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How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal
How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal
March 06/2024

How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals provide us with a fast and convenient way to minimize the amount of food waste we throw away in garbage bins. However, these appliances can get clogged as a result of improper use, dull blades, grease buildup, and more. A clogged garbage disposal can create an unpleasant and unsanitary situation. If you’re dealing with a clogged garbage disposal and wondering how you can safely unclog the appliance, this article is for you. In this guide, our qualified plumbers at Mr. Rooter Plumbing explain the different techniques you can employ to clean out your garbage disposal.

Step 1: Shut Off the Power Switch and Unplug the Disposal

Always turn off the power to the disposal before attempting any physical work. You can do this by flipping the switch under the sink or turning it off at the breaker box. Unplug the disposal from the outlet for added safety.

Step 2: Perform a Manual Checkup

Once the breaker is off, try to find out what’s causing the clog. Shine a flashlight down the disposal opening to see if you can spot any visible objects causing the clog. If you can spot any objects, use a pair of tongs to carefully remove them. Never reach your hand into the disposal.

Step 3: Use a Hex Wrench or Wooden Handle Manually Turn the Disposal’s Blades

Most garbage disposals have a slot on the underside for inserting a hex wrench—this tool is usually provided with the unit. Insert the wrench and carefully turn it back and forth to try and break up the clog. Do not force it if you encounter resistance. If you don't have a hex wrench, carefully insert a sturdy wooden spoon handle into the disposal chamber and gently turn it back and forth to dislodge the clog.

Step 4: Plunge the Drain

This is a simple drain cleaning technique that you can employ to unclog a garbage disposal. Here’s how it works:

  • Fill the sink with enough water to cover the disposal opening.
  • Use a sink plunger specifically designed for garbage disposals.
  • Plunge forcefully several times to dislodge the clog.
  • Flush the drain with hot water.

Step 5: Remove And Clean The P-Trap

Sometimes the clog may be lodged in the P-trap, located under the sink. The P-trap is designed to trap debris and prevent sewer gases from entering your home. Place a bucket under the P-trap to catch any water that spills out, then carefully loosen the nuts holding the P-trap in place and empty its contents into the bucket. Clean the P-trap with hot soapy water and reinstall it.

Step 6: If All Else Fails, Call A Professional Plumbing Repair Service

If you've tried all these steps and the clog persists, it's time to call a professional plumbing service that specializes in drain cleaning or garbage disposal repair. Skilled plumbers have the expertise and tools to diagnose the problem and safely clear even stubborn clogs.

Trust Mr. Rooter Plumbing for Garbage Disposal Repair

If you’re unable to unclog your garbage disposal with the above steps, call the experts at Mr. Rooter Plumbing for help. We are a trusted plumbing repair service offering reliable garbage disposal services, including garbage disposal installation, repair, and replacement. Call us for garbage disposal repair if you notice the following signs:

  • Grinding or clunking noises from your garbage disposal unit
  • Frequent jamming
  • Leaking water
  • Persistent unpleasant odors
  • Frequent tripping of the reset button
  • Persistent clogs

Contact us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about our residential and commercial plumbing services.