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Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

A woman using a plunger in a sink with a garbage disposal.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?

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By mytroubleswontgodownthedrain from Washington, DC

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August 21, 20100 found this helpful
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It works! It works! I put cantaloupe peelings in my garbage disposal and clogged it up, but good! I plunged and stomped my foot and cried, but nothing helped. Finally I went online and asked the question to Google and got thriftyfun. I applied 1 cup baking soda followed by 1 cup apple cider vinegar, then let set 10 minutes, then poured two qts. of boiling water down the disposal. I had to do it twice, but it worked! My disposal is running like a charm again! Thanks thriftyfun!

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March 7, 20150 found this helpful
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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.

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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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9 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

January 24, 2020

I don't have money for plumber and my sink and dishwasher do not drain. When I turn on the garbage disposal water just rushes around when turned off the water rises.

I put baking soda and vinegar down the sink, but it did not help.

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Silver Answer Medal for All Time! 425 Answers
January 27, 20200 found this helpful
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First off, does the sink itself drain at all? If not or is slow to drain, that points to a clog in the drain elbow trap below the sink, that will have to be cleaned out. The trap is easy enough to clean. Put a wide and deep baking pan under the plumbing elbow. Unscrew the washer around the elbow and dump the water into the pan. If you can see the clog itself, use something to push the clog out of the elbow. Put the elbow back into place and re-tighten the washer. That should fix the problem. If the sink drains fine but the disposal still isn't draining, then try throwing several ice cubes into the disposal grinding area and turn it on.

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If that doesn't help, then you'll need to TURN OFF THE BREAKER OR TAKE OUT THE FUSE for the disposal, FROM THE MAIN ELECTRIC PANEL, then double check to make sure it's off by throwing the disposal switch on. If sure the power to disposal is off, fold back the rubber flange in the sink for the disposal then look down inside with a flashlight to see if you can identify any clog. If you see an obvious blockage, carefully use tongs OR your hand if it fits, to remove the blockage. If you or a handy friend can't DIY, I think your only hope for a fix IS a plumber...sorry. Good luck!!

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
January 27, 20200 found this helpful
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Normally on the outside of home they have a drain that has a cap on it that can be opened and cleared out. A lot of time just using your garden hose down this pipe will losen the clog and shove it down the drain. If you have put rice in your sink this will clog it up right away.

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I have unclogged my mom's sink on several occassions by just going to the outside of the home and opening up this pipe. Just keep in mind when you put the hose down there will be a lot of food and crap coming out of that pipe so stand back it really stinks.

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June 4, 2018

Garbage disposal works well, but doesn't drain as water is still backed up in sink. I tried a plunger, ice, and then disconnected the t-line which was clear.

The water drained from the sink into the bucket. So the clog is past the t line. Now what do we do?

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 451 Feedbacks
June 5, 20180 found this helpful
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That's the worst, kitchen sink clogs, and it seems to happen to me a few times year.

What I've found that has worked 8 out of 10 times is, I'll put 4 large pots on the stove to boil.

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Then I pour about 1/2 cup of dishwasher powder (Cascade or Finish) down the drain, then I follow with all the boiling water and then I just let it sit, and hope to hear the big GULP, which is what happens after about 30 min or less.

If I don't hear the "gulp", I put more boiling water down the drain, and if that doesn't do the trick, then it is rent a snake time.

Home Depot rents their electric snakes by 4 hour increments, which I've never operated myself, *they seem very dangerous* but the electric ones work 10x better than the non-electric which we have and my hubby does it, and that's only if my boiling water and dishwasher soap trick doesn't work.

Believe me, this works more times than not, as I do everything to try and clear the drain before I have to tell my hubby he needs to rent that snake to spare him, and because I to don't want to hear how I shouldn't be putting any kind of grease down the sink for the millionth time, hahaha

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February 16, 2013

The water will not drain out of my kitchen sink, but the disposal is working. I did the vinegar and baking soda, but that didn't do it. What to do?

By Connie from Kirkland, WA

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 337 Feedbacks
February 18, 20130 found this helpful
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In spite of all the people who will tell you otherwise, vinegar and baking soda is very inaffective in unclogging a sink. I suspect that your drain has something like potato pieces stuck in it. That is what used to clog up mine. I am assuming that you have a double sink, and that the disposal side is draining. If so, get two plungers. Cover the disposal with one, and seal it off. Then plunge the other side. I found that the types of clogs produced by the disposal were able to be cleaned out with a plunger.

