A garbage disposal unit is a machine that assists in removal of garbage by shredding the waste food into minuscule pieces in order to facilitate their removal through drainage and disposal pipes. It is advised that the garbage disposal unit should run at regular intervals, and also that running cold water be used. This is because fats and oils can also be solidified and shredded with regular food wastes.

A garbage disposal unit is normally installed under a kitchen sink, between the drain of the sink and the trap. It is an electrically powered device. This unit has the ability to shred the food to a thickness of 2mm or less, and allows it pass through the plumbing pipe system in your house without clogging them. You can read more about garbage disposals here.

Reasons behind the clogging of garbage disposal units

The garbage disposal machine or unit is often taken for granted, and true to the nature of ‘oft granted’ for other things and appliances, it can sometimes become clogged due to improper treatment and lack of maintenance. The devices clog over time because the trap or waste line sometimes are coated, and often obstructed by food waste. Some reasons are;

·        Lack of Flushing Water: if one does not put in enough water during the time the unit is in action, it can result in a clog. The lack of adequate flushing water is often a cause.

·        Egg shells and coffee grounds: small items can cause bug problems later on. The egg shell and coffee grounds can create a kind of granular waste that has a tendency to stick to sludge in the pipe and cause a clog.

·        Potato peels: grounded potato peels can form a starchy, mashed potato like waste, and clog the system.

·        Banana peels: these are similar to the potato problem, with the addition of a stringy waste when shredded.

How to unclog a garbage disposal?

 A clogged garbage disposal is a frequent problem which is faced by Americans each and every year. And this hurts in some places of the country, where the average cost of living is higher. A rather good example is Los Angeles, where its 30% more than the normal average.

Here, we’ve compiled a neat little way to unclog your garbage disposal, read on to know more;

1.     Power disconnection: though this tip sounds obvious, it is one basic step that you need to diligently follow each time you set out to de-clog the unit.It is a basic safety tip and should never, ever be ignored. Physically disconnecting is the best way, and if that is not possible, ensures that the breaker is off. This is insurance for your precious hands. One really wouldn’t want to see the machine turned on while he’s working on it.

2.     Sink cleaning: if you find the sink full of water, it is recommended to force the garbage disposal unit to drain (temporarily) by the usage of a large wooden spoon that’s heavy. You may need to manually turn the blades of the disposal. If it does not drain even now, the pressure screws have to be loosened by a screwdriver and removed. Ensure that there is a bucket under the unit to catch the water.

3.     Locating the clog: after the sink and the garbage disposal unit have been cleared of water, take a peek inside to find out what is keeping it from draining properly. You need to remember that sometimes tools cannot handle the problem, so you may need a flashlight and something long and solid to investigate for objects that may have gotten wedged in the moving parts of the unit.

4.     Obstruction removal: after locating the obstruction, you have to remove it. This is one pie you would not want to put your fingers in. Use pliers that are needle nosed, or something similar which allows you to extend your reach in small places. Never put your hands into the disposal unit.

5.     Cleaning up: if you have removed the garbage disposal unit in order to work on it, the device should be reinstalled in exactly the same manner in which it was previously installed.  Also make sure that there are no tools lying about when you put the unit back in place.

6.     Checking for proper action: after you reassemble and reinstall the device, make sure that there are no hazards in the way and then reapply the power. The machine is supposed to run well after the water is turned on. Additionally, you can also check the pipes and the connections to ensure that there are no leaks present.

Some Garbage disposal DO’s which will help in proper maintenance

·        You should keep the garbage disposal unit clean. In order to do that, a little dish soap has to be put inside and the garbage disposal needs to run for a couple of minutes along with cold water.

·        The garbage disposal should be run regularly. Rust and corrosion will not take place if it is run at frequent intervals. It also makes sure that all the parts are moving properly and that obstruction accumulation is prevented.

·        Food waste has to be ground with a flow of cold water. Once again, this is because oils and grease will solidify and make it easier to get chopped.

·        Certain hard materials like small fish bones and chicken bones, egg shells and small fruit pits from time to time, they cause a scouring action in the grinding chamber and as a result, the walls of the unit are cleaned.

·        Larger items need to be cut into smaller pieces. A good way to dispose of them is to put them one at a time in the grinder so that the grinder does not become overwhelmed by the load, it might take you a bit more time, but you’ll be reassured that all is well during operations.


So there you have it, a comprehensive checklist for unclogging garbage disposal units as well as a list of good practices to follow.