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How to Safely Unclog a Garbage Disposal

A clogged garbage disposal is an issue homeowners should not ignore. If you hear a funny sound coming from your kitchen drain when you try to shred the leftovers, you’re right to check the disposal unit. Luckily, there’s a simple fix that will probably unclog your disposal. You should take care to ensure your safety, but if you’re wondering how to fix a disposal that’s acting up, here’s something to try before calling your local plumber.

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A clogged garbage disposal is the last thing you need in your beautiful kitchen.

Shut Off the Circuit Breaker to Your Garbage Disposal Unit

This is step one. Make sure the wall switch is off. Then switch off that breaker. We all know what a disposal can do to eggshells and food scraps. So play it smart. Better safe than sorry.

Find Your Allen Wrench

Your garbage disposal should have come with an Allen wrench (also known as a hex key). This is a handy tool to get any disposal back up and running. If you’re not sure where your disposal’s Allen wrench is, a standard set should have the size you need. Test sizes on the bottom center of the disposal unit (located under your sink) until you find the one that fits.

Once you’ve located the right size to fit your garbage disposal unit, work the tool back and forth in the bottom center slot of the disposal. With any luck, this will dislodge whatever’s causing your garbage disposal clog.

Hopefully, this will do the trick. If not, it’s a sign you’re probably going to have to call your local plumbers. Chances are you need a new garbage disposal.

But… Try This First!

Before you break down and call your residential plumber to unclog the garbage disposal, there is one other DIY solution you can try. It comes recommended in this short video as a post-fix drain cleaning method by Danny Lipford of Today’s Homeowner.

After performing the Allen wrench method, which we do recommend you try first, Lipford suggests pouring baking soda down the drain. Follow this with one 1/2 cup of vinegar. Wait 5 minutes. Then pour boiling water down the drain to chase the baking soda and vinegar. Following these steps will give your disposal a thorough cleaning. If working on the bottom center slot of the unit with an Allen wrench didn’t work, this may help to dislodge the object or objects clogging your garbage disposal.

We hope that one of these methods works for you! If you find your garbage disposal is still clogged after trying these, it’s time to call the plumber. We know that a clogged garbage disposal can be a frustrating discovery in your kitchen. If yours proves beyond DIY repair, give our team of residential plumbing experts a call. Our team has been unclogging garbage disposals in Central Ohio for years! We’re happy to take a look and recommend a course of action.

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