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How to quick-fix half of all appliances in ... AMERICA.

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breadandwine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-06-11 12:20 PM
Original message
Edited on Sun Feb-06-11 12:20 PM by breadandwine

I'm always amazed that more people don't know this. If you have an appliance that won't turn on, check the plug. About half the time the problem is simply that the plug is tarnished, preventing an electrical connection. Clean off the tarnish in that case and the appliance will work fine.

Here's the best way to do it:

Do NOT use chemicals, some of which may be harmful to get in the air if the plug gets warm. Just use ordinary steel wool (dry), preferably very FINE steel wool. If you use coarse steel wool it makes the metal surface rougher, increasing its surface area and hence, likelihood of oxidizing again. Use only plain steel wool, not the Brillo kind that has cleansing chemicals in it.

After cleaning off the tarnish, which takes a lot of scrubbing with the dry steel wool, brush off the metal and tarnish dust you have created, with a dry dust brush. Brush VERY THOROUGHLY. If there is any dust remaining it needs to be removed, since metal dust can cause a fire. Yes, metal can burn.

If you do not believe this, take some steel wool, again, regular steel wool with no chemicals in it and in a VERY safe place on your stove, preferably in a dish made of aluminum foil, touch a match to it. You will see that the steel wool readily lights up and little balls of fire move along the wires of the steel wool for a few moments until the steel wool is oxidized. (You can't use that piece of steel wool afterwards, you have to throw it out.) So yes, fine particles of metal can indeed burn.

If, after shining the plug with the steel wool and brushing thoroughly, you still absolutely can't get off all the dust, remove it by wiping it with a paper towel SLIGHTLY dampened either with water or a solvent such as paint thinner. The dust particles may adhere better to the solvent since it is oil based. But only use a liquid you know will evaporate COMPLETELY with no residue. Both water and solvent are dangerous near electrical equipment. Use more paper towels to wipe off the liquid which in any case should be used only to SLIGHTLY dampen the paper towel. Wait a full hour before plugging the appliance back in. Wait until you are sure that the plug is absolutely bone dry and free of all particles or liquid.


If you clean the tarnish off a tarnished plug, that is very often what caused it to not work and it will often start working fine afterward.

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Paper Roses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-08-11 02:44 PM
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1. Good advice. May I add that sometimes it may also be the
wiring where the wire joins the plug. My husband used to check that too, If all else failed on a small appliance, he had appliance plugs at the ready. Any appliance subject to frequent use may develop an internal break in the copper wire at this joining point.

Many a toaster, iron, coffee maker was given new life with a new plug. Easy to do, just straight cut the old plug off, slide and tighten the new Appliance plug. Never play with the appliance itself. If this didn't work, out it went.

WE also used your method on stove burners. Our electric stove would build up a thin layer of carbon-or whatever-the black stuff on the burner prongs that set into the receptacles under the top.
Out would come the steel wool. Takes a little work but elbow grease is free, new burners are expensive.
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Sienna86 Donating Member (505 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Feb-09-11 07:28 AM
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2. Thanks
After going through a months of problems with three major appliances, I'm beginning to believe that most appliances are made for a very short life span. The appliance repairman and I talked about it. The old Maytag dryer, actually made by Maytag, was repairable. In fact, he really liked that dryer. It was a quality product. He didn't have many good things to say about the quality of most products sold these days.
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