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Do you stick your hand down the garbage disposal?

I don't. EVER. It is an irrational fear, but I don't care. I won't go after a spoon, a clove of garlic that slipped away, nothing. Lucky for me I have a DH who does this without a second thought.

He makes fun of me relentlessly about it.

Just wondering if it is just me?

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  1. not without putting a piece of duck tape over the switch... and checking to see noone is near it..

    1. My hand's too big. I have DW do it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: junescook

        I have to remember that: "honey, my hands too big, can you stick your hand down here?"

        1. re: bobbert

          I am having visions of "Man Hands" (Seinfeld c.?).

      2. Yes but my fiancé has to stand on the other side of the room away from the switch.

        1 Reply
        1. re: melpy

          Me, too. I make sure DH is happily settled in his chair on the other side of the room.
          Though he never runs the disposal anyway, even though he does the dishes every day.

        2. I am unreasonably terrified of the thing. I hardly use it at all, and I certainly would never dream of putting my hand in there!

          1. I use tongs to go after whatever is in the disposal. No way is my hand going in there.

            2 Replies
              1. re: pinehurst

                Ditto on the tongs. Our disposal doesn't have a regular switch--you turn it on by twisting the drain cap/strainer and I'm afraid it will somehow turn itself on.

            1. Creeps me out but I do it. Sometimes a little bone or an errant plastic thingy gets in there and I have to fish it out. I hate it.

              1. This is probally why there are so many scenes in scary movies with garbage disposals....

                4 Replies
                1. re: girloftheworld

                  Yeah, but wood chippers are in the really scary movies.

                  1. re: Tripeler

                    At least with a wood chipper you can dispose of the container and contents all in one!

                    1. re: jrvedivici

                      Garbage disposal I will do, but wasn't there a horrible scene with a blender in Gremlins? I be never looked at one of those chairs on the stairs things the same either!

                      1. re: Kalivs

                        i asked on another thread about knife storage and now knife magneits are begining to scare me

                2. Yes. I do double-check that it's off, but then I don't have a problem.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: PegS

                    ok I am soooo puting this on my room mate questionaire...
                    "are you willing to reach down the disposal"

                  2. Yes. On the other hand, I had a freind cut her fingers badly while making pesto in the blender.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: emglow101

                      Eeuwww. I hope she didn't serve that pesto.

                      1. Often. And I am also prone to dreaming up any manner of those "Final Destination" type freak accidents. Go figure.

                        1. Nooooo! This made my feet tingle just thinking of it.

                          1. Yes. I've found metal measuring spoons, plastic caps, pieces of plastic bags, other stuff. I was very upset at what happened once when I didn't check: one of my precious sterling silver forks got nicked. Now I always check. And instruct everyone else who uses the sink to also check before running it.

                            1. I never do, but my pal "Stumpy" does...

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Tripeler

                                That's funny.

                                I grab stuff I can reach, but my hand is too big to really get in there and root around much. I have to get one of the kids for serious digging.

                              2. Of course I do, because the next time a modern electrical appliance turns itself on will be the first time.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: PommeDeGuerre

                                  It can't turn itself on but a ghost could do it. I guess you forgot about that.

                                  1. No, I use thongs but not for the obvious reason. I am grossed out by the thought of touching the rubber thingy that surrounds the opening.

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: cleobeach

                                      I would just like to say that your spelling error made this the weirdest, most awesomely hilarious post I've ever read.

                                      1. re: Hobbert

                                        Shhhh!!! That's definitely one for the highlight reel. You should have waited to draw attention to it until after the edit period!

                                      2. Like others my hand is too big to fit so it's up to my wife to do it. I've dangled a few fingers from time to time but if I can't get that way it's her job!

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                          How chivalrous of you to put your wife in harms way. This could boomerang back at you in divorce court....:)

                                          1. re: Veggo

                                            Don't try to threaten me with a dream come true!! (just joking honey!!)

                                            And to clarify Veggo, I don't think I'm exactly asking her to take a bullet for me. I mean geeze, if I didn't have fat fingers I would do it myself! There's nothing physically forbidding her from plunging a toilet when it's clogged, but somehow I always have to do it!!!

                                        2. Yes, frequently. But in my kitchen, standing in front of the sink means you're body blocking anyone from getting near the switch so I figure odds are in my favor.

