Are you supposed to empty garbage disposal?

in sink garbage disposal

When you can’t get your garbage disposal to drain, what are you supposed to do?

Is there a method to empty a garbage disposal maybe? Out of all the appliances in a kitchen, a garbage disposal may have the worse job of them all. The garbage disposal or disposer is a hard working appliance, and it tends to get smelly if it isn’t cleaned on a regular basis. 

How do you clean a garbage disposal? Some homeowners say to remove the food buildup on the garbage disposal blades is put frozen orange or lemon peeling in the unit then let them grind up. However, garbage disposal manufacturers and plumbers will tell you not to put peelings in your garbage disposal. Instead, pour a half cup of baking soda and run hot water while the unit is grinding. 

So, that brings us to the question, “What are the worst things to put down a garbage disposal?”. The garbage disposal can easily become a trash can of sorts, so it is no wonder things are tossed in it without any regard to the damage it can cause. The answer is these 5 things you should never put in your garbage disposal are as follows, and surprising peelings isn’t on this list: 

Fats and Grease 

Never drain the butter, fat, grease,  vegetable oil, or any meat trimmings in your garbage disposal. These will create problems from the bottom to the top, starting with the blades. As you keep adding these things, the become solid and other food items start sticking to them. The disposal blades become less effective and the drain gets clogged.  

Animal Bones

Garbage disposal blades are powerful, but if anything can wear them down, it is animal bones. Finished with that fried chicken or BBQ ribs? Put the bones in the actual trash, not the garbage disposal. 

Stringy Foods

Brussel sprouts, celery, string cheese, or any kind of stringy foods do not belong in a garbage disposal. The strings will get wrapped around the garbage disposal base under the blades, wearing the motor out because it can’t spin as it should. 

Pits and Seeds

Oh yeah, that yummy guacamole, or the cherry pie, peach cobbler, and other fruit or vegie dish everyone loves all have pits or seeds. Keep those pits and seeds out of the garbage disposal! Use your strainer and put them in the trash. They will simply bounce around inside the garbage disposal, never going anywhere, just wearing the blades out. 

 Coffee and Tea Grounds

Coffee and tea grounds are a big no-no, which surprises most people. While these may look like a powdery substance, when the get wet, they stick to the sides of the garbage disposal and over time, the drain gets clogged, making the garbage disposal can become sludgy acting. 

Can you plunge a garbage disposal?

Yes you can with a few special steps. Because a garbage disposal handles a lot of food particles, we sometimes have problems with the garbage disposal and sink not draining occasionally. A typical sink plunger will work if the clog is located in the disposal drainpipe. However, a clog in the disposal unit itself needs to be cleared before you can  use the sink plunger. 

How do you unclog your garbage disposal?

Here we provide the steps you need to follow and keep from having to call plumber:

  1. Not sure where the clog is? Turn on the garbage disposal and if it is humming but not turning, that is where the clog is located.
  2. Turn the power off at the main breaker then get under the sink and using an Allen key wrench, stick it in the small opening on the bottom of the unit in the center. Turning it clockwise until it resist, then turn the other way until it resist. Keep going back and forth until the resistance stops. 
  3. Plug the opposite drain with the drain stopper and run water in the disposal side until it is half-full.
  4. With the sink plunger over the disposal drain,  push it down slowly and pull back up. Repeat this process until the water is moving down the disposal side. 
  5. Now, remove the sink plunger and turn the power back on to the garbage disposal. Run water in the drain for a few minutes then turn the garbage disposal on and let any food waste get washed away.         
garbage disposal under the sink

What does it mean when I turn on garbage disposal water comes up?

If there is water backing up in the  kitchen sink when you turn the garbage disposal on, it could be any of the following: 

  • The garbage disposal drain has blockage.
  • You have overused the garbage disposal.
  • The  garbage disposal was installed incorrectly.

Most likely, out of those three scenarios, the first one is probably it and we just gave you step-by-step to take care of the problem. Going forward, you need to be careful what is put into the garbage disposal, by you and others. 

Never attempt to use a garbage disposal without water! The water is the lubricant that makes the garbage disposal operate smoothly. Water also washes whatever you grind down the drain. Call (310) 454-2010 today for your garbage disposal repair needs in West Los Angeles, CA.