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Clogged Garbage Disposal

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

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

No, baking soda, vinegar and hot water will not help.

Do as Joanne suggests, and look online or in your owners manual. Try the reset button again.

What I did once, (but I would look in your manuals first) is try to turn the grinder with the handle of a wooden spoon - while the disposal is OFF. Mine seemed stuck, like there was still something in it stopping it from turning. This fixed my problem. Do not stick the wooden spoon handle in there when the motor is running.

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November 16, 20110 found this helpful

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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November 16, 20110 found this helpful

Just had the same problem and after paying an electrician. I'm replacing the disposal, so sorry for you and me.

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January 31, 20140 found this helpful

Whoa, why did you say "I am a woman and only know how to call a plumber." Just because you're a woman doesn't make you incompetent and stupid.

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November 7, 20150 found this helpful

she didn't say that. Whoa, are you an idiot?

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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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February 20, 20170 found this helpful

While this is way late for your inquiry, it will apply in the future should it happen again. On the bottom of the disposal unit, dead center, there is a hexagonal "key way" that is there to unlock the binding blade. You use the appropriately sized Allen key available at any hardware store (if there isn't one attached to the side) to rock it forward and backward to free the clog. once that turns freely, the disposal will at least spin and will get you to the next step in un clogging your drain

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