How To Get Items Out Of Garbage Disposal

washing veggies in kitchen sinkHaving a garbage disposal makes working in the kitchen easier. You get to discard the remnants from last night’s heavy dinner without spending too much time and energy. But what happens when a stubborn piece of food – or object -gets stuck in your disposal unit?

Below are some quick, easy-to-follow tips for clearing out clogged garbage disposal but if you’re just not in the mood for some under-the-sink timeout, or you’re not sure you’ve got the right tools to get the job done, you can always reach out to us at Captain Plumber for your plumbing services.

Now that you know you have a readily available plumbing contractor in to fall back on in case things go south real quick, we’d just go right into the steps you can take to get rid of foreign objects in your garbage disposal.

Turn Off The Power Source

Make sure your garbage disposal is turned off and unplugged from the major power source before attempting to remove anything from it.

You would not want it accidentally coming on and making mincemeat of your fingers, or worse, electrocuting you while you work.

Get Rid Of Any Visibly Stuck Objects

Use a pair of tongs or pliers to remove any chunk of food waste large enough to see from the garbage disposal.

Don’t stick your hand in the garbage disposal unit to remove items unless you’re certain it’s turned off, and there are no broken pieces of glass stuck that could hurt you.

Dislodge Unseen Stuck Objects

To do this, you’d need to find the Allen wrench-port underneath your disposal unit and – you guessed right – insert an Allen-wrench into the port.

Work the wrench back and forth to move the masher plates, so whatever is stuck between them gets dislodged. Remove as many pieces as you can see with your tongs or pliers.

Vacuum Your Garbage Disposal

To be doubly sure you’ve gotten rid of any tiny item stuck in your garbage disposal unit, place a wet-dry vacuum cleaner over the top of your unit and vacuum until you can’t hear anything being sucked up anymore.

Turn off your vacuum cleaner and wipe clean till dry if wet to prevent mold from forming inside.

Reset Your Garbage Disposal

Reconnect your machine to the power source. You can partially cover the drainage opening to prevent any unseen items from flying up and poking you in the eye.

Turn the garbage disposal on and allow running water to flow through, so whatever remaining food items or objects stuck can be crushed and washed down the drain.

If you’ve done all the above and your garbage disposal still jams, turn it off immediately, turn off the faucet and repeat the process all over from the beginning.

If after two or three tries and there’s still no improvement, you can reach out to us at Captain Plumber and we’d be delighted to come to your aid.

Tips To Maintaining A Garbage Disposal

water in garbage disposal
Photo credit: Dean Hochman on

If you’ve ever walked into your kitchen on a hot summer afternoon and the first sign of welcome, you get is an unpleasant rancid smell wafting from your kitchen sink, there’s every possibility you have a food waste problem. Especially if you already have a garbage disposal unit installed.

So how do you make sure your garbage disposal unit is functioning properly so you don’t feel awkward when a visitor asks for lemonade from the kitchen freezer?

The first step to take is paying attention to the type of solid food waste that goes into your garbage disposal unit.

The following food items are safe to put in your kitchen garbage disposal:

  1. Citrus Rinds with their slightly acidic content help keep your disposal clean and smelling fresh
  2. Egg Shells can help keep your disposal’s impellers free from debris, so long as they go in small quantities at a time
  3. Coffee Grounds are okay to toss down your disposal, provided they’re in small quantities, and can keep it smelling fresh
  4. Cooked Meat Scraps and Small Bones, in small quantities, are okay to go down the disposal machine
  5. Vegetable and Fruit Scraps are also great food products to go down the drain and help keep your drains smelling fresh.

There are a few food waste products you shouldn’t put in your garbage disposal, and some of them include:

  1. Large Bones should go nowhere near your garbage disposal unit. They are best thrown in your bin bag
  2. Shrimp Shells are incredibly tough and may cause more harm than good to your disposal’s impellers
  3. Banana PeelsArtichokes, Corn Husks, and Asparagus, with their high fibrous content, are best left for the garbage bin instead of your kitchen disposal
  4. Grease or any other fatty food waste products, should not be put in your disposal machine to avoid clogs when they congeal in the pipes
  5. Rice and pasta have the nasty tendency to expand in pipes even when they have been torn to bits and pieces, leading to clogged pipes.

Here are 3 easy-to-implement tips for keeping your garbage disposal unit in optimal condition:

  • Run Your Garbage Disposal Unit Often

Even when you don’t have any food waste to process, it is advisable to turn it on periodically. This helps prevent the internal components of your disposal unit from freezing up or rusting and helps get rid of any leftover food items that can cause foul smells or clogs.

  • Use Cold Water While Your Disposal Is In Operation

Even though hot water is great for cleaning a lot of stuff, when it comes to cleaning your garbage disposal, cold water is preferable. The cold water helps harden the food particles, making it easy for your disposal to grind up and flush down the drainage pipe.

  • Allow Your Disposal Run Longer Than Usual

Whenever you’re done using the garbage disposal, allow it to run longer with the water on for a few minutes. This is to ensure you don’t leave any leftover food items in the machine.

Need help maintaining or installing your garbage disposal? Give Captain Plumber a call today!