How to easily fix clogged garbage disposal

Published On: November 13, 20142 Comments on How to easily fix clogged garbage disposalTags: Last Updated: April 11, 20249.1 min read

Are you tired of dealing with a clogged garbage disposal and the resulting kitchen drain dilemmas? You’re not alone. A clogged garbage disposal can be a frustrating and inconvenient problem to have in your kitchen. But there’s no need to panic! With a few expert tips, you can quickly fix the issue and get your kitchen back in working order. In this article, we’ll share five tried-and-true methods to unclog your garbage disposal and keep your kitchen drain flowing smoothly. Whether it’s a buildup of food scraps, grease, or other debris causing the clog, these tips will help you tackle the problem head-on. From using natural cleaners to dislodging stubborn clogs with a plunger, we’ve got solutions to fit every situation. Say goodbye to smelly odors, slow drainage, and the hassle of a malfunctioning garbage disposal. With our expert advice, you’ll be able to get your kitchen back to its fully functional and odor-free state in no time. Don’t let a clogged garbage disposal ruin your day. Read on to discover the best methods for quickly fixing a clogged garbage disposal and resolving kitchen drain dilemmas once and for all.

garbage disposal reset

Common causes of a clogged garbage disposal

Before we dive into the solutions, let’s first understand the common causes of a clogged garbage disposal. By knowing what leads to a clog, you can take preventive measures to avoid future issues.

  1. Food scraps: One of the primary culprits behind a clogged garbage disposal is an accumulation of food scraps. While garbage disposals are designed to handle small food particles, large or fibrous items like potato peels, coffee grounds, and banana peels can easily cause a blockage.
  2. Grease and oil: Pouring grease or oil down the drain may seem convenient, but it can wreak havoc on your garbage disposal. As grease cools, it solidifies and can create a barrier that traps other debris, leading to a clog.
  3. Non-food items: Accidentally dropping non-food items like cutlery, bottle caps, or small kitchen utensils into the disposal can also cause a blockage. These items can get stuck in the blades or impeller, preventing the disposal from functioning properly.

By being mindful of these common causes, you can take steps to prevent clogs in the first place. However, if you already find yourself dealing with a clogged garbage disposal, don’t worry. There are several effective methods to unclog it and get your kitchen back on track.

Signs of a clogged garbage disposal

Before we jump into the solutions, it’s important to identify the signs of a clogged garbage disposal. By recognizing these signs early on, you can address the issue promptly and prevent further damage.

  1. Slow drainage: If you notice that the water in your sink is draining slowly, it may be a sign of a clogged garbage disposal. The clog could be restricting the flow of water, causing it to back up.
  2. Unpleasant odors: A foul smell coming from your sink is another indicator of a clogged garbage disposal. Food scraps and other debris can accumulate and decompose, creating an unpleasant odor.
  3. Strange noises: If your garbage disposal is making unusual noises, it could be a sign of a clog. The blades may be struggling to rotate due to an obstruction, causing the motor to strain and produce unusual sounds.

If you experience any of these signs, it’s time to take action and unclog your garbage disposal. Let’s explore five expert tips to quickly fix a clogged garbage disposal and resolve kitchen drain dilemmas.

garbage disposal

Safety precautions before attempting to fix a clogged garbage disposal

Before we get into the specific methods, it’s important to prioritize safety. Dealing with a garbage disposal involves electrical components and sharp blades, so it’s crucial to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself.

  1. Turn off the power: Start by turning off the power supply to the garbage disposal. Locate the circuit breaker or switch that controls the disposal and flip it to the off position. This step ensures that the disposal won’t accidentally turn on while you’re working on it.
  2. Avoid using your hands: Never attempt to clear a clog with your hands. The blades in the disposal are sharp and can cause serious injuries. Always use appropriate tools and follow the recommended methods.
  3. Use protective gloves: To protect your hands from any debris or chemicals, wear a pair of protective gloves. This will ensure your safety and prevent any potential injuries or skin irritations.

By following these safety precautions, you can confidently proceed with the methods to unclog your garbage disposal.

Tip 1: Resetting the garbage disposal

Sometimes, a simple reset is all it takes to fix a clogged garbage disposal. Many disposals have a reset button located at the bottom or side of the unit. Here’s how you can use this method:

  1. Turn off the power: Before attempting to reset the garbage disposal, make sure the power supply is turned off.
  2. Locate the reset button: Look for a small red or black button on the disposal unit. It is usually located underneath the sink.
  3. Press the reset button: Using a long object like a wooden spoon or a hex wrench, firmly press the reset button. Hold it down for a few seconds and then release.
  4. Restore power and test: Once you’ve reset the garbage disposal, restore the power supply. Test the disposal by turning it on and running water to see if the clog has been cleared.

If the reset method works, your garbage disposal should be back to normal. However, if the clog persists, you may need to try alternative methods.

