Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

My garbage disposal is clogged after putting down a handful of frozen turkey. It spins, but will not drain. Where is the clog and how do I unstop it?

By Alice from Glen Allen, VA

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December 3, 20101 found this helpful

Crawl under the sink with a flashlight and look for the 'reset' button. It's usually on the bottom of the disposer.

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December 3, 20101 found this helpful

You might have to take the trap apart and clean it out too.

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August 25, 20160 found this helpful

where is the trap located?

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December 5, 20101 found this helpful

This was the best technique ever! One thing I did differently was that I plunged the side of the sink that wasn't clogged. The clogged side was so clogged that it had too much pressure to get the plunger to go down. I plunged for maybe 10 minutes and then it was clear.

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December 8, 20101 found this helpful

My Father-In-Law threw a bunch of potato peels in the disposal and stopped it up. Thank you so much for the tips. The hex wrench didn't do anything, but the vinegar, baking soda, hot water and a few plunges did the trick. The sound of the disposal working was music to my ears. We certainly could not afford $200 for a plumber to come out and fix it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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December 9, 20102 found this helpful

Yes, this worked. I ended up using 3/4 box baking soda; 3/4 bottle white vinegar, waited 10 minutes then used 1 kettle of boiling water, had to plunge very little and voila, it's working again. Thank you so much for this great idea. Saved me a ton of money! I had thrown carrot and potato peels down there and I know better than that. Felt really dumb as I knew this was gonna happen and that I was taking a chance. Anyway, thank you so much for this tip!

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August 7, 20160 found this helpful

Yay! It worked for me, too! I didn't have baking soda, but used vinegar and plunged several times. Eventually, the clog unlodged and the water ran free. Whew!!

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December 18, 20101 found this helpful

I had this exact problem today and was able to fix it by following the advice posted here to use baking soda and white vinegar. I used a 1/2 cup of baking soda and a 1/2 cup of white vinegar on both sides of the sink, waited 30 minutes, poured a kettle full of boiling hot water down the disposal side, waited a few minutes, and then plunged the disposal side until the standing water began to drain. It worked! Thank you so much! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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January 2, 20111 found this helpful

To unclog my sink with two drains (one disposal, disposal side clogged):

Scoop out excess water from clogged drain

Baking soda & vinegar down both drains.

Wait 20 minutes.

Run disposal to stir things up (10-20sec).

Wait a few minutes and unplug grinder.

Fill sink with hot water as high as I could (for water pressure).

Stick hand in unit and find the hole that water goes out.

Mine is about the size of my finger.

Plunged with finger directly in the hole (using a plunger on the clogged side only made it come up the relief. Worked finger back and forth vigorously...lol, sounds dirty, but someone had to do it. And it was dirty).

Plugged it back in, ran more water and clicked it on.

Voila, fixed.

Potato and carrot skins that were the perpetrators.

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January 9, 20111 found this helpful

Thanks for the tip. After avoiding my clogged sink (who knew artichoke leaves would totally choke my sink to death... oops!) for a couple days after trying to scoop everything out, plunging, running the garbage disposal, I was ready to call a plumber when I found this post. Thank goodness. A box of baking soda and what I had left of a bottle of vinegar, a pot of boiling water, a toilet plunger, and 30 minutes later my sink is back in business and I can do all those dishes that have been piling up! Whew! Thank you!

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January 22, 20111 found this helpful

Baking soda, vinegar, hot water & using the toilet plunger worked for me this morning. I was very skeptical, but the suggestions here turned out well for me!

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January 26, 20111 found this helpful

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

This method worked beautifully, the very first time.

I poured a bottle of white vinegar down the disposal drain followed by a half a box of baking soda. Let it sit for 30 minutes. Then I poured boiling water down the drain and let it sit a couple minutes and then started plunging. Took a good 5 minutes of plunging, but it finally whooshed free the clog and the beautiful sound of draining water could be heard.

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February 27, 20110 found this helpful

I tried the boiling water and drano Maxgel. I was out of baking soda. Plunge! Plunge! Plunge! Nothing was working. I called a friend and he told me to fill up both sinks half way with water, stuff a wash cloth in the drain on the non-disposal side and depress the plunger completely and pull up to suck the potato peeling out. I did this three times and it came out! I didn't have to break out the tools or lie on my back so I could experience the joy of sewer water splashing on my face, or worse, fork over $200 to admit defeat and watch the plumber do the same thing. Today is Sunday. Why didn't I call him Thursday when it first happened? I will next time. Three cheers for Brian!

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March 13, 20111 found this helpful

Wilted bagged lettuce stopped up our disposal. After reading these posts I put 3/4 c. baking soda and 3/4 c. vinegar down each drain, followed by 2 c. hot water. Within 10 minutes I heard the lovely gurgle of the disposal draining itself. Now both drains are working more efficiently. We are going to do this every few months or so just to keep the slimmy sludge from building up. Thanks to everyone for your posts.

