A Clogged Kitchen Sink: How to Fix Your Disposal


If your kitchen sink isn’t draining, it could actually be because your garbage disposal isn’t working or is clogged with food or something else that went down it. There are a few things you can try before deciding to call a plumber. It might be as simple as a press of a button! Whatever you do, NEVER put your hand inside the disposal. There is one important question to answer first: Does your disposal make any noise when you turn it on?

What to do if it doesn’t make noise:

  1. Look underneath the garbage disposal and find the small red button at the bottom of it. Try to press the button. This will likely work if the button isn’t already depressed (they’re sensitive). Press the button and try your disposal.
  2. If that didn’t work, find the electrical panel in your home and flip the circuit breaker that controls the electricity for your disposal. Most times, this will be the same switch that controls all the electricity for your kitchen.
  3. At this point, the last option could be a broken connection between your garbage disposal switch and the disposal itself. If that is not the case, then a new disposal might be needed.

What to do if it does make noise:

  1. Find your electrical service panel and turn off the breaker for the kitchen.  There is a good chance this will shut off the power to the refrigerator, so be sure to turn it back on as soon as you’re done working on the garbage disposal
  2. There is a small hole in the bottom of your disposal. Your disposal should have come with an offset wrench. If you don’t have the wrench, they are sold at most home improvement stores. Insert this offset wrench into the hole in the bottom of your disposal.
  3. After inserting the wrench, turn it clockwise. This will turn the flywheel in the opposite direction it usually spins, so anything stuck in it can come out. The flywheel will be tough to turn at first, but it will be easy to turn after anything stuck in there has broken loose. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of strength in turning the flywheel.
  4. If that doesn’t work or if you can’t find yourself an offset wrench, you can try manipulating the flywheel from the opening of the disposal. Find something with a long, narrow wooden handle. A broom is most commonly used in this situation, but any wooden handle should work. Put the handle down the opening of the disposal and try to push the blades in the opposite direction they spin. You should be able to feel when it’s broken loose.
  5. Turn the circuit breaker back on to your kitchen. Check the other appliances in the room to make sure it was turned on properly.
  6. Press the red reset button located at the bottom of your disposal underneath the sink.
  7. Run some water and see if your disposal works!

If none of these things work, then there is a good chance you need to replace your garbage disposal, or look into a video pipe inspection. Of course, your local Benjamin Franklin Plumbing experts can certainly take care of those services for you too. Contact us anytime at 952-933-8888.

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