Not all drain cleaners are meant for your garbage disposal. Luckily, you may be able to clear that clog without using chemicals at all.
You’re doing the dishes when the water in your sink suddenly starts rising. You reach a hand towards the drain opening to see if something is blocking the water. You don’t find anything.
You wonder if you could be suffering from a clogged garbage disposal or if you have a plumbing emergency that needs to be addressed. What are you supposed to do now?
If your kitchen sink isn’t draining, don’t panic. Continue reading to learn what may be causing your clogged garbage disposal and what steps you should take to have it fixed.
Why Garbage Disposals Get Clogged
Although a garbage disposal can get clogged, it’s usually the kitchen sink pipes that are to blame. When a disposal is truly clogged, it means something has jammed it. You might notice a bad smell coming from your garbage disposal if this is the case.
When your kitchen sink is clogged, the pipes are usually to blame. However, if you have a disposal, the culprit is typically a garbage disposal that isn’t working correctly. The disposal may be lacking power, leaking, or otherwise broken.
Why You Shouldn’t Use Drain Cleaner to Solve the Problem
Drain cleaner commercials tell you the products will break apart anything clogging your pipes, allowing your pipes will run smoothly. This statement is only half true.
Yes, drain cleaner will break apart any food or debris clogging your drains. But it can also cause significant damage to your pipes at the same time.
Drain cleaners are formulated using harsh chemicals known to damage the inside lining of your pipes. Once enough damage has occurred, the pipes can break. This breakage may start as a slow leak and eventually turn into a significant hole if left unchecked.
What to Do Instead of Using Drain Cleaner
The good news is there are significantly safer alternatives to drain cleaner when you have a clogged garbage disposal or kitchen pipes. Below are a few things you can try yourself.
Plunging the Kitchen Sink Yourself
The first thing to try is plunging the sink. This DIY method can be useful against smaller stuck items requiring a little extra push to flow down the pipes. It can also help unclog the garbage disposal itself, if this is the culprit.
To start, you’ll need a wet rag or a sink plunger. You shouldn’t use a toilet plunger on a sink. Not only is this unsanitary, but plungers made for toilets won’t work correctly on sinks.
Ensure the rag or plunger is fitted securely over the opening to the kitchen pipes. Fill the sink with a few inches of water to help increase suction. Plunge vigorously for a few minutes.
Using Boiling Water
If plunging the sink didn’t work, you may have grease stuck in your drain instead. Try pouring boiling water down the pipes instead. Sometimes this is enough to melt the grease to a point where it can flow down the drains.
Even if the clog seems to have gone away, make sure you pour the second pot of boiling water down the drain. Follow this up with running tap water on the hottest setting for a minute or two. If you don’t do this, the grease could solidify further down the pipes and cause a new clog.
Prevent Future Clogs With These Helpful Tips
The best thing you can do to prevent future clogs before they happen. One of the most important ways to do this is to read over the manual that came with your garbage disposal. Inside, you’ll learn what can (and can’t) be sent down the disposal.
You must never place items down the disposal that aren’t supposed to be there. Not only might this cause a jam, but it could burn out your garbage disposal’s motor.
It’s important to never dump grease down the drain, either. Grease is a liquid when hot, but solidifies as it cools. This solid grease can stick to the sides of your kitchen pipes and cause clogs.
What if grease is dumped down the drain on accident? Immediately run your faucet on the hottest setting for the best hope of keeping grease liquid until it clears your pipe system.
You can also try installing a drain catcher in your kitchen sink. This will catch hair and prevent anything from going down the drains that shouldn’t. It’s a good idea to install drain catchers in all of your sinks and your shower.
If the Disposal Is Still Clogged, Call a Plumber
If you followed the tips for unclogging your kitchen sink above and it still isn’t working, you should call a plumber. It could be that the clog is significant. In this case, a plumber can use a drain snake to unclog the line.
You may also be dealing with a broken garbage disposal. A plumber can check your disposal to ensure everything is in working order. If it isn’t, these professionals can fix the issue for you.
Do You Have More Questions About a Clogged Garbage Disposal?
If your sink doesn’t drain, you may believe you have a clogged garbage disposal. While this is sometimes the case, it’s usually your sink pipes that are to blame. It can, however, be that a broken garbage disposal is to blame for the clogged pipes.
Do you have more questions about a clogged garbage disposal? Or would you like to have one of our professional plumbers look at your clogged kitchen sink?