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Anonymous Flag
March 17, 20110 found this helpful

I love you all. Potato peels in the disposal caused a nasty clog, and in desperation to fix it before my husband got home, I checked out this site. I used the suggestion of filling both sides with water, plugging the non-disposal side with the stopper, and then plunging the disposal side slowly and deliberately, and 6 plunges later., gurgle gurgle gurgle!!! Hooray! Thank you!

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Anonymous Flag
March 18, 20110 found this helpful

It works! I had a bunch of butternut squash peelings and carrot peelings and potato peelings down the sink and it clogged it super bad. I used the baking soda and vinegar and plunger and after waiting like 10 mins I plunged like 4 times and it drained! Awesome!

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July 6, 20110 found this helpful

I've never had a garbage disposal before. I put pasta, then eggs shells, grape stems, and final potato peels. Clog. Baking soda, vinegar, boiling water, and 2 plunges, success!

Thank you all so much for the advice. I didn't have to call anyone.

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July 28, 20110 found this helpful

I have plunged, snaked, taken all the pipes out underneath the sink cleaned put back together and water filled up both sides ,dishwasher tube and the dishwasher now have water in them.I am frustrated!

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November 16, 20110 found this helpful

Our service man suggested running ice through the disposal to preform a good simple cleaning. Next cut a fresh Lemon in half and run it a little longer. When company is due this eliminates bad odors your sink.

To be really thrifty when you dine out and are served something that includes a piece of fresh lemon save it to be used later.

Kitkat

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November 20, 20110 found this helpful

The vinegar & baking soda fix works great. Make sure the power is OFF first at the breaker box. The mix causes a reaction that breaks up the clog.

My clog was sweet potato peels (and an old disposal - I knew better).

After taking the pipes apart and looking for the clog, I put those back together, and put 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 baking soda in the disposal side and let it sit about 15 minutes. I then ran some hot water in that side of the sink, plunged for about 5 minutes, and voila, the clog came up and the water drained. It's good to collect as much of the clog as you can and throw it in the trash.

Turned the power back on and ran the disposal a few times to ensure it was cleared. Problem solved. A big thanks to the suggestions below regarding the vinegar and baking soda! Glad I don't have to find a plumber right before the Thanksgiving holiday weekend!

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December 25, 20110 found this helpful

This was awesome. The baking soda + vinegar + hot water + plunging worked! I only had white wine vinegar, about 1/2 cup of baking soda left so I used that on the clogged side (I also didn't take out the excess water...not saying that helped, I'm sure I should have done this).

I let it sit for about 10 minutes, then plunged for about 2 minutes and it was unclogged! Orange peels were the culprit. My mom used to tell me how "great they make the sink smell" but I'm an idiot and didn't realize I had eaten almost a full bag of Cuties clementines and peeled them all in the sink. Lesson learned.

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March 20, 20121 found this helpful

So you decided to be super lazy and huck the carrot peelings down the disposal instead of putting them in the trash. Nice move! Now your sink is looking like the swamp thing is about to crawl out of it with standing nasty water moving from one side to the other every time you turn on the disposal. Not to mention the dirty looks your spouse is shooting at you. Sound about right? Well before you shell out 2 hundred on the plumber from your already thin wallet try the following - it will most likely work.

1)Dump 1/2 box of baking soda down both sides of your two sided sink.

2) Follow that up with a chaser of about 1/2 cup of nose pinching vinegar

3) Let your concoction sit for about 10 minutes.

4) Nuke or boil a large bowl of water. Send that down the drains about 50/50 on each side.

5) Give it a few minutes...

6) Now turn on the hot water tap and fill both sides up halfway in the basins.

7) Use a drain plug and stop up the non-disposal side basin.

8) Reach into that gross fowl water and hold the plug in place.

9) Go to town with a plunger on the disposal side. Go ape on it for about 5-10 minutes.

10) Listen for the sweet swoosh of the clog clearing

11) Do a victory dance and bust the icky shuffle by your snaring spouse! 12) If this does not work try reversing the plug and plunge the other side.

13) If that does not work have fun taking off all the pipes under the sink and snaking it, only to learn after putting it all back together that your sink is still clogged. I see 1-800-roto-rooter in your future. Good luck!

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August 19, 20120 found this helpful

This works every time I do it. When I follow all of the steps correctly it works like a champ. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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August 19, 20120 found this helpful

Followed the directions posted by "clogssuck" after using two bottles of liquid plummer. This worked beautifully for me! Spent over $20.00 on liquid plumer and what worked was spending $2.00 at the dollar store for the vinegar and baking soda. I had eggshells, potato peels and grease clogging my sink.

A big thanks to "clogssuck" and yes I did my "victory dance!"

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Anonymous Flag
October 24, 20120 found this helpful

Clogsuck is right! My husband is traveling for work right now and I tried Clogsuck's method before I went damsel in distress and called a plumber. The water in my sink wouldn't drain at all ... The disposal was spinning but water and food were coming up rather than going down the drain. After I poured in the vinegar and baking soda, the water gurgled and fizzed but didn't move so I was dubious, but after 30 seconds of plunging, it all went down and the clog has cleared. I heart you, Clogsuck! (Now there's a sentence I never thought I'd say!)

