Garbage disposals constantly work to dispose of organic waste in your kitchen, and so it is only natural that over time general usage will result in a blockage. A blocked garbage disposal can cause all sorts of problems in the kitchen if left untreated, including the unpleasant smell of rotting organic waste. Thankfully, unclogging a blocked garbage disposal is a fairly simple process that only takes a few minutes to complete, and it's not overly difficult to keep your garbage disposal clear of clogs in the long run either.
Preventing a Clog
The best way to get rid of a clog is to prevent one from occurring in the first place. Working proactively to keep your garbage disposal working effectively and efficiently can cut down on the amount of time you'll have to spend unclogging the unit in the future.
Be sure to run water for fifteen seconds before and after running the garbage disposal. This helps lubricate the unit and pipes, and allows for all the food and waste that you push down the disposal to be moved more easily.
Additionally, you should feed ice cubes down your garbage disposal at least once a week. The hard chips of the ice will help remove stuck-on food that could be attached to the pipes or blades of your disposal. You can also feed wedges of fruit down the disposal in order to leave the disposal smelling nice.
Removing a Clog
In the event of a clog, the first thing you'll want to do is turn the power to the disposal off so you can work on the unit safely.
Look down the disposal (but keep your face and all body parts a safe distance away). If you can see something stuck in the blades, the fix is simple enough. Simply use a pair of pliers to reach into the disposal and pull the blockage out.
If you can't see a blockage, or if you've removed the visible blockage and the unit still won't work, there's probably something deeper down keeping the blades from moving. You should take a wooden dowel, or a similarly shaped object, and insert it into the disposal, using it to turn the blades of the disposal. Once the blades move with little or no resistance, you've removed the blockage. Turn the disposal's power back on and turn it on, letting water run while doing so to help move along any waste still in the unit. If the unit works as it should, you've freed the clog. If not, the problem may not be a simple clog, and you should contact a plumber, like those at AA Plumbing, to fix the issue.