A clogged garbage disposal is one of the most common problems San Francisco area homeowners experience in their kitchens. Luckily, there are some things you can do on your own to remove the clog before you have to contact a professional.

Before we get into the specifics of what to do when your garbage disposal is clogged, it’s important to stress a couple precautions.

First, before you stick anything down your disposal, make sure that the power is shut off and the switch is turned down. Second, and most importantly, never stick your hand down your disposal. It’s not worth risking injury to yourself when you can easily remove a clog with an extraction tool like a pair of pliers.

Six steps to take when your garbage disposal is clogged

Here are six easy steps you can take to try and remove a garbage disposal clog on your own:

  • 1. If you do not hear any sound when you flip the switch to your disposal, press the reset button. This is usually a red button located on the bottom of your disposal under your sink.
  • 2. Turn off the power to your disposal by flipping the switch on your circuit breaker or unplugging the disposal if the plug is within reach.
  • 3. Use a flashlight to look down your disposal and see if you can see the clog. If it’s within reach, use pliers or some other extraction tool to pull out the clog.
  • 4. Find the hexagonal opening on the bottom of your disposal and insert an allen wrench into it. Turn the wrench back and forth to manually spin the grinding arms of your disposal and break down the clog. An appropriately sized allen wrench is often provided with your disposal.
  • 5. Remove any remaining loose material from your disposal using an extraction tool.
  • 6. Turn the power to your unit back on and try running it with running water.

If your garbage disposal is still clogged after following the above steps, it’s probably best to contact a plumber to fix the unit.

If you have any questions about what to do when your garbage disposal is clogged, or would like the help of a professional, contact Cabrillo, your San Francisco plumbing, heating and cooling company. We service the San Francisco area and surrounding cities like Orinda, Woodside, Portola Valley and Redwood City.