A broken garbage disposal can ruin your whole day. Try these four DIY fixes… and NEVER do these one.
What did we do before garbage disposals? These in-sink installations are so useful for efficient cooking and cleanup. A garbage disposal can be particularly helpful for those who don’t want to throw food waste in the trash, but don’t have an easy or efficient method of composting.
DIY Ways To Fix A Broken Garbage Disposal
This should be obvious, but it bears repeating and repeating: Unplug and disconnect your garbage disposal from its power source before proceeding. You should be completely certain the unit is OFF and not “hot” before performing any maintenance. Additionally: Putting your hands anywhere near a working garbage disposal is very dangerous, and can result in serious injury. If you’re not sure how to turn off your garbage disposal from its power source, contact your local plumber and ask for assistance.
Flush The Disposal With Homemade Cleaner
Your grandmother was right: Baking soda and vinegar can work wonders in tricky cleaning situations. Try mixing one part baking soda to two parts white vinegar (save the fancy balsamic vinegar for your next salad dressing) and pouring it into the drain. Let it sit for a few minutes — it will fizz and bubble! — then follow with a kettleful of just-boiled water. If nothing else, this DIY concoction will freshen the scent in your drain.
Try Removing Stuck Items With Pliers
You’re absolutely sure the disposal is disconnected from power? Okay! Use a flashlight to peer into the drain. Can you see a physical object, such as a fibrous vegetable peel? Use your pliers (not your hands) to try and remove it. Flush the drain with water before reconnecting to power and trying to run the disposal again.
Use A (Clean!) Plunger
Let this be proof: It pays to have two separate plungers for various purposes. Use your sink-only plunger to dislodge stubborn disposal clogs. Place the plunger directly over the drain, then fill the sink with water so it covers the base. It may help to stand on a chair or ladder to get a little extra height and leverage as you plunge. This method won’t work unless the plunger is submerged in water, so don’t skip that step!
Try A Commercial Drain Unclogging Product
Gels and liquids that work to pull debris away from the pipes and dissolve it can be a helpful solution, but there are a few caveats. Not all products are safe and efficient for garbage disposals. If the product is not approved for disposal use, save it for another drain. Be sure to read the entire package, as well as any warnings or requirements, before using it in your disposal.
What NOT To Do With A Broken Garbage Disposal
If your garbage disposal is completely backed up, and the sink does not drain at all, do not put your hand into the drain. In fact — never do this, in any scenario. Even if you can see the stuck object, or it seems close to the top of the drain, use pliers or call for emergency backup from your local plumber.
If you rely on your garbage disposal to cook efficiently and cleanly, you’ll want to keep it in good working condition. In addition to troubleshooting problems as they arise, perform preventative maintenance by regularly flushing it with hot water (and/or that baking soda and vinegar solution!). Many homeowners find that processing a halved lemon every couple weeks keeps the blades fresh and the scent fresh. Finally, be sure not to put bones or very large food scraps in the disposal, as most home units simply don’t have the capacity to thoroughly process them.
Contact Blanton’s Air at (910) 249-4898 for all your Fayetteville or Raleigh, NC HVAC and plumbing needs.