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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.

Peeling potatoes into a sink with 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.

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

By Alice from Glen Allen, VA

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Answers

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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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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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
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
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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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.

By Scott

Answers

October 14, 20110 found this helpful

Have you ever tried the ehow.com website? To fixing things, the website is a wealth of knowledge!

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October 14, 20110 found this helpful

It kind of depends on where it is plugged. I peeled potatoes one year for a Thanksgiving dinner where I had my families invited. Not knowing any better, I put the peels down the disposal and lucky for me, two of my sons were plumbers. Still, it was so plugged that it was stopped up in the soil pipe! That is the huge pipe that you see in your basement. They had to take it apart and unplug, it was a stinky mess. Moral, never put potato peels down the disposal. After doing that, I never had a disposal since and do not miss it one bit.

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October 14, 20110 found this helpful

I don't know if this would help with starchy potato peels but once many years ago a dish cloth slipped down the garbage disposal without my noticing it. When I turned the disposal on it got stuck. I poured straight bleach in and left it to eat away at the dish cloth. A couple of hours later I ran the water and turned the disposal back on. Success.

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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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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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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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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 9524mom from Phila, PA

Answers

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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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 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, 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 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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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 foxrun41

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 Cajun62234

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December 1, 20090 found this helpful

My garbage disposal is clogged. What should I do?

By Tanya from Flint, MI

Answers:

Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

We called a plumber when it happened to us, and he showed us a little notch on the bottom of the unit under the sink. An Allen wrench fits into it and then you just turn it to loosen the clog. There is also a reset button on the bottom we had to push after unclogging. Hope this helps. (10/18/2009)

By suzanne831

Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

My husband had tried to plunge, it didn't work. Baking soda and vinegar, then hot water. Plunged a few times and it drained out. Saved the expense of the plumber coming out. (10/22/2009)

By tromano

Unclogging a Garbage Disposal

I tried 3 cans of Pepsi and the plunger; it worked perfectly. Thanks for the insight, who would've known? (11/03/2009)

By jcaliber31

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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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