How to unclog a garbage disposal?

Even if you followed our advice on what and what not to put down your garbage disposal, clogs can (and will!) still happen. It happens generally because 1) something foreign – like a fork – was dropped in by accident, 2) too much food waste was inserted at once, 3) not enough water was running to flush out the garbage or, 4) your garbage disposal has a peculiar diet and wouldn’t digest something properly.

Don’t worry! If your instruction manual provided no good advice on how to unclog a garbage disposal, try these suggestions:

First, switch off the electrical power located near the disposal. If there is no switch try locating the main power panel and remove the fuse or turn off the breaker.

Next, take a look inside and see if you can locate the clog. Remove the drain cover if you can and use a flashlight if necessary. NEVER stick your hand inside. Even if you turned off the power you don’t know if there’s some sort of malfunction that may run the disposal. Once you’ve located the clog, use some pliers, tongs, or an extractor to remove the stuck object.

If your garbage disposal is clogged because of food waste and you can’t get it unjammed with an Allen wrench, stick a wooden spoon or something similar inside and try to rock it back and forth to free it. You should be able to feel the impeller moving freely once the clog is removed.

Finally, wait 15 minutes for the motor to cool before switching it back on. Push the reset button to restart the device.