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Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

Category Plumbing
A garbage disposal will usually breathing sup enough to not clog your sink but it can happen from time to time. This is a guide about unclogging a sink with a garbage disposal.
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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.

July 25, 2010

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. 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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February 16, 20130 found this helpful

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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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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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, 20140 found this helpful

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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By 0 found this helpful
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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July 25, 20100 found this helpful

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. I did laundry about 1/2 an hour before, but while we were doing this I went into the garage and it was flooded.

I don't have the money to call a plumber, so I'm trying to find a cheap way to fix this. I'm supposed to have a slumber party for an 8 year old on Saturday. Please help.

By Monica from Los Banos, CA

Answers:

Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

There is some really good advice in the ThriftyFun archives below. I hope you're able to have the problem remedied by Saturday! (03/05/2010)

By Deeli

Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

Whatever you end up doing, please wear gloves when working with plumbing or sewage. A man near us was trying to repair his own plumbing, got sewage on a cut on his hand and died several days later from the infection. Be safe! (03/05/2010)

By Cathy S

Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

I had this happen. I ran the disposal first to make sure anything in there was dissolved. Then I turned the dishwasher on and when it began to drain I used a plunger and pushed back and forth, hard. The pressure from the plunger and the water pushing up from the dishwasher unclogged the the line. I never found out what was clogging it. (03/06/2010)

By Amy3e

Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

I's always a good idea to boil a gallon of vinegar and pour it down all at once. Be careful not to burn yourself. I always do this first. This has even brought hair clogs to the surface so that I can pull them out. If there is any mold or mildew it will kill that also which will help a great deal. If this doesn't work, it's time to call the plumber. (03/08/2010)

By Stngray

Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

Amy's answer saved us. it worked! We cleaned out the drains, nothing. Then filled the garbage disposal with water, started the dishwasher with the other drains plugged, and it worked. Thanks for the help. (06/06/2010)

By portbayblanch

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March 4, 20100 found this helpful

Unclogged double kitchen sink with garbage disposal? Easy!

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.

What you will need: rubber gloves, old rag, and disposal rubber stopper.

With rubber gloves on, place the disposal rubber stopper in the sink drain. Turn on your disposal while holding the stopper firm in the sink side (it will have a tendency to "pop out").

Turn on the disposal for a short period (no need to run water; you have enough).

As the water level gets lower, use the rag to cover the disposal drain, it's going to start spitting out water and "junk." The disposal will start filling up with water again, repeat the process until all water is gone.

You may need to do this several times depending on the water level. Be sure your disposal side has the standing water in it before you turn it on or you will burn out the motor.

When all standing water is gone, run the disposal as usual. Done!

No need for a plumber, plunger, snake, or bail out the water with a bucket. Yuck!

Warning! Do not do this if you have used any product such as Drano!

By mare1909 from The Badger State, WI

Answers:

Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

I had a clogged sink due to potato peelings and carrot peelings. This suggestion never would have worked. The plumbing was really hosed up. What I had to do was open up the plumbing under the sink and then pull all those peelings out. I never use the garbage disposal anymore because of that. My male neighbor helped me get the plumbing under the sink open and he also helped me close it up, but I had to spend quite a bit of time pulling all the junk out of the pipe. (10/26/2009)

By rosehips

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October 23, 20090 found this helpful

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

win11 from Tucson, AZ

Answers:

Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

It maybe the disposal is causing the clog. You should have an Allen wrench that fits into the bottom of the disposal. Insert and turn counter clockwise. That should free up the disposal. If you don't have an Allen wrench go to a hardware or big box store and tell them what you need so you will get the right size.

If you want to remove the disposal,disconnect the drain trap.Have a bucket ready because most of the water in the sink will run out through the hose. Also disconnect from a dishwasher if you have one jointed to the disposal. While supporting the disposal place the Allen wrench into the mounting lug and turn. The disposal will fall free. If this sounds confusing go to a big box store and they can show you how to remove the disposal. (11/19/2008)

By Harry

Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

Ours sometimes clogs with big pieces of cantaloupe rind which does require taking apart, but if there's smaller stuff in there, I'm pretty sure you can use Draino Foam Snake. Those 2-in-1 liquids are the best! Do not use regular declogger as it does not have the right mix of chemicals to really break down.

In the future, keep blades sharp by "chopping" ice cubes in disposal and fresh by pouring in lemon juice and/or lemon rind. (11/23/2008)

By Gail

Unclogging a Sink With a Garbage Disposal

Look at the posts on this website re. unclogging a garbage disposal. I used the hint of using baking soda and vinegar. I put it in both the garbage disposal and the sink drain; waited about 20 minutes, and poured in boiling water on both sides. The water went down a little. I used the plunger on the sink side. I then stopped up the sink drain and used the plunger on the disposal side. I needed to repeat the baking soda and vinegar and VOILA! all of a sudden the clogs released. I ran the disposal using hot water and ran hot water down the sink drain. To be safe, I repeated the baking soda, vinegar, boiling water steps. What a relief--the sweet sound of water running freely. All total, took me about 45 minutes. Hope this works for you all. (09/09/2009)

By herbgrl

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