Clogged garbage disposal

While it may be fun to test the capacity of your garbage disposal, not all kitchen scraps are meant to be disposed of using your sink garbage disposal.

Troubleshooting and Fixing a Clog: You may have accidentally dropped an object such as a knife or fork down the drain. Maybe you weren’t using enough water during grinding. Or, maybe you placed too much food into the disposer at one time.

Fixing a clogged garbage disposal is relatively easy. The first thing you need to remember when you unclog a garbage disposal is to never use chemical drain cleaners. The chemicals can damage the machine and its plastic and rubber parts.  Similar to the technique for unclogging a drain, use a plunger to push the clog out of the disposal then flush it through the drain line with plenty of water.

If your unit is still jammed, shut off the electricity to the disposal. After the power is off, unplug the disposal or turn off the breaker switch. Even with the power off, always avoid sticking your hand into the disposal. Shine a light into the garbage disposal to see if you can spot an object. If so, remove it with pliers, then turn the power back on and press the reset button.

If the disposal is stilled clogged, consult your user manual for next steps. Every disposal is different and safety is very important when dealing with jammed units.

Preventing a Clog: As always, prevention is the key. Almost all-biodegradable food waste can be fed into disposers. However, these tips can help you to prevent a clog:

  • Disposers should not be used to grind shells from fish, cornhusks, or other material with high fiber content.
  • Never put glass, plastic, metal, or any non-food materials through a disposal.
  • Avoid feeding items such as chicken bones, avocado, corn on the cob, or peach pits to your garbage disposal. These objects can clog or permanently damage your unit
  • Grease and oils can cake up in the drain lines over time causing the drain and disposer to clog.
  • Coffee grounds may become heavy when mixed with water, and can also lead to a clogged pipe. Place them into the trash or compost.
  • Starches such as pasta, rice, potatoes, and beans form a paste-like substance when mixed with water. This can coat the inside of the pipes, harden and clog up the system.

Finally, remember to always use sufficient water when running your garbage disposal. Many people don’t run their disposals long enough. If you turn your disposal off too quickly, sludge and particles can be left behind. Make sure that you have the sink water running into the disposal drain the entire time you are using it. Toss in approved kitchen scraps, and don’t turn anything off for about 5 seconds after food has finished grinding. This ensures that food and any remaining particles have flushed through the system.

If you have a jammed disposer, call NRH Plumbing at 612-900-7728. Our skilled commercial plumbers can handle all of your plumbing problems.