Garbage Disposal Photo by Catt Liu on Unsplash

A Beginner’s Guide to Unclogging your Garbage Disposal

A clogged garbage disposal can lead to many consequences in your kitchen if not unclogged promptly. However, with a few tools, patience, and elbow grease the debris or food blocking your garbage disposal can be removed without having to call a professional. If you are not sure where to start with your clogged disposal, this article will highlight a few key tips for navigating your DIY repair.

Turn off the Disposal

If you suspect your garbage disposal is backed up, the first step is to cut off the power immediately. Newer garbage disposals often are plugged in under the kitchen sink. Older models may need to be cut off from electricity at your fuse box. Even though the garbage disposal may not grind when clogged, the electricity must be cut off to prevent electrocution or injuries from the garbage disposal.

Determine the Clog Source

The next step to unclogging a disposal is to determine the source of the clog. After the power is shut off, shining a flashlight down the drain in the sink can help you have a better view of the disposal. If food is clogging the disposal, try running hot water down the drain for 10-20 seconds. If the water starts backing up, shut it off immediately. Be sure to grab some pliers to try and loosen the debris. If another object is causing the clog, such as a ring or other debris, do not run the water. Instead, proceed with using the pliers to remove the item. If the item causing the clog is expensive, it may be best to call a maintenance technician immediately to prevent further damage.

Unclogging the Drain

There are several ways to try and unclog a garbage disposal yourself. First, try a pair of pliers to reach down into the drain to loosen and remove food such as potato peels. It protects your hands with its narrow structure. Another method to unclog your garbage disposal is to plunge the disposal, similar to unclogging a toilet. When you use a plunger, plunge 4-5 times before peering into the drain with the flashlight. Afterward, look to see if you have dislodged the blockage. Whatever method you use to unclog the drain, be sure to remove all the debris before running water again. If water is able to run and not back up, the garbage disposal is clear. Wait 15 minutes before resuming use of the garbage disposal.

Clogged garbage disposals are inevitable, especially if you are preparing food often and flushing food remains down the kitchen sink. The good news is that consumers can attempt to unclog their garbage disposals in less than 15 minutes with tools easily found around the house. Doc’s Appliance Service has trained technicians ready to troubleshoot your toughest clogs. If you have any questions or need any service repairs, give our professionals a call today at 800-726-7130.
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