How to fix a garbage disposal that won’t drain | United Plumbing Blog


How to fix a garbage disposal that won’t drain?

Unclogging a garbage disposal that’s backed up with standing water can be a bit messy but it’s manageable. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

How do you unclog a garbage disposal from standing water?

Safety first: Before doing anything, make sure the garbage disposal is turned off to avoid any accidents. You can do this by unplugging it from the outlet or turning off the circuit breaker. 

Identify the problem: Determine what’s causing the clog. Sometimes it’s food particles, other times it might be something more substantial like a utensil.


Use a plunger: Yes, just like you would for a toilet. Place the plunger over the drain and push and pull rapidly. This can help dislodge whatever is clogging the disposal.

Reset the disposal: Most disposals have a reset button on the bottom. Once you’ve cleared the clog, push this button to reset the disposal. It should be taken into account that the button may not always be easily accessible and in some models there may not be such a button at all.

Try an Allen wrench: Underneath the disposal, there’s usually a hole where you can insert an Allen wrench. Turn the wrench clockwise and counterclockwise a few times to manually rotate the disposal. This might help break up the clog.


If you still managed to clear the stagnant water, then do the following:

How do I keep my garbage disposal from clogging:

Flush with hot water and baking soda or vinegar: Once the clog is cleared, run hot water down the drain for a few minutes to clear any remaining debris. You can also pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down the drain to help break up grease and other organic matter.

Run the disposal with water: After clearing the clog, turn on the disposal and run cold water for a few minutes to ensure everything is flowing smoothly.

If these methods don’t work, and the clog is still persistent, you might need to call a plumber. There could be a more serious issue with the disposal that requires professional attention.

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