How to unclog a garbage disposal by yourself

Last updated on November 20th, 2023 at 12:04 pm

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Many bad things can happen to a garbage disposal if you are not being careful enough. One of these things is the clog of your garbage disposal. There are so many reasons why the clog occurs: putting garbage and waste in a rapid way in the disposal, not running enough water to flush the drainpipes and dropping an object into the disposal.

Knowing how to unclog a garbage disposal may seem easy; however, make sure to check your owner’s manual to see if it contains any valuable advice on what type of food products are allowed into your disposal or if it simply helps remove the clogs. If that doesn’t help, follow these simple steps to learn how to unclog a garbage disposal successfully:

How to unclog a garbage disposal

1. Turn off your garbage disposal:

Before making any further steps, please do make sure that the power is off of your disposal to prevent any injuries, you either need to shut off your electrical power switch, or if you can’t find it just remove the fuse which powers the unit.

2. Define what is clogging your disposal:

You may need a flashlight to see what is actually causing the clog and act upon it, for example if you notice something other than food such as an object or a valuable thing, you either have the choice to remove it yourself if you’re confident enough using a pair of pliers, or you may need to call a professional plumber to remove it safely.

3. Never pour any chemical product in your disposal:

Pouring chemicals in your disposal can corrode the plastic parts of your waste disposal and thus causing more damages to it. So it’s a NO NO.

4. Use a plunger:

After using a pair of the pliers, you may need to use a plunger to lift out even more food debris that you couldn’t reach with the pliers.

When you’re done applying these steps, all you have to do now is waiting 15 minutes at least before turning on your garbage disposal again because the motor needs some time to cool.

5. Turn on your disposal:

Now turn on your disposal and run some water to see if it works again, if it does, then you’re all set!

Sometimes when plunging and removing debris don’t help, you may consider disassembling and cleaning the P-Trap. A P-Trap is a pipe which is connected to the waste disposer. There is a good chance that this pipe got some buildup, so cleaning it will get your disposal to properly work again.

Following up with your garbage disposal

Undoubtedly, when your unit clogged you were so upset and frustrated because you didn’t know what to do or maybe it was the first time it happened, now that you got it back to work, you need to make sure that this won’t happen again in the future. These following practices are your way to go.

1. Stop throwing large stuff into your disposal:

The way a garbage disposal is designed and built is to only grind food, other objects like chicken bones or plastics are not healthy for your unit and will prevent it from performing properly.

2. Flush your disposal:

A good practice is to always flush your waste disposal unit with cold water when it finishes grinding food. And don’t forget to run some water because it eliminates any food sticking to your blades or pipes.

3. Use lemons once a month:

Here is a cool tip: lemons are good for cleaning your disposal, plus they keep a nice odor. So once or twice a month use lemons to clean your unit and remove any buildup left.

Additional note

All of these are some simple steps to show you how to unclog a garbage disposal by yourself, however, if you feel that something is complicated or unable to do a part of the job, you may want to call a professional plumber to help you sort this problem out.

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