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How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal – A Guide for Homeowners

Unclog a Garbage Disposal

One of the cons of having a garbage disposal unit is having it become clogged with food debris and other items. And when you have a clogged garbage disposal, it is hard to ignore the loud noise it makes. Not to mention that it will also prevent you from using your sink.

To help you with your garbage disposal, we’ve compiled some of the best ways to unclog your garbage disposal.

What Causes a Clogged Garbage Disposal?

Before discussing the remedies, it’s essential to understand what causes garbage disposal clogs.

Here are three common culprits:

Overloading With Food Waste

Garbage disposals aren’t meant to handle large amounts of food particles at once. Overloading can cause food scraps to become lodged in the disposal drain, leading to clogs.

Coffee Grounds

While small and seemingly harmless, coffee grounds can accumulate in the disposal’s drain, causing blockages over time. They tend to stick to the disposal’s blades and interior, preventing the proper disposal of other waste.

Inappropriate Items

Not all waste is meant for garbage disposals. Certain materials, including fibrous food waste like corn husks or celery stalks, can wrap around the disposal blades, hindering their function and causing clogs.

Using Hot Water

While some may think that when you pour boiling water into the garbage disposal drain completely clears it, this is not the case. Instead, pouring boiling hot water helps the fats, oils, and other debris that are already stuck in the disposal to break up and spread around.

By understanding these common causes, you can prevent a good portion of garbage disposal clogs.

The Best Ways to Unclog a Garbage Disposal

Causes a Clogged Garbage Disposal

If you already have a clogged garbage disposal, here are some of the most effective ways to get it unclogged.

Use Plunger

One of the simplest methods to unclog your garbage disposal is to use a plunger. If there’s too much food debris caught in the disposal, a plunger can help dislodge it, clearing the path for water to flow. Before you start, make sure to remove any standing water in the sink.

After that, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure to cover the drain opening completely with the plunger.
  2. Apply forceful plunges to clear the blockage.
  3. Once dislodged, clean the disposal with a scrub brush to remove the remaining debris.
  4. If the clog persists, it may be deeper in the drain trap or drain pipes, requiring a more intensive solution.

Manual Checkup

Sometimes, the clog might be too stubborn for a plunger. In such cases, a manual checkup might be necessary. For this, you’ll need an Allen wrench and a drain auger. Turn off the garbage disposal and unplug it from the outlet. Use an Allen wrench to manually turn the blades and dislodge any banana peels or other solid waste that might be stuck. If the clog persists, it could be in the drain pipe or the trap arm. Here, a drain auger comes in handy.

Here’s how to use a drain auger:

  1. Remove the sink drain cover.
  2. Insert the drain auger into the pipe.
  3. Rotate the auger to break up the clog.
  4. Once the clog is dislodged, clean the sink drain and test the garbage disposal.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Method

A staple in many home remedies, the combination of baking soda and vinegar can also be used to unclog a garbage disposal. This method is beneficial as it not only helps to clear the clog but can also eliminate any unpleasant odors emanating from a smelly garbage disposal opening.

Follow these simple steps:

  1. Pour half a cup of baking soda into the drain hole of the garbage disposal.
  2. Follow this up with half a cup of vinegar.
  3. Allow the mixture to sit and work its magic for about 15 minutes.
  4. Instead of pouring boiling water (which we mentioned earlier can spread the clog), rinse with cold water to help solidify any fats or oils and make them easier to remove.
  5. Turn on the garbage disposal to check if the drain is clear.

This eco-friendly method is a great way to deal with a clogged drain without using harsh chemicals.

Let Professionals Do the Unclogging

When all else fails, or if you feel uncomfortable performing these tasks yourself, it’s time to seek professional help. This is particularly true when dealing with more complex setups such as a double sink, which can complicate the unclogging process.

It can often be difficult for homeowners to identify where the clog is when dealing with the twin basins of a double sink. In some instances, potato peels or similar food waste may have been ground up by the disposal and subsequently created a blockage in the connecting pipe between the two sinks.

Moreover, many garbage disposals have unique designs and components that might require specific tools or knowledge to unclog effectively. In such circumstances, it’s always safer to rely on professionals who are equipped with the skills and tools necessary for addressing these issues.

Despite many resources available on how to unclog a garbage disposal, professionals assure you of a job done right the first time around, saving you from potential damages to your disposal unit or plumbing system.

So, remember, if you’ve tried everything and your garbage disposal remains clogged, save yourself the stress and potential mishaps by calling a professional plumber.

Key Takeaways

A garbage disposal unit is a helpful appliance that makes disposing of food waste much easier. However, without proper maintenance and care, it can easily become clogged. Make sure to follow our tips mentioned here and stay vigilant about what you put down the disposal to keep it running smoothly.

If all else fails, seek help from professionals who have the right skills and tools to unclog your garbage disposal in no time.

Call us at Phoenix Plumbing and Drain and let our experts handle the job with ease and efficiency. We offer garbage disposal repairs in Phoenix, AZ, and other surrounding areas.

Contact us today to learn more about our services!

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