Garbage Disposal Clogs: Why They Happen & How to Fix Them

One of the most useful kitchen appliances you can own is a garbage disposal. It will effectively chop up any food that finds its way down your drain, and help prevent clogs from occurring in your kitchen. Unfortunately, garbage disposals can become clogged over time and will need to be fixed. By understanding why clogs happen and how to fix them, you can keep your kitchen sink draining smoothly.

How Clogs Can Happen

While your garbage disposal is designed to prevent clogs from happening by grinding up food waste, they can get clogged every once in awhile. Sometimes it happens by accident, and other times it happens by trying to push a garbage disposal more than it was meant to.

Accidentally dropping silverware, bones, or jewelry can damage your garbage disposal. This is because the metal blades will become dull from trying to chop up these materials, making it much more difficult for the blades to chop up food. Larger pieces of food will make its way down the drain, causing clogs.

Some foods are not meant to go in a garbage disposal and they can impede its use. Tough meat will be difficult for the blades to chop, and are better off going into the trash. Stringy foods like pasta could find themselves wrapped around the blade, causing it to move slower than normal. Anything with starches in it will be difficult to break down, and create a slime that can cover the blades.

How to Remove Clogs

Always make sure the power going to the garbage disposal is completely turned off before you work on it. You will need to turn off the main circuit breaker if it is hard wired, or unplug it from the wall outlet underneath the sink.

Place a large bucket underneath your garbage disposal, and disconnect all water pipes connected to it. The bucket will help catch all the excess water that comes out of the pipes. If you have a dishwasher, now is a good time to clean out the pipe that drains into your garbage disposal.

Follow the manufacturer's directions about how to remove the garbage disposal, and open it up to get to the basin. Food waste will most likely be stuck inside the basin. Remove the blade so that you can scrub away the waste that is inside. You can sharpen the metal blade, or replace it with a new one. Reassemble and attach the garbage disposal, and it will be good as new again.

If you're having difficulty disassembling your garbage disposal, or have a more difficult clog that needs cleaning, be sure to contact a local plumber to help fix it for you.