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Your garbage disposal could cost you hundreds of dollars. Although a clog in the disposal is easy to remove, it takes your plumber in McHenry time to get to your home and time to remove it. For that reason, you could spend hundreds of dollars paying for a plumber to fix your disposal. If you’d rather keep that money in your pocket, you can follow a few simple steps to clearing a clogged disposal. If these steps don’t work, you can always call a professional drain cleaner for the garbage disposal.

Know Why Your Garbage Disposal Won’t Work

Before you get started, you should understand why your garbage disposal won’t work. Typically, there are a few common causes of broken disposals. Usually, the issue is a clog in the drain or an object impeding the impeller blade. Your sink could back up and you might notice a foul smell in your kitchen. 

Any of the following could cause trouble for your garbage disposal:

  • Not flushing water down the disposal
  • Grinding coffee grinds, eggshells, and other pasty or stringy items
  • Placing foreign objects down the drain, either intentionally or unintentionally
  • Pouring fat, oil, or grease in your disposal

If you have a problem with your disposal, consider the possible causes. Have you been careful about what goes into your garbage disposal? If not, you should probably be a little more cautious. Even if you can fix the clog, you’ll continue to have issues unless you change your behavior. 

Getting Started

Are you ready to get your garbage disposal unclogged? If so, here’s what you can do:

1. Turn Off the Power Switch

Working on garbage disposal can be dangerous unless you shut off power to the unit. First, look for the power switch to the disposal. This is usually under the cabinet or on a wall near the disposal. After the switch is in the off position, unplug it from the power source or turn the breaker off. 

Even after the power is off, you should be cautious. Avoid placing your hand in or near the blades. Serious accidents have occurred during DIY garbage disposal repairs. If you’re not confident in your own abilities, call for plumbing drain cleaning services.

2. Check the Disposal

Take a look inside your garbage disposal. Because it’s dark in there, you may need a flashlight. Do you see any obvious blockages or things wrapped around the blades? If so, this is what’s causing your issues. You can use tongs or pliers to remove the issue. 

3. Use a Natural Drain Cleaner

Although people often turn to chemical drain cleaners to remove clogs from their garbage disposals, doing so comes at a high cost. Over time, chemical drain cleaners wear out your pipes. If you want to clean out your drains, you should hire a professional or use a natural solution.

One of the natural ways in which you can clean your plumbing is to pour a mixture of vinegar and baking soda down your garbage disposal. Mix the solution before you pour it, and only use about ¼ cup of baking soda with ½ cup vinegar. Let the solution sit for about 20 minutes and run hot water. 

4. Grab a Plunger

When natural methods fail, consider using a plunger. Most people only think of plungers as tools for toilets, but they also work on your sink. Before you get started, clamp off the connection to your dishwasher. Otherwise, dirty water could backflow into your dishwasher.

Position the plunger directly over the drain, and cover the whole drain. Then, add water to the sink and make sure it covers the tip of the plunger. Start plunging until the water flows, and then put hot water down your drain. 

5. Turn the Blades By Hand

If you have something binding your disposal blades, you may be able to manipulate the blades to clear it. However, you need to be certain there is no power to the disposal.

Use a tool or your hand to twist the disposal blades. Depending on your disposal, you may need to use an allen key to turn the blades. Your actions can unwind the debris or make it so you can grab the blockage with your hand.

6. Clean the P-Trap

Underneath the garbage disposal is a P-trap or an S-trap. The pipe is named for its shape, so it’s easy enough to find. If your garbage disposal doesn’t work, there could be debris in the trap. You can check for this by placing a bucket under the pipes and using pliers to loosen the fittings. 

If you can’t remove enough of the pipes, you can use a coat hanger to try and remove debris from the trap. You may also be able to use a drain snake for the job. In the future, the drain snake can come in handy. Make sure you reassemble the trap after you finish, even if there was no clog. 

Removing Clogs from Your Disposal 

With the right tools, a garbage disposal clog is no problem. But most homeowners don’t have the tools needed to deal with clogs, nor do they have the time. The time and frustration that comes with a clog could leave you wishing you called the plumber.

However you choose to handle your clog, don’t take the easy way out and reach for chemicals. All too often, homeowners do more harm than good to their plumbing. Although a drain cleaner might remove a clog from your disposal, it will eat away at other parts of your plumbing. In the end, your attempts at removing the clog could lead to a very costly repair.

Do You Need a Drain Cleaner for Garbage Disposal Issues?

There’s only one kind of drain cleaner you should use on your garbage disposal in McHenry – a professional drain cleaning service. When you work with a reputable company, they use the most effective methods of drain cleaning. You don’t need to worry about damage to your pipes. The next time you need a drain cleaner for garbage disposal issues, call us at J. Blanton Plumbing. We’re ready to help you.