                                            1. No problem for me for two reasons.

                                              My hand is too large.

                                              I don't have one.

                                              1. Not since my Mom tried to kill me.

                                                1. Yes, sometimes popcorn kernels get stuck and the tongs aren't good enough to get them out. But I always use a flashlight to pinpoint the jammed kernel before sticking my hand in. But for larger items I use tongs.

                                                  1. So have we all been conditioned by movies to think that these things can somehow turn themselves on, or is this some inborn fear of accidentally started garbage disposals?

                                                    It's not just us. Try googling of "irrational fear of garbage disposals";

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                      I can think of at least three apartments/houses over the years where there was a disposal switch on the same plate as one of the kitchen lights (make that four, lol, I just rechecked the current kitchen -- taped that down the first move-in day). And we almost invariably flipped the wrong one walking in, and the result was an unexpected loud grinding and a panicked re-flipping of switches lol. Who the f*#@ designs this way, two switches that pretty much no one wants to have tripped at same time?

                                                      So though I know the disposal won't start itself, flipping that switch carries previous experience and emotions. Bad design leads to irrational association = fear.

                                                    2. Never. Absolutely never. Haven't you seen those movies? Just never!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Jpan99

                                                        Was thinking of this thread last night during a re-run of a season 1 Supernatural episode. Plumber comes in to fix the disposal, carefully disconnects the power and sticks his hand in. I stopped looking because I knew what was coming.

                                                        TV Tropes calls it the Hand in the Hole.

                                                      2. Yes, all the time and then my immediate next thought is "hmmm, this is probably not a good idea." There are often a few things which get down there somehow like rubberbands from produce which I need to fish out and I'm not sure tongs would work.

                                                        1. Me? Stick my hand inside a garbage disposal? No way!
                                                          Depending on what & how it's stuck, there could be a huge amount of kinetic energy stored there....

                                                          1. Yes, but I unplug it first. One hand surgery (not disposal-induced, but still) made me a little more wary of any blades near my piano-playing fingers!

                                                            1. NEVER!!!!!!
                                                              you are not irrational.

                                                              it all depends on one little switch that looks like a light switch.

                                                              if it was in a workplace, it would have a lock-out and all kinds of precautions.

                                                              (ps - same applies to unplugging all small appliances before sticking hands, knives, spatulas etc in to them - and/or lifting the bowl off them, disengaging beaters etc.

                                                              why would you risk it?

                                                              1. This made me think of Stephen King's "Fire Starter", where character was told to put his hand in disposal and turn it on... and DID!!

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: kseiverd

                                                                  That was the first thing I thought of too.

                                                                2. wow. I never knew that I was so much braver than the average c'hounder. I now have the kind that turns on using the "stopper" so it seems really safe. But before that we had the kind that had the switch under the sink, and that one didn't worry me either. In vacation rentals I've had ones that have a switch behind the faucet, and even then it wouldn't bother me, as long as I keep my eyes on the switch.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                                    Yea me neither. I have the disposal with the switch right near teh light switch which is on the backsplash behind the sink so at least I can keep my eye on it so no one walks in and flicks the light and the InSinkErator.

                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                      Well to be fair, I don't think this thread represents the average chowhounder. Polls like this probably attract mostly those who can relate.

                                                                    2. Not only do I have an irrational fear of sticking MY hand down the disposal, I can't watch anyone else doing it either. If something falls in, I use tongs to fish it out.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: ludmilasdaughter

                                                                        I can't watch, either. If something falls in, I call my husband and then go to another room while he does whatever he does, usually with fingers in my ears and loudly saying "lalalalalala."

                                                                      2. So I guess I'm the only one who isn't afraid of it accidentally turning on as much as I don't like the thought of what kind of mushy gloppy stuff is down there? And I usually have to pull the rubber splash guard out in order to fit my hand far enough down to actually grab stuff. EWWW. I always run the water for a little while to try to rinse it out before I stick my hand down there.

