A garbage disposal clogged with all sorts of food scraps

How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal

September 21, 2023

Tips for a Smooth Flow

Is there anything worse than a clogged garbage disposal, especially when you’re preparing a delicious meal or cleaning up after a big dinner party? We’ve all been there, and it can be frustrating. But fear not! In this handy guide, we’ll show you how to unclog a garbage disposal and get things flowing smoothly again.

What Causes a Clogged Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposals can become clogged for various reasons. Some common culprits include:

  • Food Scraps: Large food particles like potato peels, eggshells, and pasta can cause blockages.
  • Grease and Fat: Pouring hot grease or fat down the disposal can lead to buildup over time.
  • Foreign Objects: Accidentally dropping non-food items like utensils or small kitchen tools can jam the disposal.

How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal

Now, let’s get down to business and tackle that clogged garbage disposal

Safety First

Before you start, ensure your safety:

  • Turn Off the Power: Locate the disposal’s electrical switch and turn it off.
  • Use Tongs: Never put your hand down the disposal. Use tongs or pliers instead.

The Plunger Method

  • Plug the Drain: If you have a double sink, plug one side to create a vacuum.
  • Fill the Sink: Fill it with a few inches of water.
  • Place the Plunger: Position it over the disposal opening and give it several forceful plunges.

The Allen Wrench Technique

  • Find the Reset Button: Look for the small red reset button on the bottom of the disposal unit.
  • Insert the Allen Wrench: Turn the disposal off, then insert an Allen wrench into the hole at the bottom.
  • Turn Clockwise and Counterclockwise: Rotate the wrench clockwise and counterclockwise to manually dislodge any obstructions.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

  • Turn Off the Power: As always, start by turning off the disposal.
  • Pour Baking Soda: Sprinkle a quarter cup of baking soda down the disposal.
  • Add Vinegar: Follow it with a cup of vinegar to create a fizzy reaction.
  • Wait and Rinse: Allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with hot water.

Preventing Future Clogs

To avoid future headaches, practice proper disposal care:

  • Scrape Plates: Before rinsing dishes, scrape food scraps into the trash.
  • Run Cold Water: While using the disposal, run cold water for about 15 seconds before and after.
  • Avoid Grease: Dispose of cooking grease in a separate container, not down the sink.

By following these steps on how to unclog a garbage disposal and adopting good disposal habits, you’ll ensure your kitchen stays clog-free, and you can get back to enjoying your meals without a hitch. 

Garbage Disposal Repair in Utah

If these tips fail to fix the problem or you would rather have a professional do the job right, know that you can trust the team at Craig’s Services to get the job done. Our team has serviced homes in Bountiful, Utah for many years and is ready to help you ensure your home is at its best. Contact us today to schedule your service appointment.