How to Unclog a Garbage Disposer

1-2 hours

Eliminate any clogs from a jammed sink disposal in two simple steps

Unclog a Garbage Disposer

While garbage disposals built in to kitchen sinks are incredibly convenient, unfortunately they can become jammed if used too frequently or overloaded. This guide will teach you what steps to take to quickly resolve any issues with a jammed or clogged disposer.

Safety: Never insert anything into the disposer while the power is on. Even if the disposer is not running, you must turn the power completely off before working with it.


Basic maintenance
Basic maintenance - Unclog Garbage Disposer

• Turn off the power to the jammed disposer and unplug it.
• Look inside the opening with a flashlight to see what is jamming it.
• Remove the waste using small tongs or pliers and restore power.
• Run the water in the sink, turn the power back on, and try to run the disposer again.

Tip: If it’s a particularly difficult clog, while the power is still off, insert a broom handle into the drain opening and try to free the impellers.

Reset the disposer and turn the impellers
Reset disposer turn impellers - Unclog Garbage Disposer

• Turn off the power. Check the bottom of the unit; find the reset button and press it, then turn on the power to test.
• If the disposer is still stuck, turn the power back off and insert a ¼-inch Allen wrench into the hex socket on the bottom.
• The socket is connected to the impellers that crunch up the waste. Using the hex key, turn the impellers in both directions to free them up.
• Do not try to loosen any nuts or bolts inside the grinding chamber, as they hold the unit together.
• Turn the power back on and try again.

Tip: Some companies make oversize jam-busting Allen wrench tools specifically designed for garbage disposals.