                                                                        ps: i don't mind sticking my hand in a mixing bowl of mushy gloppy stuff, but I can see what that is, I just don't like running into it unexpectedly.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                          As I was reading these posts I was thinking about all the gross stuff down there. I always use tongs but if I did stick my hand down, it would be my left hand with a latex glove. I don't want my right hand chopped up if I have a choice. I also have an irrational fear of lighting the grill and always turn my face away in case it explodes. The rest of me can catch on fire but my face will be spared. (BTW, not bragging. Just average looking. )

                                                                        2. Whenever I'm fishing something out of the disposal with tongs, I'm reminded of an episode of Frasier where either Frasier or Niles was making coffee and the other one was fishing something out of the disposal with his hand. The one making coffee starts grinding the coffee beans and the other just about haves a heart attack thinking it was the disposal. That scene alone would keep me from reaching down there.

                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                          1. re: dmjordan

                                                                            Yes .. I am a licensed plumber. In my own house, I make sure I have a latex glove on, and I had installed a service switch under the sink next to the disposal. This there are two switches, so if someone turns on the switch on the wall, the unit will still not run. The house in Fla. has the type with the magnetic stopper, and there is a service switch below as well.
                                                                            I tell my guys who service disposals to turn off the circuit breaker in the electrical panel first before working on these units.

                                                                            1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                              My disposal in Colorado seized up and as a non-plumber I was pleased at how easy it was to buy and install a new one.

                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                Actually a direct replacement of the unit with the same utility connections is about 2 hours work for the average DIY....someone who has good hands can do this work, surely.

                                                                              2. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                Have you heard of any personal experiences with freak garbage disposal accidents?

                                                                                1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                  Accidents yes...Freak no.

                                                                                  Usually pilot error

                                                                            2. I used to. Stupid. I don't do it anymore. There is a scene from a movie with William DeVane called "Rolling Thunder" which will cure you of ever doing that.

                                                                              1. Of course. It is off and nothing is going to happen. You also need to clean that things occasionally and yu will be disgusted the first time you clean the undersides of the rubber flaps.

                                                                                1. Thank you all for your spirited responses! I got tons of giggles reading each of them, more than once!

                                                                                  1. I have no problem with it as long as I am the only person in the kitchen (which I usually am).

                                                                                    1. I suspect I will never, ever have a garbage disposal again. Had one for a year in graduate school. It terrified me. It's not my only irrational fear, and it's less a pain in the behind than my irrational fears of going through automatic car washes and putting air in my tires.

                                                                                      1. Only if the cat is missing.

                                                                                        1. My dad always sticks his hand down the drain, I however, get shivers at the mere thought of sticking my hand down the drain.

                                                                                          1. I wouldn't go after a clove of garlic, but I have stuck my hand to retrieve a fork or spoon when there's a horrible noise that says there's flatware down there. Sometimes it's not salvageable :( but you still have to get it out. The switch is only a few feet away so there's no chance that someone would turn it on when I'm doing this. I always take the rubber ring off first so I can see what's down there.

                                                                                            1. I do but I live by myself, so I don't have to worry about anyone else tripping it.

                                                                                              1. Yes, when necessary. Ain't no thing.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                  Ain't no thing, agree. You have to if you don't want to frequently replace your garbage disposal and nicked sterling silverware. It's money, money, honey.

                                                                                                  1. re: maria lorraine

                                                                                                    Yep. Just changed one a couple months ago. Happy Mother's Day, honey.

                                                                                                2. Thought of this board today. I had not yet run the garbage disposal when I realized my little sugar spoon had "disappeared." Yep, flipped up the rubber stopper and stuck my hand down to get the shiny spoon among the gross stuff. Probably the 20th time I've done this (my switch is under the sink and behind the cabinet ;)

                                                                                                  1. After I answered, I thought you meant while it was on, but I'm very sure you meant while it's off :D Right?! Anyway, when it's on, my fingers don't go past the black rubbery thing at all. I'll shove stuff with other stalky items. I also try to turn my face a little because I worry that something like a bone or piece of hard item may fly out and hit me in the eye.

                                                                                                    When it's off, I actually do wait a few seconds before reaching in. I have read somewhere (maybe it's in the manual for liability reasons) that you shouldn't reach in because it might turn on, so I always worry that I touched something down there that accidentally flip the switch! Therefore, I do it quickly.

                                                                                                    1. I do. Sometimes it's a must because someone has thrown an olive/fruit pit down it. The switch is under the sink so I don't really worry about it getting hit. I usually get in and out quickly though.

                                                                                                      1. I've never once lived anywhere with a garbage disposal. So no. But if I had one, still no. With my luck the cat would turn it on.