How-To Videos

How to Fix a Clogged Kitchen Garbage Disposal

By: Danny Lipford
Using an Allen wrench to unclog a jammed kitchen garbage disposal.

Using an Allen wrench to unclog a jammed kitchen garbage disposal.

To fix a clogged or jammed garbage disposal:

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

To clean a kitchen garbage disposal:

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

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

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.


Please Leave a Comment

19 Comments on “How to Fix a Clogged Kitchen Garbage Disposal”

You can follow comments to this article by subscribing to the RSS news feed with your favorite feed reader.

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    April 1st, 2019 at 12:21 pm

    That is so awesome, Jen! Glad to hear it — please share. 🙂

  • Jen Says:
    March 30th, 2019 at 9:58 am

    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.

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    December 17th, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    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!

  • Larry Says:
    December 17th, 2018 at 8:46 am

    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.

  • John Says:
    December 14th, 2018 at 11:16 am

    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?

  • Christine Knollman Says:
    November 8th, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    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!

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    November 7th, 2018 at 3:57 pm

    Hi, Emily,
    Sorry to hear you’re having these problems with your garbage disposal!
    We recommend submitting questions involving unique situations like yours to the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show.
    Please use this form to contact Danny Lipford, America’s Home Expert, directly:
    Take care!

  • Emily burguan Says:
    November 7th, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    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

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    November 6th, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Hi, Rao,
    We recommend contacting GE for product-specific questions.
    Here’s where you can do that:
    Good luck!

  • Rao Says:
    November 5th, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    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.

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    October 22nd, 2018 at 5:40 pm

    Glad to hear it. Thanks for letting us know, Lynn!

  • Lynn Says:
    October 21st, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    It worked! Thank you Danny!

  • tabitha shryock Says:
    September 12th, 2018 at 7:41 pm

    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

  • Melissa Says:
    September 6th, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    Do you need to retighten the hex screw after unclogged?

  • Chas Johnson Says:
    August 26th, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    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

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    August 31st, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Glad to hear it, Ashley! Thanks for sharing.

  • ashley Says:
    August 24th, 2018 at 11:48 pm

    Did exactly how the video instructed and I was pleasantly surprised when it worked! Thank you for saving me a plumbers fee!

  • D. Dreinhofer Says:
    March 6th, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    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.

  • Hilda Says:
    February 24th, 2018 at 9:16 am

    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.

We want to hear from you! In addition to posting comments on articles and videos, you can also send your comments and questions to us on our contact page or at (800) 946-4420. While we can't answer them all, we may use your question on our Today's Homeowner radio or TV show, or online at

 characters available

How to Fix a Clogged Kitchen Garbage Disposal