How to Unclog Your Garbage Disposal

By HomeAdvisor

Updated May 7, 2020

Disposal Repair Tips

Cleaning out and fixing a clog in your garbage disposal may be easier than you think. Follow these steps when it stops working to diagnose and repair the disposal.

  1. Push the reset switch on the bottom of the disposal and try re-running it.
  2. Check your breaker box to ensure it didn’t short. Flip the switch back on.
  3. Insert an Allen wrench into the bottom center of the disposal and twist it multiple times in both directions to move the drum and loosen any clogged material.

Disposal Maintenance Tips


  • run the drain with cold water and continue until it’s empty.
  • compost vegetable peels and rinds, instead of putting them down the disposal.
  • unplug it and use tongs to remove any large items before running it.
  • insert a ground lemon into the drain to clean pipes and to remove odors.


  • overload the disposal.
  • pour grease down the sink.
  • reach down the drain without unplugging it first.

How to Deodorize a Garbage Disposal

Disposals can become the source of unpleasant smells. Here’s a quick trick to eliminate unwanted odors:

  1. Create a deodorizer. Mix together natural cleaner, vinegar, water and lemon rinds.
  2. Freeze the mixture. Pour the mixture into an ice tray and place it in your freezer.
  3. Place the ice cubes in your disposal. Leave the ice cubes in your disposal several times a week. The ice cubes will clean and deodorize your disposal as they melt.

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