Home Life How To Unclog A Double Kitchen Sink With A Garbage Disposal

How To Unclog A Double Kitchen Sink With A Garbage Disposal

by Gina Elizabeth

If your double kitchen sink with a garbage disposal is clogged you’ve come to the right place. Here’s:

How To Unclog A Double Kitchen Sink With A Garbage Disposal

Usually, the fix involves:

  1. Disassembling the drain trap and discharge pipe and removing any food waste clogging the pipes
  2. Reassembling the drain trap and reconnecting the discharge tube to the side of the garbage disposal
  3. Cleaning the trap, checking for obstructions in the trap fitting. Scrub brushing to dig out any debris
  4. Checking the trap arm if the clog isn’t in the trap–the horizontal drain piece that connects the trap to the branch drain pipe going into the wall
  5. Cleaning inside the trap arm with a brush or wire
  6. Possibly snaking the branch drain with a 25-foot drum auger (sold and hardware stores)
  7. Reassembling the drain, trap arm, and trap

Homeowners may inadvertently cause damage to their plumbing and equipment attempting this type of plumbing repair on their own. Be sure to use the right tools. Or call a plumber for assistance.

Warning! Never use chemical drain cleaners with a garbage disposal. These chemicals rarely work, leaving you with a sink full of toxic chemicals. Further, such chemicals often damage the garbage disposal and void the manufacturer’s warranty.

What If My Sink Only Drains When The Garbage Disposal Is On?

Unfortunately, if you can still get your sink to drain, but you just need a little encouragement from your garbage disposal, you’re on your way to having your garbage disposal water come back up.

#DIYplumbing

9 Common Garbage Disposal Problems and Solutions

  1. Garbage Disposal Clogged
  2. Garbage Disposal Water Comes Back Up
  3. Garbage Disposal Jammed
  4. Garbage Disposal Noises: Humming, Grinding, or Rattling
  5. Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On
  6. Garbage Disposal Burning Smell, Smoking, or Sparks
  7. Garbage Disposal Foul Odors
  8. Garbage Disposal Leaks
  9. Garbage Disposal Keeps Freezing Up
  10. Tips to Avoid Garbage Disposal Problems
  11. Garbage Disposal FAQs

⚠️Safety

  • Anytime you’re working with a garbage disposal unit, the first thing to do is turn off the breaker that controls the disposal. Next, turn the wall switch to OFF. And unplug the unit before you begin.
  • Never place your hand in the garbage disposal. Use a pair of tongs instead.

The fastest and most cost effective solution is to DIY before calling in the professionals.

1. Garbage Disposal Clogged

If your garbage disposal is clogged follow these steps:

Garbage Disposal Repair – How To Unclog A Garbage Disposal

  1. Turn the power off at the breaker box. Turn the wall switch to OFF. And unplug the unit. This ensures that no one can inadvertently switch on the unit while you’re working on it.
  2. If the sink is full of water, wait for it to drain, or bail the water out using a bucket or pot.
  3. Remove the rubber splash guard and use a flashlight to inspect for the source of the clog.
  4. Use tongs to remove the object(s). *NEVER stick your hands down the disposal. Once all visible items have been removed, turn the breaker back on, plug the unit back in.
  5. It may be necessary to reset the garbage disposal with the little red switch on the underside of the disposal itself.
  6. Test your unit by running cold water and then hit the garbage disposal switch.
  7. If it drains water and works properly, you’re done; otherwise, again, ensure the breaker and disposal are both off. Then use a plunger. After covering the drain completely with the plunger, allow water to cover the edge of the plunger and plunge the drain a few times. When finished, see if water will drain. If so, turn on the power to see if the disposal is unclogged.
  8. If not, try this last step. Ensure the breaker and disposal are both off. Then remove any water that is in your sink. And pour ¼ cup of baking soda in the garbage disposal. Next, pour ½ cup of white vinegar. After 10 minutes, turn the breaker and disposal back on. Then run hot water into the disposal for another few minutes. (Again, the reset button may be necessary to get it started.)

