Toothpicks and dishwashers really do not mix.

dishwasher making grinding noise

Last night, I started the dishwasher and began handwashing the other dishes (the official dishwashing person is sick).  After a few minutes, I heard a dreadful noise, and at first, I thought it was something outside.  Then I looked down and realized to my horror that the sound was coming from the dishwasher.

I switched it to the rinse cycle to troubleshoot it a bit, and still the sound persisted.

Mr. FG (who was also sick on the couch with a 104° fever. Oy.) did a quick Google and found that something was probably stuck.

A number of years ago, he and I had taken apart the dishwasher and cleaned it out, so I knew this was not an impossibly difficult task, and I also knew I mostly remembered how to do it.

I also knew that I am waaaaay too impatient about broken things to wait for him to be unsick, so I decided to do it right away.

I had a top and bottom rack full of wet dishes to be washed, after all.

dishwasher rack on floor

I took the top and bottom racks out and began removing the upper and lower spray assemblies.

(I have no idea if that’s the official term, but it sounds legitimate, right?  Right??)

Even before I got the last dishwasher part removed, I could see the problem: a toothpick, swollen with water, was jammed down into the chopper area of the dishwasher.  No wonder things weren’t working right!

I also cleaned out a number of grapefruit seeds, popcorn kernels, a small piece of glass, a small piece of shrimp shell, and various other pieces of debris that dishwasher choppers are not meant to handle.

Plus I wiped out a bunch of slimy goop.  The goop, which seemed like soap residue, was mostly on the top part of this grey circle.

center of kitchen-aid dishwasher

Aren’t you glad I waited to take a photo until the goop was gone??

The only part I got stuck on was removing the chopper cover (I didn’t want to pull too hard and break it!), but Mr. FG googled it, and it was so easy…just lift it up to the right once you’ve removed the screw.

The chopper itself and the chopper screen definitely needed some cleaning too.

After inspecting it, I kind of think the chopper blade could stand to be replaced, but we all know that I was not going to leave my dishwasher unassembled while waiting for a new part to ship.

(Hi, my name is Kristen, and I like everything to be put back together.  Now.)

I’ll think about a replacement chopper blade later.

Once the dishwasher was all cleaned out, it was fairly simple to put back together.

kitchen aid dishwasher repair

And I am pleased to say that the dreadful sound is gone now.

Plus, I think the chopper and the dishwasher in general will function better without all that unchopped stuff in the way.

I have to say, though, I really do not envy plumbers and appliance repairmen because working down on that level is super uncomfortable.

I think this project probably took me a little less than an hour, so I feel like it was worth it to save the $120 a service call would have cost.  Plus, there’s the convenience factor: my dishwasher was up and running in an hour, and I didn’t have to bother calling someone to schedule a repair appointment.

Also, since I’ve done this by myself now, next time the dishwasher needs to be cleaned out (Children live at my house.  It’s gonna need to be done again.), I think I could do it a lot faster.


P.S. I posted a photo of my taken-apart dishwasher on Instagram last night, and a reader responded with #nowhiskers, which cracked me up.  She’s referencing You Don’t Need Whiskers to do That, of course.  And though the person with whiskers in this house is normally perfectly capable of doing this job, it’s pretty handy to be able to do stuff myself when he’s not at home or is sick.

It’s an awfully good time to come to Ting, peoples.

I know that you all are probably super busy with holiday prep right now and aren’t really thinking about slashing your monthly bills.


There’s a time-sensitive offer from Ting Wireless, my super-frugal cell phone service provider.

(Home of the $21 cell phone bill I enjoy for two iPhones.  Yes, indeedy.)

$21/month smartphone plan through Ting Wireless

Ok, so, here’s the deal.

Sometimes you have to pay an early termination fee in order to break your current wireless contract and come to Ting.

(Most people find that Ting’s savings calculator makes it pretty clear that you’ll be money ahead in no time, despite paying an ETF. But I digress.)

Normally, Ting pays 25% of the ETF (up to $75), which is pretty marvy-fab.

But, until January 5th, they’re increasing that to 50%, up to $150 per device!

Plus, if you open your Ting account through any of the links on my blog, you also get a $25 credit toward a phone purchase or toward your bill.

So, you could get up to $175 in credit if you switch now.

the frugal girl smartphone

We’ve had Ting for a little over a year now and are super-duper pleased both with their service and with the low bill/no contract combo we enjoy.

If you want more details about their service, hop on over to read my original post about ‘em.

And if you’re still unsure about Ting, you just might want to know that Consumer Reports rated them number one in pre-paid service recently.


P.S. Ting did not used to support iPhone 5S and 5C, but they now do, and I also heard that they will be supporting the iPhone 6 shortly as well!

Me, I’m just plugging along with my iPhone 4s, which still seems mahhhvelously advanced compared to the brick phone I previously owned.

Unrelated P.P.S. I’ve been keeping an eye on Be Frugal for my cashback this month and for a lot of stores, TopCashBack is still beating them.  But I made a purchase at Novica yesterday and discovered that Be Frugal offers 12% cash back. Yay! So, if you signed up for your $10 account opening bonus and are looking for some cashback opportunities to help you meet the minimum payout, consider Novica.

I had some coupons in addition to the cashback, so I paid only $3 for a jewelry item (a future birthday gift for a certain girl at my house.)  Totally pleased about that.

P.P.P.S.  In case you missed the update yesterday, reader Allison correctly guessed all of the cookie decorators! If you’d like to satisfy your curiosity, I added a photo to the post with the decorators identified.


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