How to unclog Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposal clogging is a too-common kitchen problem that can throw a wrench in your kitchen routine. Clogging blocks waste from passing through your plumbing system and out to the drainage. 

This backup can occur within the garbage disposal unit itself, or further down the line in your pipes.  A garbage disposal clog occurs when food or other waste gets trapped in the garbage disposal system or the drain pipe connecting to the wall.

Identifying Causes of Clogging

But why does this pesky clog happen? The answer lies in what goes into the drain. Despite the name, not all “garbage” can be handled by your valuable garbage disposal. Certain offenders are particularly problematic, including grease and oily substances, fibrous materials like onion skins or corn husks, starchy foods like pasta or rice, and larger, harder disposal challenges such as fruit pits or bones. 

Factors causing clogging in disposal pipes or drains are

  • Glistening grease may seem harmless enough as it swirls down the drain.
  • It will solidify as it cools, eventually forming a stubborn barrier that water cannot pass easily.
  • Oils cling to the insides of your pipes creating a buildup that narrows the passage over time, leading to clogging.
  • Fibrous foodstuffs like celery strings or corn husks wrap around the blades causing clogs and potentially damaging your disposal. 
  • Starchy foods tend to soak up water and expand. This causes them to stick to the sides of your disposal and pipes, making a mess and causing obstructions.
  • Fruit pits and bones are too hard for most disposals to deal with. Their presence can cause significant strain on your garbage disposal.
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Preventing Disposal Clogs

Prevention is better than cure. So let us talk about how you can avoid having your garbage disposal clog in the first place. Some of the preventive measures can be helpful to stop the clogging in garbage disposal. These measures are:

  • Firstly, you should know well, what you are putting down your drain?
  • Limit the type of materials mentioned above.
  • Always run cold water while using the disposal, as this can help to better process waste. 
  • Additionally, regular care and maintenance, such as using a disposal cleaner or simply grinding up a few ice cubes and citrus peels can keep your device in optimal working order. 

Unclogging the Garbage Disposal 

We will now tackle this little issue step by step. Follow these steps one by one to unclog the garbage disposal pipes.

Disconnect Power

Firstly, turn off your garbage disposal. It is essential for safety. You do not want any unwanted surprises, if you do not adopt this step.

Visual Analysis

Next, equip yourself with a flashlight and carefully peek inside the clogged disposal. What you are looking for is the source of the blockage.

Use of tools

Once you become an unofficial garbage disposal archaeologist and find your culprit. The next move involves pliers or tongs. Never use your fingers to remove anything from the disposal. Safety should always be your top priority when dealing with such equipment. 

Use of Chemicals

Run some hot water through disposal to ensure all loose particles are flushed out. Mix 1/2 cup of baking soda and same cup of vinegar and pour it down the disposal. Let the mixture sit and work its magic for 15-20 minutes. 

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Final Step

To conclude the unclogging journey, rinse it with boiling water. This final cleansing step is sure to remove any residual gunk.


By now you have gained some useful insights into maintaining your garbage disposal. You are no longer the dependent homeowner calling for professional help every time the disposal clogs. Instead, you have transformed into a savvy problem solver that effectively maintains your appliance, saving both time and money in the process. 

Remember, it is crucial to handle this household device with care and respect. Safety first! And whilst we have made it simple for you to tackle your garbage disposal woes. It is vital to note that it does not t replace professional help. When in doubt, it is always best to call a professional to avoid further damage or risk of injury.

For more information on keeping your garbage disposal clean and functioning smoothly, check out our guide on How to clean Garbage Disposal?

Can I use any plunger to stop the clogging?

Yes, you can use any plunger to stop the clogging. Just make sure it’s the right size for the drain. A plunger with a rubber suction cup at the end works best. Push and pull it over the clog to loosen and clear it. Remember to cover the overflow opening with a wet cloth for better suction.

Is it safe to use chemical drain cleaners in my garbage disposal?

No, it’s not safe to use chemical drain cleaners in your garbage disposal. These chemicals can damage the disposal and may be harmful if they splash out. Instead, use natural methods like baking soda and vinegar or call a professional if you have a clog. Always prioritize safety and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

How can I naturally deodorize my garbage disposal?

You can naturally deodorize your garbage disposal by using citrus fruits like lemons or oranges. Cut the fruit into small pieces, run cold water, and then turn on the disposal while putting the fruit pieces in. The citrus will help freshen up the disposal and leave a pleasant smell.

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