If these methods don’t work, it’s best to call a plumber. Homeowners may inadvertently cause damage to their pipes and equipment while attempting further repair on their own.

Can I pour bleach down the drain?

Pouring bleach down a clogged drain will do more harm than good. Bleach is a powerful, toxic chemical that can react with other substances in your pipes which can potentially release fumes. And further clog up your plumbing system.

Causes of a Garbage Disposal Clog

Garbage disposals often clog due to a lack of water during and after usage. Improper usage and infrequent maintenance can also clog your garbage disposal. If your unit is draining very slowly, the problem is likely the drain trap under your sink.

What causes garbage disposal clogs?

  • Grinding up: eggshells, coffee grounds, potato peels, stringy produce, produce stickers, large objects, grease, or non-food objects.
  • Improper usage: not flushing the disposal with plenty of water when it is running and for several seconds after you turn it off.
  • Maintenance issues: not cleaning your garbage disposal regularly. The unit can get coated with food waste over time which can lead to clogging.
  • If your disposal is draining very slowly or not at all, the problem is most likely in the trap—the U-shaped plumbing fitting that is located under your sink.

READ: How Do I Check A Plumbing Trap For A Clog? in the FAQs section below.

2. Garbage Disposal Water Comes Back Up

When your pipe is fully blocked, water can come back up through the drain pipe that the sink and the disposal share.

This can be caused by an obstruction in your garbage disposal or your pipes. A garbage disposal that is not installed correctly may also be the issue. You’ll need a professional’s help to fix the installation.

Garbage Disposal Repair – How To Plunge A Sink With A Garbage Disposal

If plunging doesn’t remove the blockage from your drain, you may want to call in a professional. Carefully unplug your garbage disposal and call a plumber before using it again.

Garbage disposal problems and solutions - rubber cup plunger
  1. Turn the power off at the breaker box. Turn the wall switch to OFF. And unplug the unit.
  2. Remove the rubber splash guard and use a flashlight to inspect for clogs.
  3. Use tongs to remove the object(s). *NEVER stick your hands down the disposal.
  4. After covering the drain completely with the plunger, allow water to cover the edge of the plunger and plunge the drain a few times. When finished, see if water will drain. If so, turn on the power to see if the disposal is unclogged.
  5. It may be necessary to reset the garbage disposal with the little red switch on the underside of the disposal itself.
  6. Test your unit by running cold water and then hit the garbage disposal switch.

If you want to quickly figure out what exactly is going on, you can call in a professional plumber to quickly assess the situation for you and advise you on the best next steps.

Important: Do not use a toilet plunger on your sink.

3. Garbage Disposal Jammed

While clogging is a maintenance issue, jamming is more of a mechanical issue.

If your garbage disposal is not spinning, or makes a humming noise when activated, something is jamming the blades.

Garbage Disposal Repair – How To Unjam A Garbage Disposal

If the disposal is still clogged, try rotating the impeller.

How To Rotate A Garbage Disposal Impeller

IMAGE: HOMETIPS.COM
  1. Make sure to turn the power off at the breaker box. Unplug the unit. And turn the wall switch to OFF.
  2. Insert the hex key (garbage disposal wrench) into the hole at the bottom of the garbage disposal. The hole is located in the center of the unit, facing the floor. Move the wrench both clockwise and counter-clockwise to loosen the blades.
  3. If the blades don’t budge when using a hex key, try a garbage disposal wrench instead. They provide much more torque.
  4. Press the reset button. It is a red button located on the bottom or lower back side of the garbage disposer. If the garbage disposer gets jammed and the motor overloads the reset button will pop out and shut the disposer off.

Important: Do not try to loosen any nuts or bolts inside the grinding chamber, as they hold the unit together. 

What is a hex key?

