Is Your Garbage Disposal Clogged Or Jammed? Here's How To Remove Obstructions And Unclog Your Garbage Disposal
Your garbage disposal deals with a large amount of solid waste, which can cause frequent clogs. Some food items, such as potato peels, oil, and pasta easily become stuck in your garbage disposal and cause stubborn clogs. Thankfully, unclogging your garbage disposal is typically an easy process.
For your safety, always unplug your garbage disposal and turn the power to its outlet off at your home's electrical panel. You don't want to accidentally shock yourself by working next to a live electrical outlet with wet hands or water on the ground. You should also never put your hand in the garbage disposal, as you may accidentally cut yourself on the sharp blades. With these safety precautions in mind, here's how you can unclog your garbage disposal.
Break Up Small Clogs Using Vinegar and Baking Soda
Vinegar and baking soda can remove minor clogs without damaging your pipes or your garbage disposal. Pour a cup of vinegar into the disposal and let it sit for three minutes. The acidity of the vinegar is capable of breaking up minor clogs in the garbage disposal caused by food waste. After the vinegar sits for three minutes, pour two cups of baking soda into the garbage disposal. The baking soda will neutralize the vinegar and begin to foam, which can break up clogs.
Never use caustic drain cleaners to unclog your garbage disposal. Your garbage disposal has a number of plastic parts that will quickly be damaged by caustic drain cleaner. If the drain cleaner doesn't unclog your garbage disposal and instead remains in the unit, it can make further attempts at unclogging your sink dangerous for you or a plumber.
Remove Obstructions From the Garbage Disposal Using Pliers or Tongs
Shine a flashlight into the garbage disposal and check for large obstructions. Hard food waste like chicken bones or corncobs are impossible for your garbage disposal to break apart. They often become trapped underneath the blades of your garbage disposal and either jam the unit or clog the drain. If you notice any large obstructions, use a long grasping tool such as tongs or pliers to remove them from the garbage disposal.
If Your Sink Is Still Clogged, Remove the Garbage Disposal and Unclog the Pipes Underneath Your Sink
If your sink is still clogged even after cleaning your garbage disposal, the source of your clogged sink is further down the line. You'll need to unscrew your garbage disposal from the sink trap and remove it in order to get access to the pipes underneath your sink. Place a bucket and some old towels underneath your pipes before you begin to remove anything – the pipes underneath a sink often contain water and food waste, especially if the pipes have been clogged.
Once you remove your garbage disposal, examine the pipes for any clogs. The pipes underneath your sink are relatively short and can be easily unclogged with a sink auger, which you can purchase at a hardware store. Simply feed the auger gently into the sink pipes until you feel resistance, and then turn it gently clockwise until the hook on the auger snags the clog. You can then simply pull the clog out of the pipe using the auger.
If you don't feel comfortable working with your garbage disposal or the pipes underneath your sink, call a professional plumber to handle the drain cleaning. You also need to call a plumber if you've cleaned out your garbage disposal and the pipes underneath your sink entirely and still have a clogged sink – it's likely that your sewer line is clogged, which requires a plumber's expertise to fix.