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The Home Depot

How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Plumbing > How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal
How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal

Everyone would love to cook and eat in a clean kitchen. However, a kitchen with a clogged garbage disposal ends up looking unsightly, is dirty, smelly, and attracts insects such as cockroaches. While no one wants a clogged garbage disposal, often the pressures of everyday life mean that we inadvertently put food or other substances into the disposal that cause it to clog. Garbage disposal unit clogging is often caused by insufficient water to wash away the ground waste. It also happens when you grind egg shells, potato peels, banana peels, or coffee grounds in the garbage disposal unit. The small granular waste produced by egg shells and coffee grounds can stick to sludge and cause clogs. The starch and fiber in potato and banana peels too are a potent mix that clogs the drains.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that leaking and clogged drains also be fixed to ensure that cockroaches are denied access to water source. Anything you can do to negatively impact a cockroach and their entire species is a good thing as well. This will ensure that there is a lower chance of the spread of disease which can and will lead to a healthier home environment.

  1. 1.Avoid Chemicals

    When faced with a clogged garbage disposal first try these simple strategies to unclog it. It is best to avoid chemical drain cleaners when you have a garbage disposal unit as these can damage the unit, cause health hazards in your kitchen, and frequently do not work.

  2. 2.Strategies To Unclog Your Garbage Disposal

    When faced with a clogged garbage disposal first try these simple strategies to unclog it. It is best to avoid chemical drain cleaners when you have a garbage disposal unit as these can damage the unit, cause health hazards in your kitchen, and frequently do not work.


      1. Switch off power to the garbage disposal and then check the garbage disposal for the presence of a hard object just as a bone or metal piece that could have been accidentally introduced into it. If you spot such an object, just remove it using tongs and flush the garbage disposal to ensure that water now flows quickly and smoothly. Never use your hands to remove particles from a garbage disposal unit as you are likely to get injured.


      2. If that does not clear the clog, the trap on the waste discharge side of the garbage disposal could be clogged. The garbage disposal usually manages to grind all the food waste placed in it but without plenty of water the ground waste just sticks to the outlet pipes. This sludge is what causes clogs. Most often the clog is located in the waste trap. This is the S or P shaped pipe or plumbing that is located after the garbage disposal unit. Place a lined container under the waste trap to ensure that any water or sludge does not land on the kitchen floor, remove the trap and clear it of the clog before replacing it.


      3. Sometimes the clog is in the plumbing line that enters the wall or beyond it. In such cases you need to use a sink auger to clear the obstruction. To use an auger, first ensure that the trap is safely removed with a container kept under the trap to catch any drips and spills. Use a pipe wrench to loosen the slip nuts on either side of the trap. After removing the trap, extend the auger cable into the flat portion of the pipe. Once the cable touches the clog, pull out 12 more inches of cable and then tighten the set screw. Once this is done you need to turn the crank handle gently but firmly. Keep extending the cable until you have cleared the entire length of the clog. Now fix the trap back and turn the hot water faucet on to flush the drain and ensure that all debris is washed away. If you are too busy to do all this or do not want to purchase an auger and learn how to use it, just call a licensed and reliable plumber to come and unclog your garbage disposal for you.


    3.Save Time and Money by Calling a Plumber

    A clogged garbage disposal can cause ill health or force you to order food because you are unable to use the kitchen as you should be able to. By choosing to retain a plumber to unclog the garbage disposal you will be able to use your kitchen and enjoy both the cooking and the food. While the unclogging of a garbage disposal is fairly simple, a professional plumber can relieve you of the chore.


    If you need help on preventing any more clogs in your garbage disposal, be sure to check out Pro Referral's how-to guide.

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