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Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

Unclogging a garbage disposal can be a nasty job. This is a guide about unclogging a garbage disposal.

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November 28, 2010 Flag
5 found this helpful

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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Anonymous Flag
October 18, 20150 found this helpful

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

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December 24, 2013 Flag
10 found this helpful

After deciding to send potato peelings and carrot peelings down the drain, I immediately regretted it. They had gone past the disposal, but had clogged the pipe. I was home alone with 2 kids under 3. I happened upon this post and saw the baking soda and vinegar as well as a plunger tip.

So I took the plunge. I plunged the sink a couple times and got the clog loose. Then for good measure I did the baking soda with vinegar, let it sit while a kettle of water boiled. Then poured that down. Works like a charm!

As soon as I tell my husband, he is sure to say "I told you so" about the peelings going down the drain. But I fixed it myself. You live, you learn.

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    March 18, 2010 Flag
    4 found this helpful

    My waste disposal is jammed. The blades are going around because the water is spinning, but it won't drain. Any ideas?

    By Rebecca from TX

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    November 18, 20130 found this helpful

    I had no idea about the potato skins! After reading about the vinegar, baking soda and hot water, tried it and Zappo! No plunging needed, less than a minute my drain was totally clear. Thanks a million.

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    January 4, 2015 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    Disposal apparently disposed of about 14-16 egg shells. However, the sink then began to fill with water and dirty grit. About a week earlier, I had about 3 ft. of cast iron drainpipe in the basement removed because it was badly cracked and repeatedly filled with pumber's epoxy. The dishwasher drain had been improperly connected into the cast iron pipe years before, so the plumber had to do a new connection into the new plasic drain pipe. I'm not sure whether I had run the disposal between the repairs and when the grit started filling up into the sink. But I had run water into the sink, the primary sink side I usually use. It has now been about 2 days of not letting water go down that sink, so I assume the disposal is empty. What should I do to ensure that dirty grit isn't filling up into my sink through the disposal? I'm worried that perhaps a lot of cast iron pipe fell down into the pipe when that section was removed. I don't have a picture and the water has now gone down. There is only grit on the surface of my sink.

    By Beverly

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    January 9, 20150 found this helpful

    It is not uncommon to get a back up in your sinks when you have a disposal. I have some questions for you - does the disposal sink run water easily now? If so, I think your problem is solved. Is the dirty grit sand or ground up egg shells or something else?

    I would seriously doubt that replacing a pipe in the basement would affect your disposal. If it is ground up shells, and these are still there, your trap may be plugged. What I used to do is run water in both sinks. Work the plunger in the disposal sink. If it is the trap, the gunk will rise up in the other sink. Plug that sink with something; another plunger is the best thing. Then plunge vigorously in the disposal sink to dislodge the plug. If this doesn't solve your problem, call your plumber back. Do not use any caustic cleaners in your disposal sink.

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    November 14, 2011 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    Like a dummy, I put tangerine skins with seeds into my garbage disposal. I turned it on and the light over my sink died as well as the disposal power. I turned the power off and let the water drain from both sinks. Then I used rubber gloves and cleaned all the mess. I used a flashlight and it looked quite clean.

    I turned the power back on, pushed restart button, but the blades did not turn, only humming. Will baking soda, white vinegar and hot water help? I am a woman and do not know what else to do except call a plumber. By the way, I can turn one of the blades manually with my finger, it seems quite loose. Many thanks for any suggestions.

    By A B

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    July 2, 20160 found this helpful

    I agree!! I fix EVERYTHING in my house. My husband just says "throw money at it" but I want to fix it myself and I know I can. My kids see this and that makes me feel good.

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    January 14, 2013 Flag
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    My disposal still runs, but water won't go down drain.

    By Pam

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    September 6, 20130 found this helpful

    If you have a dishwasher attached to the main line by the garbage disposal - run it. It unclogged my garbage disposal from too many potato peels, when all the other suggestions wouldn't.

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    October 14, 2011 Flag
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    My wife put carrots and potato peels in the disposal and it is just a plugged up mess. It spins, but will not not drain. Any suggestions before I call the plumber? The disposal sits in the middle of the sink; it's not a divided sink.

    By Scott

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    October 18, 20110 found this helpful

    Try pouring in a 1/2 cup baking soda followed by a cup or two of white vinegar. Run the disposal. If that doesn't loosen try a second cup of baking soda followed by pouring another 2-3 cups of vinegar from the gallon bottle, With the disposal and water running as well. Follow with a pan of boiling water.

    Then run cold water from the tap.Hope this works for you. It does at our house. And then run a weekly 1/2 cup baking soda and cup of vinegar down all drains in the house. Always follow with cold water to flush through. GG Vi

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    March 23, 2013 Flag
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    My brand new KitchenAid dishwasher doesn't drain completely. There are about 3-5 cups of soapy, dirty looking water standing in the bottom of the dishwasher after every load. This is the 3rd dishwasher we have had in this same spot in the kitchen and we have never had this problem before. We cleaned our disposal and used vinegar and baking soda to get the disposal and drain to run freely, but the problem remains. Any suggestions?

    By Mary G

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    February 2, 20140 found this helpful

    It's the drain and chopping mechanism. You have to take it apart and pull all the gunk that has made it past all the screens and filters. This happened to me and I thought I had the problem solved having exposed the chopping mechanism and pulling about about 2 dozen bits of chicken bone, corn, popcorn kernels, beans and bits of plastic. Well, I hadn't gone far enough into the machine and had one more cover to remove and more crap to pull out. That did the trick!

