Fixing Clogs in the Garbage Disposal


Armstrong Plumbing are experts in fixing garbage disposal clogs. It’s important to fix a clog in your garbage disposal as soon as possible. Not doing so means that you risk damage to your pipes and water damage to the rest of your home.

Your garbage disposal works by essentially chewing the food thrown into it down to a liquid. When the wrong combination of ingredients gets tossed in, this liquid can become solid and sticky and turn into an intractable clog.

Can You Unclog a Garbage Disposal By Yourself?

The short answer? Absolutely. However, it does take a little bit of know-how, elbow-grease, and a willingness to get yourself (and your kitchen) a little bit messy. 

Not everyone is up for unclogging a garbage disposal by themselves. That’s okay! If you don’t feel up for the task or heck, if you just don’t have the time or inclination, that’s when you call the professionals. 

Particularly, we advise you call the professionals in the following situations:

  • Leaking water, creating damage
  • Water damage seen in the walls, floors, or basement
  • Raw sewage smells, which may indicate a problem deeper in the lines

How to Unclog A Garbage Disposal On Your Own

Each of these steps is important; be sure to follow them in order.

  1. Turn off the power at your breaker box. 
  2. Using a flashlight, try to identify the clog. 
  3. Try to remove the clog manually with tongs or pliers.
    1. After you’ve done this, turn the breaker back on and test out the disposal. If it works and drains water, you’re done! If not, go to step 4. 
  4. Turn the breaker off and use a plunger to clear leftover scraps. 
    1. After you’ve done this, turn the breaker back on and test out the disposal. If it works and drains water, you’re done! If not, go to step 5.
  5. Turn the breaker off and combine baking soda and vinegar to clear the problem.
    1. First, pour 1/4 cup of baking soda into the garbage disposal. Then, pour 1/2 cup of white vinegar over the baking soda. Be ready with towels in case of a foamy mess.
    2. Do NOT use store-bought drain cleaners like Drano! Disposals have plastic parts and these products can harm them. 
    3. Once again, turn the breaker on and test the disposal.
  6. If all the above fails, it’s time to call the pros in. 

Regular Garbage Disposal Maintenance

As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is especially true for anything related to plumbing, where water damage can spread quickly and cause a whole host of problems.

  • Run cold water when you run your disposal. This pushes the liquified food matter down the pipe.
  • Only use cold water in your disposal. Hot water makes clogs out of fats and greases, affecting your plumbing and even the sewer system around you.
  • Don’t put too much food in your disposal all at once. 
  • Grind up citrus scraps regularly. This creates a better smell, and the acids in the citrus help to clear any incoming clogs. 
  • Call Armstrong Plumbing for regular check-ups of your systems to ensure efficiency and longevity. 

You should also avoid putting the following food items in your disposal altogether:

  • Egg Shells
  • Coffee Grounds
  • Fats and Greases
  • Onion and Potato Skins
  • Hard items, like nuts or bones or fruit pits
  • Dry expandable foods like pasta or rice

Armstrong Plumbing Professional Garbage Disposal Clog Removal

Working in the St. Louis area for over thirty years, Armstrong Plumbing has seen it all. There is no clog we can’t fix and no plumbing system we can’t whip into shape. Call us today for a consultation on your Garbage Disposal.

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