How To: Fix a Clogged Garbage Disposal

As annoying as a clogged garbage disposal can be, the good news is that in many cases, you can fix the problem yourself, saving the cost of a visit from the plumber.

Garbage disposals are handy household tools, but if you’re not careful, they can get jammed or clogged. To keep this from happening, it’s important to know what not to put in a disposal. The list includes:

– Fibrous foods
– Coffee grounds
– Egg shells
– Bones
– Glass
– Rubber
– Metal
– Potato skins
– Grease

It’s also important not to overfill your disposal. Plus, always remember to run cold water into the unit as you’re grinding food. Doing so not only keeps the unit cool, but also helps force the garbage through the cutting blades.

If your disposal does get clogged, here are three things you can do to try to fix it. First, see if there’s something blocking the blades. Use a stick of some kind to try dislodging whatever may be stuck. If that doesn’t work, the next step is to check under the sink. Locate the small hole at the bottom of the disposal and reach for the wrenchette that came with your unit. If you don’t have a wrenchette, an Allen wrench will usually do the trick. Move the tool back and forth to free any object that might be lodged in the disposal. If this doesn’t work, it’s possible the circuit breaker may have been tripped. Find the red button at the bottom of  the disposal, and press it to get the power flowing again.

If you’re still stuck, call in the experts. You can find a trusted local plumber quickly using a tool like’s ProFinder.