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How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal with Standing Water

how to unclog a garbage disposal with standing water

Has this ever happened to you? You turn on the waste disposal and start to chop up some food, but then all of a sudden the water starts backing up and doesn't stop.

You have no choice but to turn off the disposal because it's making such a huge mess.  A common cause of this is standing water in the sink that overflows into the drainage pipe and creates a blockage.

This how-to blog post will show you how to unclog a garbage disposal with standing water that can't be removed by hand.

How Does A Garbage Disposal Work?

Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposer is a device that is installed under a kitchen sink between the kitchen sink drain and the trap. The disposal grinds food waste into small pieces that can flow easily through the pipe.

Most disposals have a reset button located on the bottom that, if pushed, will cause the blades to stop moving and prevent any further grinding.

A garbage grinder is turned on by flipping a switch that is usually located on the wall near the sink. The switch activates an electric motor that turns the blades.

When the waste disposal is not in use, it should be turned off to prevent accidental activation.

Why Is My Waste Disposal Not Draining?

There are a few reasons why garbage grinders might not be draining properly:

  • Food has become lodged in the drain and is blocking the flow of water.
  • The garbage disposer blades are jammed and need to be reset
  • The motor is burned out
  • There is standing water in the sink
  • A foreign object is blocking the drain pipe

How Do You Unclog A Double Kitchen Sink With A Waste Disposal?

If you have a double kitchen sink with a waste disposal, and one side is draining while the other is not, the first thing you should check is the garbage grinder.

If the reset button has been pushed, the blades will need to be turned manually. This can usually be done with a hex wrench or pliers.

If that doesn't work, the next step is to check for a blockage.

First, remove the stopper from the drainage and see if water flows freely. If it does, the blockage is further down the pipe and you'll need to use a plunger or snake to remove it.

If there is no blockage, the problem may be with the motor. This will need to be replaced by a professional.

Finally, if there is standing water in the sink, this can be due to a clogged drainpipe. The best way to clear a clogged drain is to use a plunger or snake.

If you don't have either of these tools, you can try pouring boiling water down the drain. This will often loosen a clog enough to allow the water to drain.

Do you have non draining disposal unit? Check out our garbage disposal services

Can You Plunge A Garbage Disposal?

The quick answer is yes, you can plunge a garbage disposer - but there are a few things you should keep in mind before you do.

  1. First, plunging disposal can be dangerous if done incorrectly, so it's important to read the manufacturer's instructions carefully and follow them to the letter.
  2. Second, always use a plunger with a cup large enough to cover the entire disposal opening, otherwise, you risk damaging the unit.
  3. And finally, be sure to clear any debris from around the disposal before plunging, as this will help to prevent clogs.

If you follow these simple tips, plunging your garbage grinder should be no problem.

And who knows - maybe you'll even find it satisfying to watch all that gunk disappear down the drain!

Can You Put Drano Down A Waste Disposal?

If your garbage disposer is backed up and you're looking for a quick way to clear the clog, you might be tempted to reach for the Drano.

However, before you do, it's important to understand the risks involved.

It is a powerful chemical cleaner that can cause serious burns if it comes into contact with your skin.

In addition, this cleaner can damage your garbage disposer, causing it to rust and corrode.

Finally, if it does manage to clear the clog, there's a good chance that the clog will simply reform further down the drain, meaning you'll have to deal with the problem all over again.

Why is my garbage disposal backing up?

One of the most common problems is clogged waste disposal. There are several reasons why your garbage disposer might be backing up, but the most common culprit is a build-up of food waste.

  • Over time, small pieces of food can become lodged in the blades or drainage, causing a blockage.
  • Eggshells and shellfish can get clogged.
  • Another possible cause is a foreign object that has fallen into the disposal, such as a coffee mug or utensil.

If you suspect that you have a clogged garbage grinder, the first step is to check the blades for any sign of damage or obstruction.

If the blades seem to be functioning properly, you can try using a plumber snake to clear the drainage. If neither of these solutions works, you may need to call a professional contractor for assistance.

Can boiling water unclog a garbage disposal?

If your waste disposal is clogged, one of the first things you might be tempted to try is boiling water.

While this method can sometimes be effective, there are a few things you should know before you give it a try.

  1. Never pour boiling water directly into the disposal - always pour it slowly and carefully so that you don't splash yourself.
  2. Be aware that boiling water can damage some types of garbage disposer, so it's always best to check your owner's manual before you try this method.
  3. If the clog is caused by grease or oil, boiling water will only make the problem worse.
  4. Finally, in these cases, it's best to call our expert for assistance.

Can You Pour A Drain Cleaner Down A Garbage Disposal Unit?

Drain cleaners are a powerful way to clear clogged drains, but you should exercise caution before using them. This solution is especially good for unclogging grease, fat, and oil.

Certain types of drain cleaners can damage your garbage disposer so it's always best to check the manufacturer's instructions before using one.

If you're not comfortable using a drain cleaner, or if the clog is particularly severe, it's best to call a professional plumber for assistance.

How Can I Prevent my Waste Disposal from Getting Clogged?

One of the best ways to prevent your waste disposal from getting clogged is to be careful about what you put down the drain.

Avoid putting hard-to-grind items, such as chicken bones, egg shells, coffee grounds, or fruit pits, down the disposal.

In addition, try to scrape plates clean before washing them, and never pour grease or oil down the drainage.

Maintenance to Prevent Future Disposal Unit Clogs

In addition to being careful about what you put down the drain, there are a few other things you can do to prevent your garbage disposer from getting clogged.

  • Every few months, pour a cup of baking soda down the drain and let it sit for a few minutes before flushing with hot water. This will help to break down any build-up that might be starting to form.
  • Second, once a week, grind up a lemon (peel and all) in the disposal to freshen it and help prevent rust.
  • Finally, every few months, remove the garbage grinder and clean it with soap and water. This will help to remove any build-up that has formed on the blades or in the drain.

Following these simple tips, you can help prevent your waste disposal from getting clogged.

Call Our Emergency Plumbing Team

If you've tried all of the above solutions and your garbage disposer is still backing up, it's time to call a professional.

At 24h Plumbing Pros, our team of expert is available 24/seven to help with all your plumbing needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you use to unclog a waste disposal?

There are a few different things you can use to unclog a waste disposal, including a plumber snake, boiling water, or a drain cleaner.

How to unclog a garbage disposer with standing water without a plunger?

If you don't have a plunger, one of the first things you can try is boiling water. Simply pour it slowly and carefully into the disposal to see if that does the trick.

How to unclog a sink with a waste disposal with standing water?

If you have a waste disposal clogged with standing water, the first thing you'll need to do is turn off the power to the disposal.

You can do this by flipping the switch on the wall or unplugging it from the outlet. Once the power is off, take a plunger and try to clear the obstruction.


If you've followed the steps above and your trash compactor is still clogged, you may need to call a professional.

We hope this article has provided you with the information and steps you need to get the job done.

Remember to be patient, take your time, and if all else fails, give us a call!

Thanks for reading and good luck.

About The Author:

Scott Reyes, our proficient Managing Editor and a true plumbing aficionado with over 10 years of dedicated expertise. With an in-depth understanding of the plumbing industry, Scott is your go-to source for all things plumbing-related. His wealth of experience ensures that our content is not only informative but also a reliable resource for your plumbing needs. Dive into Scott's articles to tap into his extensive knowledge and insights.
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