A hex key, also known as an Allen key or Allen wrench, is a small handheld tool that’s used for for driving bolts and screws with a hexagonal socket. They are available in many different sizes, though they all have the same hexagonal-shaped tip.

What is a garbage disposal wrench?

A garbage disposal wrench is a tool that’s used to turn the disposal plate clockwise and counter-clockwise through the sinkhole. You can also use a broom handle. However, you get a lot more torque using a garbage disposal wrench than broom handle.

4. Garbage Disposal Noises: Humming, Grinding, or Rattling

Because a garbage disposal has moving parts, noises can indicate a serious problem. Check your drain for anything that may be blocking the unit.

Humming Noise

What does it mean when a garbage disposal just hums?

If the garbage disposal won’t turn on but the motor makes a humming sound when you flip the switch, it indicates that:

  1. the inner flywheel is jammed, there is power coming into the unit but the blades are not turning
  2. or it’s tripped the overload protector

Garbage Disposal Repair – How To Fix A Humming Garbage Disposal

  1. Turn the power off at the breaker box. Turn the wall switch to OFF. And unplug the unit. This ensures that no one can inadvertently switch on the unit while you’re working on it.
  2. Remove the rubber splash guard and use a flashlight to inspect for the source of the clog.
  3. Once all visible items have been removed, turn the breaker back on, plug the unit back in.
  4. Look for a hex-shaped hole underneath the machine in the middle. Use a hex key that fits in the hole turn the disposal drum clockwise and counter-clockwise. This should free any objects that have become lodged between the blades and sides of the disposal unit so that you can extract them with tongs.
  5. Plug the unit back in and turn the breaker on. It may be necessary to reset the garbage disposal with the little red switch on the underside of the disposal itself. It is a small red button on the bottom or back of the unit. If the overload protector has tripped, you will see the red button dropped protruding a quarter of an inch (5mm). If the button does not stay down, wait 10 minutes then try again.
  6. Test your unit by running cold water and then hit the garbage disposal switch to test if the rattle is gone.
  7. If it jams again, use the wrench again. You may need to repeat the process several times.

Grinding Noise

If you hear grinding metal noises from your garbage disposal it’s either because:

  1. there is something stuck
  2. the parts have started to move incorrectly

If there is nothing stuck in the disposal, call a plumber for a tune-up. If the parts are worn down, it may make more sense to replace the garbage disposal unit.

Rattling Noise

Small metal or hard objects may their way into your garbage disposal. The blades will not be able to grind them and will toss them around creating a rattling sound. The object may have also been in the disposal when it was installed. Removing the object should stop the rattling.

Garbage Disposal Repair – How To Fix A Rattling Garbage Disposal

  1. Turn the power off at the breaker box. Turn the wall switch to OFF. And unplug the unit. This ensures that no one can inadvertently switch on the unit while you’re working on it.
  2. If the sink is full of water, wait for it to drain, or bail the water out using a bucket or pot.
  3. Remove the rubber splash guard and use a flashlight to inspect for the source of the clog.
  4. Use tongs to remove the object(s). *NEVER stick your hands down the disposal. Tape a magnet to the end of a pencil, and use it to fish for loose metal objects in the unit. Small screws can become lodged under the blades in places where they aren’t visible.
  5. Once all visible items have been removed, turn the breaker back on, plug the unit back in.
  6. It may be necessary to reset the garbage disposal with the little red switch on the underside of the disposal itself.
  7. Test your unit by running cold water and then hit the garbage disposal switch.
  8. Look for a hex-shaped hole underneath the machine in the middle. Use a hex key that fits in the hole turn the disposal drum back and forth. This should free any objects that have become lodged between the blades and sides of the disposal unit so that you can extract them with tongs.
  9. Plug the unit back in and turn the breaker on. Run the cold water and turn on the garbage disposal to make sure the rattle is gone.

5. Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On

To identify the problem, start with the easiest solution and proceed to the more complicated by following these steps:

  1. turn the garbage disposal wall switch to OFF
  2. make sure that the garbage disposal is plugged in
  3. check that the breaker/fuse is on
  4. check that the outlet “reset” button hasn’t been pressed

Turn the unit back on. If it is still not working, it’s possible that there is a wiring connection problem; switch itself is bad; the garbage disposal is faulty; or it has burnt out.

It can be extremely dangerous to try and repair a garbage disposal with electrical issues yourself. If the motor makes no noise, the garbage disposal needs to be replaced by a professional plumber that can also check for potential home wiring issues.

6. Garbage Disposal Smoking/Burning/Sparking

A smoking disposal and/or sparking from the electrical plug is a hazard. Do not attempt to repair the garbage disposal. If you see sparks, smoke or any sign of melting or burn marks, stop using the device and call a plumber.

What causes a burning or smoking garbage disposal?

If your garbage disposal has a burning smell or is smoking, the motor or motor capacitor may be burnt out. A stubborn object may be stuck in the grinding chamber, leading the motor to overheat.

Can a garbage disposal catch on fire?

Yes, an overheated garbage disposal cause damage to the power module and outlet beneath the sink, posing a fire hazard.

7. Garbage Disposal Foul Odors

There are a couple ways to freshen up your garbage disposal. One of the best ways to do this is by periodically putting some lemon/lime wedges and ice in your garbage disposal and running the cold water for 30 seconds. Another way is with baking soda and vinegar.

How To Remove Foul Odors From A Garbage Disposal With Baking Soda and Vinegar

  1. Start by unplugging the garbage disposal
  2. Pour ¼ cup baking soda in your drain. Followed by ½ cup vinegar (pour slowly). Vinegar is also a natural bacteria killer and deodorizer.
  3. Let it bubble for 10 minutes and then turn on the hot water and disposal.
  4. Allow hot water to run for a few minutes to clear the clog
  5. Repeat as necessary

But if you garbage disposal still smells after trying everything, you may have a larger or more complicated issue than just your disposal, so call in a professional.

Do I need to clean a garbage disposal?

Your garbage disposal works really hard (and can easily get stinky) so aim to clean it on a weekly basis.

Will baking soda and vinegar unclog a garbage disposal?

Baking soda and vinegar might be a quick fix for a partially clogged drain. This solution will dissolve and push the sludge through the pipes to allow water to flow through easily.

Why does my garbage disposal smell like rotten eggs?

One of the most common reasons for a kitchen sink to have a rotten egg or moldy smell is from grease or fat getting stuck in your drains. … The foaming of the baking soda/vinegar eats away at the junk in the drain and the boiling water helps wash it all away and sanitizes the drain.

What can I clean my garbage disposal with?

First, lift the rubber flaps and pour one-half cup of baking soda into your garbage disposal drain. Fill the entire drain until you cannot add any more baking soda. Next, pour a half-cup of vinegar down the drain. Vinegar is a natural bacteria killer and deodorizer.

8. Garbage Disposal Leaks

If the garbage disposer is leaking from the very top rim where the rubber seal mounts to the flange the cause could be the big rubber gasket on the top of garbage disposal. Also, if the gasket is not locked evenly on all three sides then it will leak. The leaking garbage disposal gasket can be easily replaced.

If the leak is from the sink flange or somewhere else, you may need a more costly and complicated leak repair. Sometimes, replacing the unit makes more sense.

Why would garbage disposal leak from bottom?

Leaks from the bottom of the garbage disposal (often from the reset button) commonly indicate that at least one seal on the interior shell of the unit that protects the motor has deteriorated, or that the shell itself has cracked.
If the bottom of the unit is leaking, carefully unplug your unit and replace it.

9. Garbage Disposal Freezes Up

Garbage disposal freezes up from non-use. If you don’t run your garbage disposal regularly, the disposal can freeze up, rust, and even corrode, leaving any food inside to harden, leading to odors and clogs.

