How To Unclog a Garbage Disposal - My Plumber Kelowna


By Dave Bangar

How To Unclog a Garbage Disposal

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Your Step-by-Step Guide to Resolving a Clogged Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are a modern luxury that can bring so much convenience to your day-to-day life. However, they can also become a major disruption when they become clogged. Whether it’s due to a malfunctioning part or a blade that has become clogged, at My Plumber Kelowna, we frequently receive service calls for clogged garbage disposals. When this happens, we always recommend that you call a plumber to take a look. However, for minor clogs, there are some steps you can take to resolve the issue on your own if there isn’t a serious underlying problem at play.

Keep reading to find out what these steps are and learn how you can unclog your garbage disposal on your own before calling a plumber for support.

What Happens When Your Garbage Disposal Becomes Clogged

Before we get into the topic of clogged garbage disposals, it’s important to note that many Canadian municipalities have banned the use of garbage disposals in residential properties, including Kelowna. However, many older homes still have them installed, and clogged garbage disposals are something our plumbers deal with quite frequently here in Kelowna.

When these clogs happen, it’s usually due to one of several reasons:

  1. Large or tough-to-grind food scraps like bones, fruit pits, coffee beans, etc. have become trapped in the disposal.
  2. A buildup of grease and oil has led to thick residue forming around the blades
  3. Non-food items like utensils and kitchen tools have become trapped in the disposal.
  4. Too much food was disposed of at once, overloading the disposal.
  5. The blades have become worn out.
  6. The motor, the blade, or another part/component has malfunctioned.

You’ll know if you have a clogged garbage disposal when:

  • Water isn’t draining properly from your sink
  • You’re hearing strange noises coming from the disposal
  • There is a strong, foul odour coming from your disposal
  • Your disposal won’t turn on or starts and stops suddenly
  • Water is seeping around the disposal or at the connection points

Steps You Can Take to Unclog Your Garbage Disposal

If you are currently experiencing any of the above with your garbage disposal unit, there’s a strong chance you have a clog on your hands. When this happens, there are a few steps you can take to resolve the clog on your own.

Turn Off the Disposal and Water

To avoid potential injury, make sure that you turn off the power to your garbage disposal before proceeding to the next steps. Also make sure that your kitchen sink faucet has been turned off so that water won’t flow into the sink while you work to resolve the clog.

Confirm the Clog

If you haven’t already done so, confirm that there is, in fact, a clog in your garbage disposal by shining a flashlight inside it and checking for any visible debris or foreign objects that may be causing the clog. Also refer to the list of signs that were mentioned above.

Remove the Debris

If there is any visible debris that you can reach, remove it using tongs, pliers, or a long pair of needle-nose pliers.

Clean Out the Disposal

Even after visible debris has been removed, there may be additional food, grease, and debris further down in the disposal. To help ensure the disposal is completely cleared, pour ½ a cup of baking soda into the disposal followed by one cup of vinegar. Let the mixture sit for several minutes before pouring hot water down the drain. This should help to flush out the disposal and break up any residual debris.

Reset the Disposal and Turn it Back On

After cleaning out the disposal and removing the debris, reset the disposal by pressing the reset button. Then, you can turn the power back on and test the disposal to see if it’s functioning properly.

Call a Plumber

Garbage disposals are complex systems. Troubleshooting the root cause of the clog and repairing any major issues requires a certain level of expertise that only a plumber will have. So, if any of the above steps do not resolve your clogged disposal, we recommend calling a plumber.

At My Plumber Kelowna, our licensed, trained, and highly experienced plumbers have the expertise and professional tools to effectively handle stubborn clogs and resolve any other plumbing issues you may be experiencing.

Call us today at 250-601-0000 or fill out a form on our website, and we will be in touch ASAP.

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