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How to Clear a Garbage Disposal

peels being put down the dink drain into the garbage disposal

Often times, your garbage disposal will stop working. This happens because we take garbage disposal for granted and put down things in there which we should not, like eggshells, banana peels, or even a spoon. Putting down of unwanted garbage into the garbage disposal leads to clogging and sometimes leakage.

There are a few ideas which you can try by yourself to clear out the super jammed garbage disposal.

Tools Needed to Clear a Garbage Disposal

Black and yellow tool box on white background
  • Allen Wrench
  • Flashlight
  • Pliers
  • Hammer

Steps to Clear a Garbage Disposal

Whenever the garbage disposal gets jammed, the first thing to do is to switch off the disposal, otherwise if kept on, it will throw the reset button and can burn up the motor of the garbage disposal.

Step 1 – After switching off the disposal, all you need to do is push the little reset button which you can find at the bottom section of the garbage disposal unit. Run the water and switch on the garbage disposal. If it starts working, your work is done here, and if it does not then move to step 2.

Step 2 – Now for the next step, we will try to reset the garbage disposal with the help of an allen wrench.

man under sink fixing garbage disposal

Switch off the garbage disposal, get underneath it, and find a socket on the center of your garbage disposal. Insert the wrench in the socket and try moving it back and forth to loosen the object jamming the disposal. If it is too tight and difficult to move, try tapping the wrench with the help of the hammer to make it move.

If that too does not work then move to step 3.

Step 3 – Now we will try to find what is causing the obstruction in the garbage disposal.

Remove the sink drain cover, and with the help of a flashlight look inside to find out what is jamming the disposal. Use pliers to remove the object and repeat step 1 and 2. (Try not to use your hands as you can hurt yourself or even lose your finger if the disposal starts working suddenly)

If you could not find anything, then there must be something jamming the blades. Let’s move to step 4.

Step 4 – Sometimes small objects get stuck inside the blades and make them greasy and dull. To clear the blades, turn on the hot water, and put down some dish soap. The soap acts as a lubricant and helps to remove whatever is jamming it by making it slippery. Let the water run for a few minutes until you start seeing soap bubbles at the top of the sink.

Now press the reset button and repeat step 2 again.

By now, we have tried all the steps to clear garbage disposal, and hopefully, your garbage disposal has started working properly.

To test it, switch on the garbage disposal, turn on the cold water and let it fill with water. While the water is running, look for any leaks in and around the garbage disposal to make sure no other part is damaged.

Running water in a stainless steal sink

Step 5 – If even after following all the above steps your garbage disposal is still not working, then you should call a plumber to see whether your garbage disposal needs to be replaced or can it be fixed.

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