Every day, you use and rely on your garbage disposal. Unfortunately, it’s one of the most overlooked machines in your home, along with your garage door opener. You shouldn’t think about it until it breaks. When it does, it’s a pain!

Unjamming garbage disposal is relatively straightforward. Let’s take a look at why you might be having trouble and things you can do to fix the garbage disposal issues you are facing.  Be careful. A garbage disposal is something you should only stick your hand down in. Always unjam with caution.

How to Get Your Garbage Disposal Unjammed

Garbage disposals are simple machines. They have many moving parts yet are simple to maintain with the proper understanding. These mashers can chew up and eliminate nearly any food-based item you throw at (or into) them. However, some factors could damage the machine. So, before we get into how to unclog your disposal, let’s look at what might be causing the issue.

Garbage Disposal Diet With Low Fiber and No Grains

A good rule is to avoid putting anything gritty or fibrous down the garbage disposal. Coffee grounds, rice, or celery can severely jam your machine. Rubber, metal, or glass will also harm the blades. These materials can even burn out the disposal motor, so be careful! Stop it as soon as you hear something that doesn’t sound right.

Furthermore, leaving the pasta out of your garbage disposal would be best.  A good rule of thumb is to think of what the item looks like, wet and dry. Noodles, for example, are slippery and slimy when wet but can become tough after they dry. This is true for things such as oatmeal as well. These sorts of items should always be avoided. It can be similar to putting a concrete mixture down the drain. It starts with liquid and turns hard, which could be a better plan.

Freshness & Quick Care Tip

When disposing of food, always use cold water. Hot or warm water dissolves fats, which are potential blockages. However, the higher temperature is ideal if your sink begins to smell. Turn on the warm water and the disposal, then put in the lemon or lime. The odor will dissipate quickly. There are also garbage disposal cleaners you can get. This is a very common issue since it is used to grind up food particles.

What to Do With a Jammed Disposal

Even the most excellent garbage disposal can eventually get jammed, no matter how careful you are. You’ll know you have a clogged disposal when:

  • The disposal overheats and shuts down if you notice it suddenly stops without warning.
  • The blades make a lot of noise when they chop and throw away the food. There is most likely a piece of metal, glass, or other foreign objects present that the blades attempt but fail to grind up.
  • The disposal hums, but no actual chopping or grinding is taking place. This usually signifies that something has caught between the blades and prevents the disposal from moving.

The Do-it-yourself Guide to Unjamming a Garbage Disposal

When attempting to unjam your disposal, you must take precautions. Consider the garbage disposal as though it were always loaded, similar to how you would handle a rifle. The first thing you need to do is ensure the disposal is turned off. Even if the blades are not turning and there isn’t any noise. You only want to reach into it with pliers or tongs if you are sure it is turned off. Wiggle these around until you get a grip on whatever is inside, and pull it out. This will protect your hands from injury.

You may need to get beneath the sink if this doesn’t work. Insert a 1/4″ or 5/16″ Allen wrench into the disposal’s bottom hole and vigorously turn it back and forth. This will help you to clear any debris that has become lodged beneath the blades.

Sometimes the safety switch is triggered, which will cause the machine to stop operating. This will require you to push the red reset button, which is typically located on the top of the machine.

If you believe that you need a replacement, we are happy to help. Give us a call at 201-343-1414. Our dedicated team of experts can assist with replacing, repairing, or maintaining your garbage disposal.