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December 25, 20120 found this helpful

Clog suck rocks. My wonderful but bonehead sister in law put a ton of potato peels in the disposal - instant clog. Tried plunging, snake, cleaning out the elbow. Nothing worked. Was about to make Christmas dinner for 14 without a working kitchen sink a real hassle, but this worked great! Thanks!

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May 20, 20130 found this helpful

I made a bonehead move and made a lazy/horrible decision to put sweet potato peels in my garbage disposal......CLOG! I found this forum and used the vinegar, baking soda, boiling water, and plunger solution on here and it worked!! No need to call a plumber and spend $200 or more dollars on it. Before you call a plumber, try this first. It worked for me and was easy. I recommend putting water in the non-clogged side and use a stopper in it while you plunge the clogged side. You can hear the "swoosh" sound of the drain flow once you've plunged enough.

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November 24, 20130 found this helpful

OMG ~ this totally worked and I am one happy girl! My husband has been gone all weekend working and I didn't want him to have to come home to a clogged sink. (not to mention he wouldn't have been very happy with me since this isn't my first clog!) I did exactly what was said and it worked like a charm. thanks so much!

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November 26, 20130 found this helpful

Thank you! Your suggestion worked for the sweet potato peels that clogged my disposal. Lesson learned.

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November 29, 20130 found this helpful

Woo hoo! My wife and I peeled 9 lbs of potatoes and sent them down the disposal before our Thanksgiving dinner. Then we had a total and complete kitchen sink clog! I tried 3 bottles of chemical drain unplugging products and even removed the trap and snaked the line about 18 inches. Still 100% clogged.

My wife decided to call the plumber in the morning but I read this post and thought what the heck. I removed as much standing water as I could, then dumped in 1/2 box of backing soda, then poured in about a cup of white wine vinegar. It sat for 15 minutes while I boiled some water then I added about 4 quarts of boiling water.

Then I filled the sink up with hot water and was getting ready to plunge but the sink unclogged itself! I plunged a little and repeated the process because I had the other half of the box of baking soda. I ran a ton of hot water through it and it is fine.

The total cost was $1.49 (actually I could have done it using only half the box so it would have been $0.75 and I already had the vinegar in my kitchen so let's say that was free). Thanks to this great forum I just saved $200 and my wife thinks I am superman!

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November 25, 20140 found this helpful

Helpful but did not solve my GD dilemma. It unclogged the adjacent sink also. :)

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August 24, 20150 found this helpful

1 more confirmation that the vinegar, baking soda....pause 10-15 min....boiling water method works like MAGIC!

The other key tip I needed to use - picked up from skimming through the 29 responses to this Q and other similar Q's: there's a reset button on the bottom of your garbage disposal which I had to hit to initially since there wasn't even a humming of my g. d's motor when I flipped the wall switch on to try and operate it. Once I hit the reset button, voila - the humming of the motor a few other posters had mentioned. Now I only had the problems of the blades (apparently) not turning and the drain not emptying water, much less solids.

To go back, my problem started 6 weeks ago as I vaguely recall - motor stopped working. Water'd still drain ok. Think I stopped putting any solids in. Then went out of town, figuring I'd deal with it when I got back. Kitchen sinks looked nice and clean, no foul smell when I left. Returned much later than expected - 5 weeks later. Unloaded the clean dishes. Think the sinks remained clean even though the dishwasher had been run - pretty sure - after the g. d. stopped working. Anyway, soon I reloaded and ran the dishwasher and awful stuff (looked like soil plus some spoiled milk remnants (("mother" of the milk)) came up the g. d. and into that sink (have a double sink with g. d. on the far side of the dishwasher.) And said sink drained incredibly slowly over the next 3 or 4 days but then at a standstill and the foul odor became intolerable (I think I had absentmindedly poured spoiled, thickened milk into the g. d. forgetting it wasn't working. Groan!) - so was about to try my never-before-used Zip-it declogging tool (made in America!, from Cobra, highly rated for sink and shower clogs - $5 vs $200 for a plumber) who 1 reviewer of 900 on Amazon mentioned using (successfully!) on a sink THAT HAD A GARBAGE DISPOSAL So decided to google for potentially more frequently endorsed ideas specifically for g. d. clogs and found this great site, hooray!

So, all the (excessive!) details above just in case you have multiple issues like I did and can quickly recognize your problems in my post.

Also, fyi, I had a ton of cider vinegar on hand and used that, not white - worked great...It's the chemical reaction of acetic acid (aka vinegar) and baking soda (forgot the chemical name of baking soda but again the key appears to be the chem reaction, not a minor variation like the (apple) source of the acetic acid. Vinegar is a very weak acid - something stronger and you wouldn't want to be experimenting with it in your kitchen!

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Anonymous Flag
April 21, 20160 found this helpful

OMG! I just tried the baking soda, vinegar and boiling water trick and my disposal drain is clear!

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Anonymous Flag
October 18, 20150 found this helpful

Amazing!!! thank you. It worked like a dream.

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August 1, 20160 found this helpful

mygarbage disposal is clogged after putting onion peels in it. How do I unplug it?

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