When you go to wash the dishes and the water simply won’t drain, you know that you have a major problem on your hands. The issue likely started weeks ago when you poured that hot grease down the garbage disposal. Then, you added more food waste just this afternoon. The result is a garbage disposal that simply will not run. You need the best tips for clearing a clogged garbage disposal fast.

How Do You Clear a Clogged Garbage Disposal?

You will find that there are a variety of different products on the market that claim to clear a clogged garbage disposal drain. Some are chemicals and others involve mechanical agitation. Before you begin to panic and call the plumber, take a few minutes to find out what you can use to dissolve the clog on your own. For more information on clearing a clogged garbage disposal without professional help, take a look at these tips.

Evaluating the Problem

Before you even begin working to clear the clogged garbage disposal, you need to know what you are working with. Start the safe way by disconnecting power to your garbage disposal. You should never do anything with the power still running to this dangerous household appliance. Forgetting this step could cause serious harm. It takes only seconds to unplug the garbage disposal and could make a significant difference.

Take a look into the drain using a flashlight. This can help you determine exactly what is clogging the pipe. It might be a spoon that slid down the garbage disposal or a bone from the meat that you tried to grind up. If you can see the object, you could try to extract it using a pair of tongs or a long pair of needle-nose pliers.

If you see the blockage but it is less clear how to resolve it, you might want to try a natural option before turning to heavy chemicals.

Using a Plunger

Using a plunger is the first step that many people take when trying to clear a clogged garbage disposal quickly. Here are the basic steps you will want to follow when using a plunger.

  1. Don’t forget about the dishwasher. To use the plunger effectively, you must first clamp the end of the dishwasher line where it enters the disposal. This prevents the hose from coming off the nozzle while you plunge the drain.
  2. Get your plunger ready. From here, place the plunger over your clogged garbage disposal. Fill the sink up until water covers the rim of the plunger. Plunge the drain vigorously for one to two minutes.
  3. Check for results. Break the seal and see if the water will flow through the drain. You may try to plunge the drain several times before giving up and moving to a more serious method of unclogging the garbage disposal.
  4. Run hot water. If the water moves through the drain easily, make sure to run more hot water through the garbage disposal for roughly five minutes. This helps to wash away any remaining debris or particles that could linger in the pipes.

Clearing a Clogged Garbage Disposal at the Source

Clearing a Clogged Garbage Disposal at the Source

Sometimes, the above methods will not be effective at removing the blockage created in your sink. You may have to trace the problem right to the source. The problem oftentimes lies in the P-shaped or S-shaped plumbing underneath your sink, located just past the disposal discharge pipe.

Place a bucket underneath the disposal drain trap before disconnecting the fittings and removing the entire trap. Water is likely to spill out of the pipes when disconnecting them, so the bucket should prevent some of the mess. Be prepared for this so that you do not accidentally splash yourself with the dirty water in the process.

Take a good look inside the pipes, particularly in the areas where the pipe bends. Use a small brush to loosen debris and generally just scrub the inside walls of your trap fitting. Removing a clog in this area could resolve your issue altogether. Once you dislodge it, reconnect the pipes and flush them with plenty of hot water to ensure that all of the loosened food particles and debris have been removed.

Hard to Reach Areas

If you do not see any issues with debris clogging the trap in these specific areas, then you will likely need a longer tool that can reach those hard-to-reach areas. You may need something like a sink auger or a drain snake. You can manually manipulate the clogged area in other parts of the plumbing using this simple tool.

Extend the cable into your sink drain until you feel it connect with the clog. Pull out about ten to twelve inches of extra cable for the drain snake and tighten the set screw. From here, you simply turn the crank handle while applying pressure to force the clog through the pipe or to break it into smaller pieces.

You may find that your auger gets stuck in the clog. Simply turn the handle the opposite direction and then switch back when you feel motion again.

Keep putting more cable forward as you feel the clog working its way through the drain. When you feel that the clog has been adequately broken up, you can remove the drain snake from the pipes. You might find that the metal area is clogged with food particles so be sure to clean it thoroughly before putting it away.

Turn hot water on and allow it to run through the pipes for five to ten minutes. This ensures that you cleared the entire clog and washes away any remaining debris.

Clearing a Clogged Garbage Disposal With the Right Products

Stuck Garbage Disposal Under A sink

While you may be able to clear a clogged garbage disposal completely on your own, many homeowners find that they need a few tools to help. If you want to try a natural option first, purchasing a drain snake uses absolutely no chemicals. It also gives you a tool that you can use and reuse for future clogs. You can use it all over your home including in the laundry room, mudroom, or bathroom. This is a great item to have on hand for all of those tough-to-reach spots where you encounter clogs.

However, some people like the hands-off approach of using a store-bought cleaner. These cleaners can be relatively harsh on your pipes and garbage disposal so use them with caution. If you regularly have clogs, it is not advised to use this type of cleaner. However, using it once in a while should not cause long-term damage to your system.

