How To Unclog a Garbage Disposal

How To Unclog a Garbage Disposal
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Clogged garbage disposals are a common issue, and can be very inconvenient. In this article we'll show you exactly how to unclog your garbage disposal, how to prevent clogs, and a better solution so you'll never have to worry about food clogs again. So, how do you unclog a garbage disposal?

To unclog a garbage disposal, first turn off the power. Remove any debris from the sink, then use pliers or tongs to extract obstructions inside the disposal. If it has a hex key slot, use an Allen wrench to manually rotate the blades. Otherwise, use a broom handle from the top. Press the reset button on the bottom of the unit, then restore power and test. If issues persist, call a professional plumber.

See a more detailed guide on unclogging a garbage disposal below. In this article, we’ll cover common issues with garbage disposals, how to unclog your garbage disposal without a plumber, what the difference between a traditional disposal and a Sepura is, and when Sepura might be a better fit for your lifestyle.

unclogging a garbage disposal

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      The Trouble with Traditional Garbage Disposals

      Clogged garbage disposals often stem from a misunderstanding of their intended use. Contrary to popular belief, disposals aren't designed to process large food scraps, leftovers, or substantial food chunks. 

      They are actually made for grinding the small, residual food particles that remain on your plate after you've scraped the bulk of the scraps into a compost bin or trash can (preferably a compost bin). If you rather wash all of your food scraps down your sink without the risk of clogs and damage, we made a solution for that called Sepura - it’s the world’s first composting garbage disposal.

      Traditional Garbage Disposal Issues

      How Sepura Solves These Issues

      Clogs from Food Scraps

      Food scraps sent to compost bin, only liquids drain down pipes

      Unpleasant Odors

      Odor-eliminating technology, sealed compost bin, and carbon filters

      Environmental Impact

      Makes composting effortless, reduces strain on wastewater treatment facilities

      Energy and Water Usage

      Uses less power than an LED lightbulb, doesn’t require water to operate


      Compare Sepura vs Garbage Disposal

      How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal

      Safety First:

      Before you begin any unclogging procedure, safety is paramount. Always start by turning off the power to your garbage disposal. You can do this by unplugging it or, if it's hardwired, by switching off the circuit breaker that controls it. This step is crucial to prevent any accidental activation of the disposal while you're working.

      Step-by-Step Guide:

      1. Remove Any Standing Water: If your sink is backed up, start by removing the standing water. This makes it easier to access the disposal.

      2. Check for Visible Obstructions: Use a flashlight to look into the garbage disposal. Often, you can see the cause of the clog. If you find an object that's causing the blockage, use a pair of pliers or tongs to carefully remove it. Remember, never put your hand down the disposal, even when it’s powered off.

      3. Use a Plunger: If your garbage disposal is clogged, a sink plunger can be an effective tool. First, fill the sink with enough water to cover the plunger's head. Firmly place the plunger over the disposal drain and plunge vigorously. The pressure created by this action can help loosen and dislodge the clog. If you have a double sink, make sure to seal off the other drain to ensure effective plunging.

      4. Press the Reset Button: After clearing the jam, press the reset button located on the bottom of the disposal unit. This can sometimes resolve any remaining issues.

      5. Test the Disposal: Turn the power back on and test the disposal. Run water and turn on the disposal to check if it’s working correctly. If it’s still not functioning, you may need to repeat the steps or consult a professional.

      While unclogging a traditional garbage disposal involves several steps and can be a bit of a hassle, Sepura offers a more maintenance-free experience. With its innovative design that only sends liquids down your drain and sends all food scraps to a compost bin, Sepura stops food clogs and the need for such troubleshooting.

      preventing garbage disposal clogs

      How to Prevent Garbage Disposal Clogs

      To prevent clogged garbage disposals, it's essential to use them correctly. They are designed to handle only the small food particles left on your plate after you've scraped the bulk of your food scraps into a compost bin or trash can (preferably compost). Here are key tips:

      1. Scrape First: Before washing dishes, scrape leftovers into a compost bin or trash can. This reduces the load on your disposal.

      2. Avoid Problematic Items: Keep hard, fibrous, or starchy foods like bones, corn husks, and potato peels out of the disposal, as they're more likely to cause clogs.

      3. Run Cold Water: Always use cold water when running the disposal, as it helps to solidify fats and oils, making them easier to grind and flush away.

      4. Go Slow and Steady: Feed waste gradually into the disposal instead of stuffing it all at once to prevent overloading and jams.

      By following these practices, you can significantly reduce the chances of clogging and extend the life of your garbage disposal. If you rather stop the risk of food clogs while being able to wash all your food waste down your sink, Sepura’s composting garbage disposal may be a better option.


      Why is my garbage disposal not draining? 

      Your garbage disposal might not be draining due to blockages from food particles or a foreign object. It could also be caused by a jammed motor or an issue with the plumbing connected to the disposal.

      Will baking soda and vinegar unclog a garbage disposal? 

      Yes, baking soda and vinegar can help unclog a garbage disposal. The combination creates a fizzing action that can loosen minor clogs. Pour a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of vinegar down the disposal, wait for 15-20 minutes, and then rinse with hot water.

      Can I plunge my clogged garbage disposal? 

      Yes, you can use a plunger to unclog a garbage disposal. Make sure to use a sink plunger, not a toilet plunger. Cover the disposal drain fully with the plunger and plunge vigorously to help dislodge the clog.

      How long does it take to unclog a garbage disposal? 

      The time it takes to unclog a garbage disposal varies depending on the severity of the clog. Simple clogs can often be cleared in a few minutes, but more stubborn blockages may require up to 30 minutes of troubleshooting or professional assistance.

      Rethinking Kitchen Waste with Sepura

      Traditional garbage disposals often struggle with clogs and odors, demanding frequent maintenance and raising environmental concerns. Sepura offers a refreshing solution: a composting system that stops food clogs and odors while supporting sustainability.

      Switch to Sepura for easy food disposal and effortless composting without damage and risks of clogs. Embrace this innovative change and upgrade your waste management today.

      Shop Sepura