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    July 25, 2010 Flag

    When using my kitchen sink it fills up with water and I have to run my garbage disposal to get the water to drain. Even then it doesn't drain all the way out. Can anyone tell me what's going on and how do I fix this problem?

    By mytroubleswontgodownthedrain from Washington, DC

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    March 7, 20150 found this helpful

    The Baking Soda + Vinegar + boiling water worked for me! Thank you! Having a party tomorrow. After cooking all out, all day the garbage disposal stopped draining about 10:00 pm. Thank goodness for Google and all you good people who share. Based on an earlier post, I let the baking soda and vinegar sit for about 15 min. Then I added the big pan of boiling water. For about 15 seconds nothing happened. Then all of a sudden it drained all at once with a big whoosh! Luckily I didn't have anything in the other sink basin.

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    October 10, 2013 Flag
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    My disposal spins and the water goes down, but it comes right back up like a tornado. I tried a plunger. What is wrong with it and is there a simple solution? Thanks.

    By Dee

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    October 12, 20130 found this helpful

    It sounds like you have a plug. Most disposals are in a double sink, and you have to seal one off and then use the plunger on the other one. I find that two plungers (and two people - one on each plunger) work the best. Seal off the second sink with the first plunger, fill the disposal with water, and plunge away with the second. Disposals are usually plugged with ground up food, like potato peels.

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    December 12, 2013 Flag
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    I read that vinegar, baking soda, and hot water was used to unclog the disposal. How much should I pour into the disposal?

    By Judy

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    December 15, 20130 found this helpful

    Cleaning a Garbage Disposal

    Toss in a handful of baking soda followed by a cup or so of cheap white vinegar. This will foam and fizz. When the fizzing stops, add some more vinegar. Leave it in for about 20 min, then flush with very, very hot water. Easy, homemade and cheap, also non-toxic.

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    July 2, 2009 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    My disposal gets clogged, when using the dishwasher and backs up into sink. How can I stop this?

    By rooney72 from NY

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    January 10, 20160 found this helpful

    I've done baking soda and vinegar several times and cleaned out both traps. Still bubbling over and not draining. What next, please?

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    December 29, 2011 Flag
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    My drain is clogged in the the sink next to the garbage disposal. Every time I run the disposal the water comes up on the sink next to the disposal.

    By Pete

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    December 30, 20110 found this helpful

    Pour about 1/4 cup dawn dish detergent in the sink drain and let sit for about 15 minutes. Then pour a kettle of hot water in the drain and use a plunger to clean out the drain. This should get the drain cleaned out and flowing good. I saw this tip on Thriftyfun and it has worked well for me.

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    September 10, 2009 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    My garbage disposal runs and grinds up the food but the food just stays in the bottom. Is something clogged and if so, how do I unclog it?

    By 9524mom from Phila, PA

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    September 11, 20090 found this helpful

    Perhaps you are not running enough water while the garbage disposal is on? Perhaps you put some items in the disposal that are not supposed to go in there, like banana peels? That is all I can think of.

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    November 28, 2010 Flag
    0 found this helpful

    My garbage disposer drain won't drain. The disposer motor comes on and spins the water around and I see a flow of water coming out from the left side of the drain under the drain guard. All I did prior to this mess was put a bunch of old cabbage down the disposer. Help.

    By Lin

    Answers:

    Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

    The problem is probably the pipe under the garbage disposal being plugged. Try putting some drain cleaner in the left drain (which leads to a common pipe) to see if that will help. (08/21/2010)

    By pamphyila

    Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

    Run a little water into the sink and use your bathroom plunger. Always works for me. (08/24/2010)

    By Noella

    Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

    I have been without the use of my kitchen sink for days because of a garbage disposal clog. I even tried a plumber to snake the drain. I saw this blog with recommendation of baking soda and vinegar. I had to do it twice. The second time I went for broke and used 1 cup of each. I poured hot water down drain and then plunged until my hands hurt. I have my disposal and sink back Thank you so much! It really works. (11/09/2010)

    By ecorbrn

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    August 19, 2010 Flag
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    My garbage disposal will not drain. I tried the vinegar/baking soda/boiling water thing, as well as the plunger. The funky water retires to the top of the disposal/bottom of the sink level. When the disposal is turned on the water level sucks down an inch or so swirls around. When turned off it comes erupting up a few inches, then fills the sink about an inch or so, then slowly drains back to starting position.

    By Stan from Kansas City, KS

    Answers:

    Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

    Use 1/3 cup of white vinegar and 1/3 cup of baking soda and let sit. Use plunger. If it doesn't work, repeat. You don't have to turn on the disposal because it automatically will go down. We had to do it twice before it went down and you have to plunge it a lot. (07/13/2010)

    By joj129

    Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

    Your trouble is in the trap below the water level.
    You will have to scoop out the water, then you can unscrew the elbow from below, having a bucket underneath to catch the little bit of water you can't scoop.

    Once that is clean, keep these tips in mind.

    Rice, spuds, and other starchy fibrous veggies will swell and you will literally have glue.
    Don't use celery, cantaloupe skins, meat, or fats, or bones in it.

    Most people just stuff it full, then turn it on, then add the water.

    It goes water first, then a little of the substance at a time, then water still on for about 15 seconds to wash it down the drain.

    I guarantee that you will find what I have come to affectionately call "food buggers" so wear gloves.

    Good luck! (07/13/2010)

    By Poor But Proud

    Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

    If after you clean out the elbow as described in the previous post it still doesn't drain it could be a partial or complete clog in the vent pipe. You may need a snake to fix it. (07/14/2010)

    By Cleo1978

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