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Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

Category Plumbing
Unclogging a garbage disposal can be a nasty job. This is a guide about unclogging a garbage disposal.
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July 24, 20170 found this helpful

Certain food items such as potato and carrot peelings can cause a clog in the plumbing attached to your disposal. This is a guide about clearing potato peelings from a garbage disposal.

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July 12, 20170 found this helpful

When your garbage disposal won't drain it is typically the sink plumbing that is the culprit. You need to clear the plug. This is a guide about garbage disposal won't drain.

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By 5 found this helpful
November 28, 2010

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?

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By ALICE KLEIN from Glen Allen, VA

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December 3, 20101 found this helpful
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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
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You might have to take the trap apart and clean it out too.

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December 5, 20101 found this helpful
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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
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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.

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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
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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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December 18, 20102 found this helpful
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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.

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It worked! Thank you so much! Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

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January 2, 20111 found this helpful
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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).

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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 22, 20111 found this helpful
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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, 20112 found this helpful
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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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October 14, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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By Scott

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October 18, 20110 found this helpful
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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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Anonymous
January 10, 20160 found this helpful
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This is UNBELIEVABLE!!! 6 potatoes, 12 carrots, thought for sure RotoRooter was in my future. 2 rounds didn't work. Let it sit with vinegar and baking soda while I boiled a FULL kettle of water (took 25 min!). Turned on disposal, poured with eyes closed and prayed. Nothing for 15-20s and then some gurgling and all of a sudden- WHOOSH! Total miracle worker. THANKS SO MUCH!

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November 14, 20110 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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November 15, 20110 found this helpful
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There should be a reset button on the bottom of the disposal motor.

Look under your sink and see what brand the disposal unit is. Then look up the manual online, if you don't have one. Use the manual to find out where the reset button is located. If you can't find the manual, then just look on the bottom-side of the motor. There should be a small button or switch.

Hope this helps!

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November 16, 20110 found this helpful
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Have you got this sorted yet?

Because the light went out over the sink I'm thinking the problem may have become electrical-losing the light over the sink means the disposal and the light are on the same circuit, and something on that circuit is overloading. It may be one of the seeds has worked its way into a spot that is preventing the blades from turning but the motor is trying-which is shorting your wiring to the disposal and the light.

If you haven't already and if it is even possible to do so, unplug the disposal and see if that gets your light back on. If that works, you need to have your disposal gone over by someone who is handy, or factory trained to work on disposals. I don't think you can get a service manual online for free.

It may not be possible to unplug the unit if the disposal is hardwired into the circuit. If that is the case don't turn on the light or the disposal until you have a qualified plumber-electrician (or trust-worthy handy type) fix the disposal. You could be looking at a pretty serious fire hazard otherwise.

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January 4, 20150 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
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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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December 12, 20130 found this helpful

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
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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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By 0 found this helpful
September 10, 2009

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 Marianne from Phila, PA

Answers

September 11, 20090 found this helpful
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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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By 0 found this helpful
March 11, 2013

Paint poured down my disposal. Will baking soda and vinegar clear it?

By Russ J. from Ft. Collins, CO

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November 28, 20100 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 pam munro

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 Georgia

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August 19, 20100 found this helpful

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 Jo

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 Sandi/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 Stephanie

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July 13, 20100 found this helpful

How do I unclog a garbage disposal using apple cider and baking soda?

By Joel from Kansas City

Answers:

Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

Take the allen wrench that came with the disposal and insert it into the hole at the bottom of the disposal and turn it counterclock wise. If you have lost the allen wrench go to a big box store and buy one. The size of the wrench is a standard size. The people in the plumbing dept should be able to help you locate one. Then after using it tape the wrench to the disposal so you know where it is the next time you need to use it. (12/02/2009)

By Deanj

Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

I hope you meant apple cider vinegar, and not just plain apple cider?

To keep the drain lines clean from food fat/grease buildup, occasionally heat up about 1.5 gallons of water, pour into a bucket; then add 1 cup of TSP (trisodium phosphate) and pour into the disposal while it is "on", be careful not to spill this mixture onto the sink surface. It will dull/discolor. but it will definitely clean out the drain line. Years ago, it was used for cleansing car radiators.

Oops, forgot to answer your question. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drain; then pour 3/4 cup of vinegar (clear one). Let it remain for about 30 minutes, then pour 1-2 qts. of very hot water. This should eliminate the stubborn drain. (12/02/2009)

By Cajun

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December 1, 20090 found this helpful

My garbage disposal is clogged. What should I do?

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October 16, 20090 found this helpful

How do you unclog a garbage disposal?

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June 18, 20090 found this helpful

How do I fix a garbage disposal? It is stuffed up and won't drain.

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January 30, 20090 found this helpful

I think my garbage disposal is clogged. How can I unclog it?

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