Tip 2: Using a plunger to unclog the garbage disposal

A plunger is not just for toilets – it can also be an effective tool for unclogging a garbage disposal. Here’s how you can use a plunger to clear the clog:

  1. Partially fill the sink: Fill the sink with enough water to cover the rubber part of the plunger. This will create the necessary suction to dislodge the clog.
  2. Place the plunger: Position the plunger over the garbage disposal drain, ensuring a tight seal. Press it down firmly to create a vacuum.
  3. Plunge vigorously: Push the plunger up and down rapidly for about 30 seconds. The pressure and suction created by the plunger should help dislodge the clog.
  4. Test the disposal: After plunging, run water and turn on the garbage disposal to see if the clog has been cleared. Repeat the process if necessary.

Using a plunger is a simple yet effective way to clear minor clogs in your garbage disposal. However, if the clog persists, a different approach may be required.

clogged kitchen sink

Tip 3: Using a wrench to manually rotate the garbage disposal blades

If the reset and plunging methods haven’t resolved the clog, you can try manually rotating the garbage disposal blades using a wrench. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Turn off the power: Before attempting this method, ensure that the power supply to the garbage disposal is turned off.
  2. Locate the hex-shaped hole: Look for a hex-shaped hole at the bottom of the disposal unit. This is where you’ll insert the wrench to manually rotate the blades.
  3. Insert the wrench: Insert a hex wrench into the hole and turn it clockwise and counterclockwise. This will help dislodge any debris stuck in the blades.
  4. Restore power and test: Once you’ve manually rotated the blades, restore the power supply to the garbage disposal. Test it by running water and turning on the disposal to check if the clog has been cleared.

If this method proves successful, your garbage disposal should be functioning properly again. However, for more stubborn clogs, you may need to turn to natural cleaners for assistance.

Tip 4: Using vinegar and baking soda to dissolve clogs

Natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda can be powerful allies in unclogging a garbage disposal. Here’s how you can use this method:

  1. Pour baking soda into the drain: Start by pouring half a cup of baking soda directly into the garbage disposal drain.
  2. Add vinegar: Follow the baking soda with one cup of vinegar. The combination will create a chemical reaction that helps dissolve clogs and remove odors.
  3. Let it fizz: Allow the baking soda and vinegar mixture to fizz and bubble for about five minutes. This will help break down any debris or buildup in the disposal.
  4. Flush with hot water: After the fizzing has subsided, flush the disposal with hot water for a few minutes. This will help wash away any remaining residue and clear the clog.

Using vinegar and baking soda is an eco-friendly and cost-effective method to unclog your garbage disposal. However, if you’re still facing a stubborn clog, it may be time to seek professional help.

Tip 5: Calling a professional plumber for stubborn clogs

If none of the previous methods have successfully cleared the clog, it’s best to call a professional plumber. Plumbers have the expertise and specialized tools to tackle more severe clogs and ensure the proper functioning of your garbage disposal.

When selecting a plumber, consider their reputation, experience, and customer reviews. A reliable professional will be able to identify the root cause of the clog and provide a lasting solution.

Preventing future clogs in your garbage disposal

Now that you’ve successfully unclogged your garbage disposal, it’s essential to take preventive measures to avoid future issues. Here are some tips to keep your garbage disposal running smoothly:

  1. Use cold water: Always run cold water when operating your garbage disposal. Cold water helps solidify grease and oil, making it easier for the disposal to break it down.
  2. Avoid fibrous foods: Refrain from putting fibrous foods like celery, corn husks, and onion skins down the disposal. These items can wrap around the blades and cause clogs.
  3. Cut food into small pieces: To prevent large food scraps from clogging the disposal, cut them into smaller pieces before sending them down the drain.
  4. Regular cleaning: Periodically clean your garbage disposal by grinding ice cubes and citrus peels. This helps remove residue and keeps the disposal smelling fresh.

By following these preventive measures, you can minimize the chances of encountering future clogs and keep your garbage disposal in optimal condition.

Conclusion

Dealing with a clogged garbage disposal and kitchen drain dilemmas can be frustrating, but with the right knowledge and techniques, you can quickly resolve the issue. By following the expert tips outlined in this article, you’ll be able to unclog your garbage disposal and get your kitchen back to its fully functional and odor-free state.

Remember to prioritize safety, follow the recommended methods, and take preventive measures to avoid future clogs. With a little maintenance and care, you can keep your garbage disposal running smoothly for years to come.

Don’t let a clogged garbage disposal ruin your day. Take action today and say goodbye to kitchen drain dilemmas once and for all!

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Leave A Comment

  1. Handyman Tips May 18, 2015 at 9:59 am

    Thanks for a suggestion Michael! Installing a P-trap is another way of dealing with the problem but it costs some money and you have to know how and where to install it! In this article we presented a completely free fix which doesn’t cost anything!

  2. michael May 16, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    I am a maintenance supervisor with a large complex, I say that to say to you ideally you should have a p-trap directly from the disposer. I do these all the time it is easier to remove a P-trap then the way you are having to do it. It isnt hard to install a p-trap