Unclogging Your Way to a Cleaner Kitchen: How Plumbers Tackle Garbage Disposal Blockages

Garbage disposals are the unsung heroes of our modern kitchens. They efficiently manage food waste, reduce odors, and help maintain a clean and hygienic environment.

However, these powerful devices can sometimes succumb to blockages and clogs, which disrupt their functionality and cause inconvenience.

When these issues arise, it’s essential to have a professional plumber tackle the problem to ensure a safe and effective resolution.

This article will delve into expert plumbers’ techniques to unclog garbage disposals and restore them to perfect working order.

Moreover, it will also guide you on what can go in a garbage disposal.

Garbage Disposal

Identifying the Signs of a Blocked Garbage Disposal

The first step to fixing a garbage disposal issue is to recognize the signs of a blockage. A few common indicators include:

  1. Slow or stagnant water drainage.
  2. Unpleasant odors emanating from the sink.
  3. Strange noises, such as grinding or humming, come from the disposal.
  4. Water backs up into the sink when the disposal is turned on.

If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to call a professional plumber to assess and address the situation.

The Plumber’s Arsenal: Tools and Techniques

Plumbers possess a variety of specialized tools and techniques to tackle garbage disposal blockages effectively. Some common methods and tools include:

  1. Plunger: A standard plunger can often be used to dislodge a clog. Plumbers will ensure a tight seal around the drain and use forceful plunging motions to create suction that loosens the blockage.
  2. Hand-crank or auger: For more stubborn clogs, a plumber may utilize a hand-crank or an auger (also known as a plumber’s snake) to break up the blockage. This flexible, long tool can reach deep into the disposal and dislodge debris.
  3. Inspection camera: Plumbers may use a small, waterproof camera attached to a flexible cable to inspect the disposal’s inner workings and locate the blockage’s source. This allows for a more targeted and effective approach.
  4. Disassembling the garbage disposal: In cases where the blockage is severe or cannot be resolved using other methods, a plumber may need to disassemble the garbage disposal to remove the obstruction manually.

Prevention is Better than Cure: Tips for Avoiding Blockages

To maintain your garbage disposal’s efficiency and avoid blockages, consider the following tips:

  1. Run cold water while using the disposal: Cold water helps solidify grease and fat, preventing them from sticking to the blades and pipes.
  2. Cut large items into smaller pieces: Breaking down large food items before putting them into the disposal makes it easier for the device to process the waste.
  3. Avoid fibrous or starchy foods: Foods like celery, potato peels, and banana peels can create stubborn clogs in your garbage disposal. Dispose of these items in the trash or compost bin instead.
  4. Regular cleaning: Clean your garbage disposal regularly with baking soda and vinegar to prevent the buildup of debris and odors.
  5. Use a disposal screen or strainer: A screen or strainer can catch large debris before it enters the disposal, reducing the risk of clogs.

What Can One Dispose of in a Garbage Disposal?

When using a garbage disposal, it’s essential to know what should and shouldn’t be thrown into it to prevent blockages and maintain optimal performance. So, what can go in a garbage disposal? Safe items for disposal include:

  1. Soft, cooked food scraps: Leftovers, such as cooked vegetables and small pieces of meat, are easily ground up.
  2. Small fruit scraps: Small, non-fibrous fruit scraps like apple or pear peels can be safely processed by disposal.

Avoid throwing these items into your garbage disposal:

  1. Grease and oil: These substances can solidify and create stubborn clogs in the pipes.
  2. Fibrous or stringy vegetables: Celery, corn husks, and onion skins can wrap around the blades, leading to jams.
  3. Starchy foods: Potato peels, rice, and pasta can absorb water and swell, causing blockages.
  4. Eggshells: The shells’ membranes can wrap around the blades, and the small fragments can stick to pipe walls, contributing to clogs.
  5. Coffee grounds: They can accumulate in the pipes and create blockages over time.
  6. Bones, pits, or seeds: These hard items can damage the blades and strain the motor.

By disposing of appropriate items and avoiding problematic ones, you can ensure your garbage disposal remains efficient and clog-free.


Garbage disposal blockages can be a significant inconvenience in your kitchen, but with the expertise of a professional plumber, you can quickly and safely resolve the issue. Plumbers have the tools, techniques, and knowledge to unclog garbage disposals effectively, ensuring a clean, hygienic, and functional kitchen environment. By understanding the signs of blocked disposal, employing preventive measures, and trusting professionals for repairs, you can enjoy a cleaner, smoother kitchen experience.

Julie Higgins
Julie is a Staff Writer at momooze.com. She has been working in publishing houses before joining the editorial team at momooze. Julie's love and passion are topics around beauty, lifestyle, hair and nails.