The first step in making sure your garbage disposal doesn’t clog or break down is to make sure you run it regularly, even if you don’t have something you need to grind up.

How To Clear Garbage Disposal Rust

  1. Pour 1 cup of baking soda followed by 1 cup of white vinegar into your garbage disposal. The mixture will begin to foam, removing the clogging material.
  2. Wait several minutes and then pour the boiling water into the garbage disposal. Be sure to use your garbage disposal regularly, preferably on a daily basis. This will stave off rust and corrosion.
  3. Make a paste with salt and lemon juice. That will remove the rust. Put it down the drain and let it set overnight. Most of the garbage disposal is made using steel. If you don’t let the disposer dry out, the presence of oxygen allows it to rust if it doesn’t correctly dry up after use.

12 TIPS TO AVOID GARBAGE DISPOSAL PROBLEMS

  1. Don’t overload the disposer; grind no more than about 1 cup of food debris at a time.
  2. Turn on a medium to strong cold water flow before you start using the appliance. Continue running the cold water for 15 seconds after the food grinding stops.
  3. Do not put egg shells, coffee grounds, starchy foods, stringy produce (celery, banana peels), or large bones down the disposal.
  4. Non-food objects: Plants, rubber bands, cigarettes, plastic, fabric, paper, stickers, metal, glass, wood, and other objects should always go in the garbage or recycling. These items don’t break down like food items and can clog or break your garbage disposal.
  5. Every month, clean the disposal with either a disposal cleaner or a mixture of vinegar, baking soda and hot water.
  6. About twice a year, grind up a cup of ice cubes to help keep the blades sharp; add a few bits of lemon peel along with the ice to keep the disposal smelling fresh.
  7. Only use cold water during the grinding process. Hot water can temporarily liquefy the fats in your foods, and cause clogs and odor. It’s okay to run hot water after you’ve used the disposal.
  8. Turn on the disposal before you start putting in food, to reduce the risk of a jam.
  9. Always make sure the water is running when you’re using the garbage disposal, to make sure the food can easily move through and out of the disposal.
  10. Never put melted fat, like bacon grease, down a garbage disposal. The fats will solidify once they have cooled and clog your disposal and drain.
  11. Don’t use harsh cleaning products in your garbage disposal. There are also cleaning products made specifically for garbage disposals, these work well.
  12. Use a disposal cleaner or de-greaser to help eliminate any grease that may cause unpleasant odors. Check to make sure that the product is authorized by the disposal manufacturer.

Garbage Disposal FAQs

Can I replace a garbage disposal myself?

Yes, replacing a home garbage disposal is a fairly easy DIY project for anyone with basic home DIY skills. Garbage disposal installation costs around $400 on average. The cost of a new garbage disposal unit starts at around $50 plus some tools.

Can you put Drano in a garbage disposal?

Yes, you can put Drano in a garbage disposal but be sure to read the instructions carefully. IIMPORTANT: Drano Professional Strength Crystals Clog Remover is NOT safe for use in garbage disposals.

How do I check a plumbing trap for a clog?

IMAGE: HOWSTUFFWORKS.COM
  1. If the sink is full of water, wait for it to drain, or bail the water out using a bucket or pot
  2. Place a bucket under the pipe to catch any water
  3. Remove the two nuts on a u-trap or p-trap and it will drop right down
  4. Grab the collar ring and twist counter-clockwise
  5. Slide it down, empty the water and look inside
  6. If the trap is not clogged, the problem may be with your garbage disposal or deeper in the drain line
  7. Re-attach the trap by tightening the slip nuts by hand, then using pliers to give them a tighter seal. Do not over-tighten, this may damage the nuts or threads.

What You’ll Need

  • Gloves
  • Bucket or pot
  • Channel-type pliers
  • Paper towels or rags
Garbage disposal problems and solutions - Channel-type pliers
Channel-type pliers – IMAGE: AMAZON.COM

Does every garbage disposal have a reset button?

