How to Fix a Clogged Kitchen Garbage Disposal

To fix a clogged or jammed garbage disposal:

  • Turn the garbage disposal off.
  • Insert the correct size hex or Allen wrench in the six sided hole in the bottom of the garbage disposer motor.
  • Move the wrench back and forth to dislodge whatever it is that’s clogging it.

Note: This tip is not recommended for porcelain sinks. 

To clean a kitchen garbage disposal:

  • Pour a small amount of baking soda in the garbage disposal.
  • Pour 1/2 cup of white vinegar in the disposal on top of the baking soda.
  • Allow the mixture to work for a few minutes.
  • Pour boiling water in the garbage disposal.
  • Allow the hot water to remain in the disposal for a few minutes.
  • Turn the garbage disposal on, and flush it out with water from the sink faucet.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: Rebecca asks, “If my garbage disposal is stuck, is it time to buy a new one?”

If your garbage disposal sounds like this, well, turn it off. Because it’s in a bind, and if you leave it that way, it’ll end up tripping the reset button on the bottom of the disposal or even a circuit breaker in your home.

But to dislodge whatever’s causing it to be in a bind you can use the hex wrench that came with the garbage disposal. I know most people lose them, that’s okay. Grab your set of Allen wrenches, get the right size, insert it into the recess hole right in the bottom of the disposal, and turn it left and right until you dislodge whatever caused it to get into a bind.

Then a little extreme cleaning may be good. Put a little baking soda in, a half a cup of vinegar; and then, after about five minutes, boiling water. That should help clean it, and keep it from being a problem in the future.


  1. My garbage disposal was clogged and had water slowly dripping from under the disposal. Just small drips. I followed your instructions and unclogged the disposal. The ran fine and the drip stopped. However, the drip has started again whenever water runs in that sink.

  2. Cleaning your garbage disposal should also include cleaning the
    black rubber guard below the collar. Wear rubber gloves and use Clorox wipes or a Shop Towel dipped in a liquid cleanser.
    Reach down into the (non-working) disposal and clean under the guard, lifting each section to wipe until debris is gone. This step will help eliminate odors, as well as deter any tiny kitchen ants during warm summer months. You will be amazed at how dirty this part of your disposal can get due to neglect.

  3. This video saved us a ton of money !!! After having an inoperable garbage disposal for a month my husband went in and followed the steps on the video and Boom we were back in business

  4. I noticed I had water backed up in my dishwasher I replaced it with a newer one and its still doing that. I turn on my garbage disposal and it backs up in my kitchen sink. I put drano in it and that didn’t work then I noticed the garbage disposal is leaking at the bottom

  5. My disposal(GE company) doesn’t have the hole underneath to use the Allen wrench. It is making humming sound though..Not sure how to unclog it. I used Drano gel, but no use. Any suggestion is appreciated. Thanks.

  6. I used the tool that came with the disposal when I stuck it In the hole it doesn’t seem to turn I moved right and left and it seems very tight I tried looking in the Garbage disposal and Doesn’t seem like anything is In there that I can see .. also my garage disposal started to clog can that be part of the reason it’s hard to turn

  7. OMG, this was a life saver! I just have to have to tell my hubby that something needs to be fixed because I did a dumb thing! A garbage disposal cannot handle lots of rice at one time! Followed your instructions, found the right tools (yeah me) and had the darned thing fixed before my hubby got home! Thank you kindly!

  8. I’m trying to help a neighbor unplug her disposal. I found a coin in it and removed it. But when I rotate the blades it gets stuck at one point in the circle. The obstruction seems to be below the blades. If I take off the bottom cap will I get access to the area below the blades to remove any obstruction there?

  9. Hello, My garbage disposal drains real slow. I took all the piping apart to clean them and there was nothing in them. So i put it back together and put about a gallon of hot water to flush it out. And it took about 2 to 3 min for the water to be gone once i turned on the garbage disposal. I’m lost can you help.

    • Hi, Larry,
      Sorry to hear you’re having problems with your garbage disposal.
      If you tried the tips in this video, in addition to cleaning all the pipes, there’s not much more a do-it-yourselfer can do.
      Without being there in person to see the situation, it sounds like it’s time to call a professional plumber for his or her assessment.
      Good luck!

  10. Easy peasy, worked like a charm!
    It felt good not having to ask the husband to fix something, I may or may not be walking around with my chest puffed out for the rest of the day. Thank you.

  11. Danny, you’re a savior! I’m a 1st home owner and 3 times it’s been a struggle when our kitchen garbage disposal is clogged. For the 1st 2, me and my take turns the hard way of putting our hands inside and take out the small bones, “a small screw!” stuck in between, etc. It’s an awful thing to do! This 3rd one, I tried to insert a hard plastic in between the side and the center metal hoping to push down the whatever in it. Obviously, it’s unsuccessful and give up. Then, I remember the internet, huh! Browsing, I finally see your website with a very simple solution!!! Wallah!!! It cleared the clog. Now, I know what that wrench taped on my garbage disposal is used for!!!


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