How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink Garbage Disposal

There’s probably nothing as annoying as a drain clog. A congealed lump of grease, a slimy wad of hair, a discarded toy or a food buildup can block the drain and cause an unpleasant buildup of water in the sink. You have probably experienced this before and already probably have an idea what to do to resolve such a problem – by calling the plumber, of course – but we’ve gathered a few tips here to help you deal with a kitchen drain problem on your own, especially one that involves the garbage disposal.

Step 1:

If you suspect that the drainage problem is caused by fat buildup or food residue, try pouring a pot of boiling water down the drain. After which, pour 1/4 cup of baking soda and let it sit for a few minutes. Follow it with 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup of hot water. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes and allow the bubble to erupt from your drain. The chemical reaction between the baking soda and the vinegar will loosen up any stubborn slime or sludge that gathered at the bottom of the drain. Give the drain a final hot-water rinse to wash off the clog goodbye, and then run your garbage disposal for 5 to 10 seconds.

Step 2:

If the clog is in the garbage disposal unit, especially the blade area and won’t go away with the baking soda-vinegar combo, roll up your sleeves, put your gloves on and remove the clog yourself.

  • Begin by unplugging the garbage disposal from the electrical outlet.
  • Get a flashflight and shine it into the clogged drain sink.
  • Look for any foreign objects that may have caused the blockage, such as a meat bone, a toy, a plastic, or pulverized banana peel. Sometimes, you’ll be surprised to see stuff in there that shouldn’t be, such as toys and baby spoons.
  • Pull the object from the drain using needle-nose pliers or a pair of tongs. You can also large tweezers and even your hand – just make sure the unit is unplugged! Carefully reach inside and pull out whatever that shouldn’t be in there.

Turn on the garbage disposal and run it for a few seconds to check if the drain runs clear. If it is still clogged, the problem could in the dishwater drain pipe that connects to the garbage disposal.

Step 3:

You will know that the clog is in the drain pipe if the water won’t drain out of the sink even when the garbage disposal blades run perfectly. This situation calls for a plunger.

  • Begin by clamping the end of the dishwater drain line where it enters the garbage disposal (particularly the disposal nozzle). This is to prevent the drain hose of the dishwater from popping off the disposal nozzle when you plunge the sink drain later.
  • Place the plunger over the sink drain, making sure that it completely covers the drain basket. Run the faucet to cover the plunger with at least 1/2 inch of water. Push and pull the plunger vigorously for 6-8 times. Lift the plunger and check to see if the drain is clear. Repeat the steps until the clog is removed.
  • Pour a pot of hot water down the drain to clear any residue.
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