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May 3, 2023

How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal: A Step-by-Step Guide

As a homeowner, you know that your garbage disposal is an essential part of your kitchen. It makes cleaning up after meals much easier, but when it gets clogged, it can be a real headache. Don’t worry, though – in this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to unclog your garbage disposal and get your kitchen back in working order.
Unclogging a Garbage Disposal | Paschal

Understanding Your Garbage Disposal

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of unclogging your garbage disposal, it’s important to understand how it works. Your garbage disposal is essentially a motorized device that shreds food waste into small pieces that can be flushed down your drain. It works by spinning a set of blades that are located inside a grinding chamber. When you turn on your garbage disposal, it will use its motor to spin these blades, which will grind up any food waste that you put into it.

Identifying a Clogged Garbage Disposal

Now that you understand how your garbage disposal works, it’s time to identify whether or not it’s clogged. There are a few signs that you can look for to determine whether your garbage disposal is clogged:
If you notice any of these signs, it’s likely that your garbage disposal is clogged.
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Tools You Will Need

Before you start unclogging your garbage disposal, there are a few tools that you’ll need to have on hand. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need:
  • A pair of pliers
  • A flashlight
  • A wooden spoon or tongs
  • Baking soda and vinegar
  • Ice cubes
  • Salt
  • Lemon or lime slices

Steps to Unclog Your Garbage Disposal

Now that you have all of your tools ready, it’s time to get to work unclogging your garbage disposal. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Turn off Your Garbage Disposal and Disconnect the Power

  • The first thing you should do is turn off your garbage disposal and disconnect the power. You can do this by turning off the circuit breaker that powers your garbage disposal or unplugging it from the wall. This will prevent any accidents from happening while you’re working on unclogging it.

Step 2: Use a Flashlight to Look for Any Obstructions

  • Next, use a flashlight to look inside your garbage disposal and check for any obstructions. You may be able to see the clog directly, or you may need to use a pair of pliers to reach inside and remove it.

Step 3: Use a Wooden Spoon or Tongs to Remove the Obstruction

  • If you can see the clog, use a wooden spoon or tongs to remove it. Be careful not to damage the blades inside your garbage disposal. If you can’t see the clog, you can try using the wooden spoon or tongs to feel around for it.

Step 4: Use Baking Soda and Vinegar to Break Up the Clog

  • If you can’t remove the clog manually, you can try using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to break it up. Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down your drain, followed by 1/2 cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes, and then pour hot water down your drain to flush out any remaining debris.

Step 5: Use Ice Cubes and Salt to Sharpen the Blades

  • After you’ve cleared the clog, you can use ice cubes and salt to sharpen the blades of your garbage disposal. This will help prevent future clogs from occurring. Fill your garbage disposal with a handful of ice cubes and a tablespoon of salt, and then turn it on for a few seconds. The ice and salt will help to remove any debris that may be stuck to the blades, as well as sharpen them.

Step 6: Freshen Your Garbage Disposal with Lemon or Lime

  • Finally, you can freshen up your garbage disposal by running some lemon or lime slices through it. This will help to eliminate any unpleasant odors that may have built up over time.
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Tips to Prevent Future Clogs

Now that you’ve successfully unclogged your garbage disposal, it’s important to take steps to prevent future clogs from occurring. Here are some tips to help keep your garbage disposal in good working order:
  • Only put food waste down your garbage disposal that is designed to be ground up, such as fruit and vegetable scraps.
  • Avoid putting non-food items down your garbage disposal, such as plastic or metal.
  • Run cold water down your drain for a few seconds before and after using your garbage disposal to help flush out any debris.
  • Use your garbage disposal regularly to prevent food waste from building up.
  • Avoid pouring grease or oil down your drain, as it can solidify and cause clogs.

Call a Professional Plumber

A clogged garbage disposal can be a real headache, but with the right tools and knowledge, you can easily unclog it yourself. By understanding how your garbage disposal works, identifying a clog, and following the steps outlined in this guide, you can get your kitchen back in working order in no time. And by taking steps to prevent future clogs from occurring, you can ensure that your garbage disposal stays in good working order for years to come. If you are still experiencing issues after following the above steps, it may be time to call the professionals at Paschal Air, Plumbing & Electric. Simply schedule your next appointment online by tapping here.