Ask Me Anything: Disposal Splash Guard, Oyster Sauce, Computer Toner, New Refrigerator

On this beautiful day as we celebrate America’s independence and offer gratitude for freedoms we enjoy in this land of amazing opportunity and abundance, I want to take a moment to say how grateful I am for you. Your trust and loyalty mean the world to me as we are on this journey together. Have a wonderful day of celebration. God Bless America!

I wish you could see the giant stack of mail I have from readers who have taken me up on my offer to ask me anything! It’s mammoth and I couldn’t be any happier about that. Enjoy this batch of answered questions and then keep ‘em coming!

How do you remove the splash guard on your garbage disposal, where odors hide, for regular cleaning? Sheila

The easiest way to clean in that odor hideaway is to not remove that rubber splash guard at all. Once a week or so, dip a sturdy brush, like a toothbrush or similar kitchen cleaning brush in antibacterial grease-cutting kitchen cleaner (Spray Nine Degreaser is a good choice; other antibacterial products will work too). Then lift up one flap of the splash guard. Scrub off the crud and rinse with cold water. Repeat with each flap until that area underneath is totally clean and rinsed. It takes only a couple of minutes and will make all the difference in the world to keep the sink smelling fresh and clean.

I grew up in Hawaii and your recipe for Asian Stir Fry Sauce (Thank you, Nagi) is very similar to what I like to put in stir fry. However, many of us cannot eat MSG, a primary flavor ingredient in every oyster sauce I have ever seen. Do you know of one that does not have MSG (monosodium glutamate) as one of ingredients? 

Kikkoman Green Label Oyster Sauce has no added MSG. Look for it in your local supermarket, or if not available locally, you can get online at Amazon.

Now that I bought my new black and white computer printer, I need to know the best (cheapest) resource for  replacement toner. Cate

Warehouse clubs have some of, if not the best prices out there on computer printer replacement cartridges and toner. Costco also refills toner cartridges, which cuts down on the price. Next time you’re there, if you are a member, check with the service counter to see if they refill your particular cartridges. If you are not a warehouse club member, my next best suggestion would be to look into Amazon Dash service where you set up exactly the type of toner your printer uses, then when you are low, you just push one button to instantly order the item you have pre-selected. It’s a pretty amazing service.

Thanks so much for your columns in my email every morning! I need a new refrigerator/freezer with a drawer for the freezer. Your thoughts on the best inexpensive?

It’s difficult to give you a specific make and model, but I can help steer you to finding the right refrigerator for you. First, decide exactly the features you want and those you do not want. Identify several models and brands that fit your requirements. Then start watching for sales. Stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s run sales on major appliances very frequently. As for brands, I would run, not walk, away from any Samsung appliance because of its terrible reputation among appliance repair professionals. This is my personal opinion based on the fact that many highly rated repair companies won’t even touch a Samsung appliance, which makes it early impossible to get that brand of refrigerator serviced. The two brands of refrigerator I am most fond of for their reputation, service as well at price points are Whirlpool and GE. If you stick to those suggestions then exercise patience in waiting for the model you want to come on sale, you’ll be nicely rewarded. Hope that helps!

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6 replies
  1. Marla says:

    When our Craigslist (used) refrigerator quit cooling we got a local repair business to send a technician out to see if it could be repaired. It turns out that it would have cost more to repair the old refrigerator than to buy a new one (…this disposable age we live in). Before he left we asked the technician which brand he preferred to work on. He said he didn’t really have a preferred brand but told us in no uncertain terms “do NOT buy a Samsung”. He said (I haven’t verified this with anyone else) that Samsung parts are not stocked in the US (all parts come from overseas). He said there was a woman in our area whose $4000 Samsung refrigerator quit cooling after less than 6 months. They (being an authorized service company) were called in to fix it. After ordering a part and waiting 4 weeks the part finally came in and was the WRONG part. The part had to be ordered again. They were 2 more weeks into waiting for the correct part to be delivered when we talked with the technician. I can’t imagine having spent $4K on an appliance and it being out of commission for almost 2 months after having it less than a year.
    For the record we bought a new Frigidaire (scratch and dent) and have been pleased with it for the most part. It can be a little noisy but we have had zero troubles with it.

  2. sheila tostado says:

    Whirlpool refrigerator blamed for London fire that killed 79
    Officials say the blaze began in a refrigerator-freezer made by a company Whirlpool later acquired

  3. Lorraine says:

    In regard to Samsung appliances, we like them! We have a Samsung refrigerator, stove and washing machine. We have only had one problem, it was with our about 2year old fridge, it froze up. I called Samsung and they told me even though it was recently out of warranty they would have the technicians fix it for free! The techs told me to not block the vents in back panel because they need air flow.
    In contrast my sons GE refrigerator, same age, same issue, in the same week, was serviced out of warranty, serviced by a GE tech cost him $250!

  4. Q says:

    I get my replacement toner cartridges on eBay, Half the price if you search, and so far, they have worked as intended. I choose North America only for this particular product. Refilled cartridges are a responsible choice, but the results are hit or miss, esp. if your printer is still under warranty and could be voided by a refilled cartridge.

  5. Carole Cohen says:

    I have tried the “refill” of printer ink at Costco and was very disappointed to the point of tossing them in the trash and buying new ones.


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