What to Do If Your Garbage Disposal Is Clogged

A garbage disposal is time saving appliance with a number of significant benefits, but should it become clogged, it can quickly become a major inconvenience. Here are some great tips from the experts at Peninsula, on what to do if your garbage disposal is clogged, and how to prevent it from reoccurring.

How Does A Garbage Disposal Become Clogged?

Garbage disposals are often so efficient at grinding up food waste that homeowners may become careless with their disposal methods, and maintenance practices over time. Clogs typically occur as the result of a reaction between the waste matter and water, or a lack of water, with the problem materializing in the trap that is located where the discharge of waste occurs.

The waste line itself can become clogged due to any number of issues, including:

  • Lack of water. Without adequate amounts of water to flush ground waste material through the drainage system, it can accumulate in the drain line.
  • Potato peels. Due to the high starch content of potato peels, ground matter can form a paste resembling the consistency of mashed potatoes.
  • Banana peels. Structure and starch content is similar to potato peels, in addition to fibrous strands that hold the material together.
  • Coffee grounds or egg shells. While they are two of the most commonly ground items, the resulting waste is so fine that it can easily adhere to any existing waste lining pipes, forming a clog.

Tips To Prevent A Clogged Garbage Disposal

Prevention is the key, though you may still encounter issues from time to time. Methods include:

  • Run the disposal on a regular basis to prevent rust and obstructions from forming.
  • Use a strong flow of cold water when grinding food waste, in order to cause any residual fats to solidify.
  • Cut larger items in to reasonable sized pieces.
  • Leave the motor and water running until the process is complete.
  • Avoid placing expandable foods such as rice or pasta down the disposal. These materials will expand further with the addition of water and may clog the unit.

Garbage Disposal Repair Tips

Try these less invasive measures to clear your clogged disposal, before calling Peninsula for repair services:

Water Flush

Dry waste is likely to cause a clog unless sufficient amounts of water are present to help wash it away. In the event of a clog, try running the cold tap at full speed while turning on the disposal, and allow the water to run for several seconds more after it has cleared.

Ice & Lemon

Add a few ice cubes and some lemon peel to the mix for stubborn clogs, allowing them to become ground up with the other materials. The mixture of coarse ice and acidic peel will help to clean the components and pipes; run clear water for several seconds after the clog has cleared.

Hit The Reset

Check under the sink, on the disposal housing for a red or black reset button, and push to reset the unit.

Be Safe

Turn off the breaker and water supply before shining a flashlight into the disposal through the drain. If you can see the object you suspect is causing the clog, use a long handled object such as tongs or pliers to remove it. Then restore power and turn on the disposal to test.

Garbage Disposal Repair Services in Delaware and Maryland

Our highly trained, experienced, plumbing professionals will provide you with fast, friendly service you can count on. For garbage disposal repair in Maryland or Delaware, call Peninsula at 302-262-8254, or contact us online to schedule an appointment.


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