Did you know that there are only two things that you should EVER put down your toilet?  Did you know a toilet is also called a “water closet?”  Did you know you should only grind food waste in your garbage disposal with cold water?  Why?  “They” say there’s methods to the madness- or madness to the methods…  Either way, we’re here for you!

We are here to offer you some maintenance tips and tricks to help you feel more hands on in your home!  After all, an apartment is still your HOME, right?  (Hint: ABSOLUTELY IT IS!)  So what are some basic must knows for around the house?  Keep calm and read on…

What’s “Flushable”

What’s flushable doesn’t just boil down to what will or won’t cause a clog or backup.  What we put down our toilets can have an impact on our environment- and in most cases a negative one.  If you need to discard hazardous materials such as old cleaning products, paint, etc., contact your local municipality to find out the proper way to do so.  For Dane County residents, visit the clean sweep collection site here.

Ok, back to what can clog or backup a drain.  If there is one thing you take away from this section it should be that there are only two items that should ever be flushed down a toilet: human waste and toilet paper.  Sounds obvious?  We promise, you would chuckle at some of things we’ve found over the years in toilets… but those stories can wait.  See below for a few basic items you should NEVER flush:

  • Baby Wipes
  • Medicine
  • Sanitary Items
  • Vitamins
  • Band-Aids
  • Pet Feces
  • Napkins
  • Kitty Litter
  • Paper Towels
  • Dental Floss
  • Fish Gravel
  • Cloth Items

Resetting Breakers

Another no brainer?  Not quite.  Breakers can be tricky and finicky.  Just when you think you’ve reset them, nope, that appliance still has no power.  So what’s the trick?  Well… when a circuit breaker is tripped the breaker does not shift completely over to the “off” position.  Instead, it hangs out right in the middle between “off” and “on.”  If you simply force the breaker back towards the “on” position, it will revert back to the middle (ie neither on nor off- tripped).  Therefore, in order to reset a breaker, you must move the breaker to the “off” position and then turn it back “on.”  Voila!  POWER (doesn’t it feel good?)!

Garbage Disposals

Ok, so getting a little trickier as we go.  Has your garbage disposal ever gotten an attitude with you and just stopped and ignored your wishes to grind?  Yeah, ours too.  There’s a few things you can try before you throw in the towel and call in the experts.

First, before you EVER work on a garbage disposal or reach your hand inside, eliminate power to the disposal by turning off the breaker (oh my gosh, thank goodness we just went over how to turn off a breaker- how convenient) 😉

Now that safety checks are in place did you know there is a handy dandy reset button on the bottom of every garbage disposal?  When something gets lodged in a disposal the disposal immediately shorts out and stops working.  This is the appliance’s way of preventing further damage to the blades and to the motor.  Once you dislodge or remove the object that caused the appliance to quit, reach underneath the disposal and press the reset button.  Go back to the breaker and turn the disposal back on- Now try the switch again.

Still doesn’t work?  Just humming sounds?  Maybe there is something still lodged in between the blades.  Yup, go back to the breaker, turn it off… you know the drill by now.  Now what you can do is grab an allen wrench.  Use the wrench on the bottom of the disposal to move the blades back and forth until the object is completely dislodged and pull it out.  Press the reset button again, turn on the breaker and flip that switch!  Voila!  Another magic trick!

(But let’s say it still isn’t working… it is now time to throw in the towel and contact your stellar management team)!

Let’s also talk about ways to prevent another hiccup by going over some dos and don’ts.


  • Grind food waste with a strong flow of “cold water” only.
  • Grind food waste material, allowing the disposal and water to run for a full two minutes after grinding.  This permits the disposal to flush water through the drain lines to the main sewer and prevents possible clogging.
  • Flush disposal for self- cleansing.  If your disposal still has an odd odor maybe pick up some cleaner like this.

  • Use hot water when grinding food waste.
  • Dispose of fat and/or greases in your disposal, nor through your kitchen drain.  Grease will cling to the drainpipes and cause clogging.
  • Feed fibrous food waste (corn husks, potato skins, pea pods, celery, asparagus, etc.) into the disposal.
  • Grind hard materials such as bones, fruit pits, cigarette butts, etc.

Now that you’ve got some tips and tricks to try in your home, we hope you feel a little bit more confident the next time your garbage disposal goes down the drain (see what we did there) 😉  As always, please remember that your Gallina Management team is always available for maintenance concerns during and after hours here:

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