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How to Fix and Clean Your Garbage Disposal

Thanksgiving is over and your garbage disposal doesn’t work. It’s a common experience for many homeowners across the country. Whenever large amounts of people gather under one roof, we experience a surge in plumbing repair and drain cleaning calls.

How to Fix a Garbage Disposal

Luckily, if your garbage disposal isn’t working properly, there are several things a homeowner can try before calling a plumber:

  1. Before you do anything, turn off power to the garbage disposal from the breaker box! *NEVER stick your hand down the garbage disposal
  2. Make sure there is nothing blocking the blades. Use a flashlight to look into the disposal and long tongs to try and dislodge whatever may be stuck. If that doesn’t work, the next step is to check the garbage disposal under the sink. (You may need to remove the rubber splash guard to see properly.)
  3. Use an Allen wrench to insert into the small hole in the center of the underside of the disposal. This will enable you to manually turn the garbage disposal blades. Move the tool back and forth to dislodge the offending item in the disposal. Still nothing? Step 3…
  4. Make sure that everything is safe and tight before turning the power to the disposal back on. Once the disposal is turned on at the circuit breaker, move on to step 5.
  5. Press the red “reset” button at the bottom of the disposal to reset the disposal’s circuit breaker.

How to Clean a Garbage Disposal

Watch this video to learn how to clean your garbage disposal:

ADDITIONAL GARBAGE DISPOSAL TIPS
  1. A garbage disposal is not a garbage! Avoid placing the following items down your garbage disposal:large amounts of anything, fibrous foods (celery, corn husks, artichokes, etc.), grease/fat/oil, pits/seeds, bones (only very small ones are acceptable), plastic/paper and other garbage, rice/pasta, string vegetables and peels.
  2. Don’t let food items sit in your disposal. Never overload your disposal.
  3. Run cold water when using your disposal.
  4. If you do put fibrous foods, vegetable skins, or other problematic food items down your disposal, make sure you do so in very small quantities at a time and use forceful cold water to help flush it through.
  5. Clean and deodorize regularly. Use the tips in the video above. Citrus peels are great for freshening up the disposal and getting rid of foul odors.

If none of the above bring your disposal back to life, it may be time to call a professional.

A qualified plumber can help troubleshoot the problem and perform the necessary repair or, if it’s truly dead, a replacement.

Call Universal Home Experts, your trusted source for local plumbing, electric, and HVAC installation and repair in Houston and the surrounding areas. Our lines are open 24/7 at (713) 364-0226.