ve tried it all, lemon juice, vinegar, baking soda, nothing seems to work. There is nothing ever left in the disposal, I always run it thoroughly. Both sinks smell and it’s disgusting. I’d appreciate some help. Thank you. – T, Auburn.

Answer: In addition to responses from readers, doityourself.com suggests grinding ice cubes in the disposal, along with citrus rinds. This will help clean the blades as well as add a little bit of scent to the area.

We also found the following tips from Tim Carter, a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who writes “Ask the Builder.” He notes that getting rid of an odor problem may take some work since it may be coming from the inside surfaces of the disposal, which could have hardened garbage on them.

He suggests purchasing a rubber test cap that has a stainless steel tightening band on it, which you can find at a plumbing supply store. Plumbers use these temporary test caps to close off the ends of pipes for either water or air pressure testing required by a plumbing inspector.

Next, disconnect the pipe that leaves the disposal from the drain system piping under your sink or from the p-trap under the sink. Attach the rubber test cap to the end of the tubular pipe leaving the garbage disposal and tighten the clamp. Place an empty five-gallon bucket under the end of this pipe in case the clamp leaks or slips.

With the rubber test cap in place, start to fill the disposal with very warm water. If you purchased the right clamp and you have the clamp tightened just right, the disposal will act as if it is clogged and the water will begin to back up into the sink. Stop running the water as soon as the level reaches the top of the chrome strainer basket in the bottom of the sink that connects to the disposal.

Now add one-half cup of powdered oxygen bleach to the garbage disposal filled with water. Oxygen bleach is nontoxic and will not harm you, the garbage disposal, the plumbing system or septic tank should your home be connected to one.

Once the powder is added to water it begins to create millions of tiny oxygen ions that start to soften and attack the rotten, hardened garbage on the sides of the disposal and anything on the side walls of the drain pipe leaving the disposal. The oxygen bleach solution, if left in the disposal for up to an hour, does a fantastic job of sanitizing the unit.

After letting the oxygen bleach solution work inside the disposal for an hour, loosen the clamp on the rubber test cap and let the water rush into the bucket. Reconnect the disposal to the plumbing drain system. Once you have done this, the disposal should be as clean as the day it was installed. It should also smell as good as the day it was installed.

He also suggests that the proper way to run a garbage disposal is to put the garbage in it and grind it up with a strong stream of water running from the faucet. Once you have finished grinding all of the garbage, immediately place the stopper in the large hole at the bottom of the sink and fill the sink with water. As the water is filling the sink, add a generous squirt of liquid dish soap. Fill the sink at least two-thirds full with water.

Once the sink is filled with this soapy water, immediately remove the stopper from the sink and quickly turn the disposal back on.

Dear Sun Spots: Would you or your readers know where I can have a new battery replaced in my cordless Norelco razor? For years Portland Appliance in Portland used to do it for me. The Post Office returned my razor saying “Not deliverable as addressed. Unable to forward.” Have they moved or closed? Thank you. – Joe Cloutier, Lewiston.

Answer: Contact a Phillips/Norelco representative for the nearest service center. It may need to be sent directly to the company. They will need the model number of your razor. Call 1-800-243-3050 from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. They are closed on major holidays. We were also unable to find reference to a business named Portland Appliance, so it is possible they may have closed.

Dear Sun Spots: The Lewiston chapter of The Compassionate Friends (www.compassionatefriends.org/) will hold its 8th Annual Worldwide Candle Lighting ceremony at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 14, at St. Philip’s Church on Route 4 in Auburn. This moving ceremony is in remembrance of all children who have died, regardless of age or cause of death. A vital part of this ceremony is the music, and for this, I am writing.

We do not have anyone to perform for this year’s ceremony. You could be part of a group, a single performer, a guitar player. We need someone to perform one or two songs during the ceremony. You would be free to leave after your performance or you could stay and enjoy the activities and refreshments after. Could you help us out or do you know someone that could? Contact me at (207) 388-2399 or [email protected] if you could help or know someone who could. We will be truly grateful. – Kathy Peters, Chapter Leader, Lewiston Chapter of The Compassionate Friends.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name (we won’t use it if you ask us not to). Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be posted at www.sunjournal.com in the Advice section under Opinion on the left-hand corner of your computer screen. In addition, you can e-mail your inquiries to [email protected]


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