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If that is not working, you could try an actual drain cleaning product like Drano -- but you don't put that in the disposal. You must be sure the other side is clogged with something like congealed grease or something like that. No plunging after you have used a draincleaner product. You could cause splashes with that caustic substance, which could be dangerous. (My mother splashed Drano or similar on her fancy coffee maker, and now has discolored splotches all over it. Looks terrible. Luckily, she didn't splash it in her eyes.)

Hot water works sometimes because it melts stuff like bacon fat that is clogging your drain. Vinegar and baking soda produces bubbles of carbon dioxide. I have never known that to work. Baking soda and hot water sometimes work as that is a mild solution similar to drain cleaners -- which are very strong base solutions.

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 174 Feedbacks
February 20, 20130 found this helpful
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When my disposal sink will not drain, it's usually because of vegetable peelings stuck in the u-bend under the sink. I find that a plunger works best (baking soda and vinegar will not remove peelings).

  • If you have a double sink, close the drain on the non-disposer side, then plunge on the disposal side.
  • After a few plunges, turn on the disposal and see if the water drains. Give it a few tries.
  • If all else fails, you will have to remove the u-bend section from under the sink and clean it out.
I have used disposals for many years and never had a problem with vegetable peelings, but either the new plumbing or the disposers are not what they used to be because I frequently have to resort to the plunger to get my sink to drain.

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September 28, 2014

How do I unclog a double kitchen sink with garbage disposal on one side?

By Yvette

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September 8, 20160 found this helpful
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Take a wet/dry vac and suck out what water you can. Put 1/3 cup baking soda down into the drain. Follow with 1 cup white vinegar. Let this sit for about 5 minutes. Then flush with the hottest water you can. This should work and is something that should be done about once a month for maintenance.

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February 12, 2019

The garbage disposal empties water into the sink, but sink will not drain. I went to the outside drain pipe and took the cap off.

The sink drained immediately. I put the cap back on; same problem. I can't find an answer anywhere. Can anyone help, please?

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Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 196 Feedbacks
February 12, 20190 found this helpful

It sounds like you have a blockage somewhere between the sink and the outside pipe since some water is getting through. I don't mess with plumbing things, so I recommend having a plumber come and they will probably snake it out.

We have sometimes deals where I am $99 all inclusive and if you book online they knock off $10. To me it is well worth it as when I was younger and did a DYI plumbing project, I literally cost myself hundred and hundreds to repair the issues I caused on top of my original issue. Just me!

Post back what they tell you.

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
February 12, 20190 found this helpful

It sounds like there is a clog in the garbage disposal.

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February 12, 20190 found this helpful

Hi,

Whenever I have a clog anywhere, I will try to plunge the drain with a plunger. Buy a new plunger, just for the kitchen sink and fill the sink with water about halfway up. Then put in the plunger and plunge away. This can take a great number of plunges. I like to look and see if anything is coming out of the drain.

Just be sure not to put your hands in the garbage disposal. If you have to turn the garbage disposal manually, use the end of a broom, by putting the broom handle into the garbage disposal (that is not on) and turning the broom handle against the blades of the garbage disposal.

Let us know what works for you!


Blessings,

Robyn

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Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
February 19, 20190 found this helpful

If you plan to try this yourself, it would be best to start with a good plunger as suggested and this may be all it will take to get it opened and draining.

If that does not work you will need to work on your disposal under the sink. Just be very sure to unplug your disposal unit before you start any type of work.

Here are 2 very good sites that offer suggestions/instructions for every type of clogged sink. This can usually be done by a novice so read up and see if you are up to the task.

removeandreplace.com/.../

www.familyhandyman.com/.../

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November 16, 2015

My question is similar to some others with one exception: it's not my garbage disposal unit that's clogged, but the pipes underneath it. I'm reluctant to start dismantling the plumbing (I'm no handyman!), so I'm wondering if the solutions offered here for unclogging disposals (vinegar+baking soda, etc.) will still work if the clog is actually below the disposal in the pipes, themselves.

Thanks much.

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November 17, 20150 found this helpful

Wellll, I hate to break it to you, but, I had the same problem, tried all the solutions in my home remedy arsenal, then a drain chemical; the ultimate solution was to call a plumber. He had to cut part of the pipe and snake to the street. Still no idea what did it, but it was pricey enough that from now on I will only use the disposal after I wash dishes, to process the little food scraps from the plates and pans! everything else can go right in the trash!

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

July 25, 2010

My kitchen sink is backed up. Both the drain and garbage disposal are getting full. We plugged the drain and ran the garbage disposal and vice versa.

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March 4, 2010

If your kitchen sink has standing water in it and the pipes underneath are clear, the clog is probably in the main drain pipe. Try this BEFORE you call a plumber.

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October 23, 2009

How do you unclog a sink that has an attached garbage disposal unit?

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