Here are a few best-selling products that can help you to clear a clogged drain quickly.

Plumbing Snake Drain Snake

Drainsoon Plumbing Auger 25 Feet, Professional Removing Sink Clog, Snake Bathtub Shower Drain

If you need a little mechanical help to break up a clogged garbage disposal, you may want to invest in a quality drain snake. Unlike gels and cleaners that can give off unwanted odors, this is a completely natural way to shake blockages loose. The Plumbing Snake (on Amazon) consists of 25 feet of heavy-duty steel cable, making it more than capable of dislodging clogs deep into your kitchen pipes.

The drum augers spring on this snake is flexible so that it can reach through deep bends in your pipes, but it does not sacrifice strength. The crank knob and grip should fit comfortably in your hand so that unclogging the drain requires just a few quick moments. When you finish with the snake, the springs get stored in the drum to minimize the amount of space that it takes up within your kitchen cabinets.

One of the main benefits of the drain snake is that it conveniently works for all sorts of clogs. People use it with bathroom sinks, utility sinks, bathtubs, and even minor toilet clogs. Because you may be getting into some messy territory when cleaning a clogged garbage disposal (or any of these other areas), the kit featured here also comes with a pair of reusable gloves as a bonus.

This is one tool that you can invest in and never have to replace.

Liquid Plumr Professional Clog Remover

Liquid-Plumr Pro-Strength Full Clog Destroyer Plus PipeGuard, Liquid Drain Cleaner

Some people would rather take a very hands-off approach to clear out a clogged garbage disposal. If you would rather pour some cleaner down the drain and then forget about it for a while, the Liquid Plumr Professional Clog Remover might be the product for you. It is a fast-acting formula that comes ready to use straight from the bottle.

Unlike some products that require multiple steps to clear out the problem, this remover is your one-stop solution to clearing out a clogged drain quickly. It is safe on all sorts of pipes, garbage disposals, and can even be used with septic tanks.

Think about the reason that your garbage disposal is clogged. Maybe it is the accumulation of many years of grease. Perhaps you put too many potato peels down the garbage disposal and now they are trapped. This professional-grade cleaner is proven to work on clogs caused by hair, food soils, grease, and other things that slow your drain down over time. It is a tough formula, but it is still safe for use in:

  • Offices
  • Schools
  • Daycare centers
  • Restaurants
  • Commercial restrooms

Consider how often you encounter a clogged kitchen garbage disposal. If you only experience this issue occasionally, purchasing a non-reusable cleaner like this one might make the most sense for you.

Drano Dual Force Foam Clog Remover

No products found.

The No products found. is a unique product that sets itself apart from other market competitors. Many of the leading name brands should pour into the sink and settle on top of the clogged area. As the clog begins to dissipate, the liquid moves down the drain and may not clear out the areas on the side of the pipe that still have debris.

In comparison, the Drano Dual Force has foam that expands to fill the entire pipe and unclog the garbage disposal fully. It gets rid of hair and food sources that accumulate on the walls of the pipe so that your kitchen garbage disposal stays cleaner for longer periods. It works on clogs and slow-running drains as well.

Not only does it unclog your drain, but it also contains various cleaning agents and surfactants that clean your drain simultaneously. Your kitchen will function while smelling fresh and clean with this easy to use cleaner.

Pour this cleaner down the drain and leave it sit for one full hour. Flush it out with hot water to determine if you solved the problem. If not, you can repeat the process until you see the results you need.

This is a relatively affordable cleaner also. 

Keeping Your Garbage Disposal Clear

One of the easiest ways to clear a clogged garbage disposal is to prevent a clog in the first place. Be careful when inserting old food into your garbage disposal. Take it slowly and make sure to run plenty of water both during the grinding and for several seconds after you turn the garbage disposal off. These little steps can go a long way.

Encountering a clog in your drain does not necessarily mean that you have to pay a pricey fee from a local plumber. Chances are that you can undo the damage on your own with a few of these easy-to-use products. Take your time and try everything you can at home before you call for back-up. You might be surprised at how easy it is to clear a clogged garbage disposal all on your own!


How do you unclog a garbage disposal?

The first step to unclogging a garbage disposal is to disconnect the power. From here, you can try several methods. Check for obstructions, plunge the drain, or use a sink auger to get out the clog. As a last resort, you may also use a store-bought cleaner to dissolve the clog.

Why is my garbage disposal clogged?

Your garbage disposal may clog because you put too much food down all at once. Alternatively, there may not have been enough water at the time you were using it. One large item or a buildup of items may be obstructing the pipe. A clogged garbage disposal has many potential sources.

Can baking soda unclog my garbage disposal?

No, baking soda is not going to be the most effective way to unclog your garbage disposal.

Last update on 2024-06-15 at 10:46 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API