Yes, most garbage disposals have reset buttons. Look for a red button underneath the disposal. When clogged they are ‘tripped’ so as not to cause damage to the unit. If it has popped out about a quarter of an inch, simply press it and run the unit. Check the electrical panel to see if the breaker needs to be flipped back on as well.

How often should you replace your garbage disposal?

You should replace your garbage disposal when it no longer works effectively, food takes longer to grind, the unit is leaky, it smokes or sparks, or makes loud noises. Most disposals have a life expectancy of about 8-15 years, after which they may start clogging more often.

How do I get rid of the smell in my garbage disposal?

  1. Sprinkle 1/2 a cup of baking soda into the disposal and add 1/2 cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 10-15 minutes before rinsing with hot water.
  2. Regularly clean with a garbage disposal brush that’ll get the gunk out of all those hidden corners that you can’t reach with a regular cleaning brush
  3. Pop a packet of foaming cleaner down your disposal. The foam will help to lift all the buildup
  4. Replace the rubber collar at the top of your garbage disposal with an anti-microbial one
  5. Try a pack of deodorizing balls for when there’s still some lingering odor.
  6. Putting a lemon down the garbage disposal. Or a whole peach — including the pit! A garbage disposal is strong enough to grind it up, and the harder material can help dislodge stubborn odor-causing pieces in the grinding chamber.
  7. Use a Disposal Genie. This genius invention stops bigger food pieces, silverware, and other unwanted things from going down the disposal.
  8. As a last resort, consider replacing your garbage disposal. It’s less pricey than you think, and installation is actually pretty easy.
  9. Make sure you’re using your disposal properly. Several common mistakes can lead to an increase in odor and bacteria.

If you try these methods and your garbage disposal still smells, call a plumbing professional.

What is a drain trap?

A plumbing drain trap is designed to retain a small amount of water each time the sink drains, and this water standing in the bottom of the curved portion of the trap seals the drain and keeps sewer gasses from escaping the drain and entering your home.

Does a garbage disposal add value to a home?

Adding a garbage disposal makes a big difference on the value of a home. A new disposal can also be an improvement to a homes value.

What plumbing upgrades add value to my home?

Modernized Pipes: Galvanized pipes can experience internal corrosion, affect the quality of your water, and block your pipes or cause them to burst. If your plumbing system contains polybutylene or lead replace those sections immediately. Copper pipes for your water supply and PVC for waste outlets are good options.

Pull-Out Faucets: These mobile faucets can be operated with one hand and are extremely versatile. They also make attractive additions for any practical homeowner. Plumbing upgrades like this that add utility to your home are especially valuable, as they set your property apart from the rest.

An Efficient Water Heater: It may help to get the advice of a professional plumber when making your decision. Consider whether a gas or electric heater would be best for your property. This can depend on the placement of gas lines, since installing extra branches to the system can be costly and disruptive. Also, be sure to check the energy rating of the water heater you choose. An efficient water heater will save money for future homeowners, making it attractive to buyers.

An Extra Bathroom: An extra bathroom can increase the profitability of your home by as much as 23%. If space is limited, choose a half-bath with just a sink and a toilet. This can still boost the value of your home.

A Laundry Room: Installing washing and drying machines adds utility to your home and makes it seem upmarket and well-thought-out. It is also a useful way to make use of a smaller space that might not work as an additional bedroom or recreational area.

Eco-Friendly Installations: Green building is becoming more important as homeowners seek to reduce their carbon footprints and save money on utilities. Look out for the energy star on installations like washing machines, water heaters, and icemakers to ensure that they have been certified as energy-efficient. 

More From SharePostt

Share This Article

:: saves for later ::

Last, but not least, if you found this post on How To Unclog A Double Kitchen Sink With A Garbage Disposal super helpful, please share it with your friends and followers!

0 comment