Cover photo for blog and video "How to Unjam Your Garbage Disposal"

We get calls requesting service for jammed disposals all of the time– if your disposal is humming or stuck, you’re not alone. This is a surprisingly common occurrence in the Phoenix area, and our goal with this video and blog is to help you unjam your disposal on your own to save on a service call and visit. Additionally, we want to recommend that you watch our video on what not to put down your disposal because, like they say, “prevention is the best medicine”. Avoiding a jammed disposal is always easier than figuring out how to fix one.

DIY Unjamming Tricks

Observe the Electrical

  1. First, what happens when you turn the power source on? If you don’t hear anything, more than likely the internal breaker on your disposal has been tripped and you’ll want to turn the power switch back to the “off” position.
  2. Next, look at the bottom of your disposal for a small red button, found on most brands, that you can push. When you hear the clicking sound after pressing this button, you’ve reset the internal breaker on your garbage disposal– good job! To test if this worked, turn the power switch back to the “on” position and see if any magic happens.
  3. If this didn’t turn your disposal back on, then you may need to check the breaker at your electrical panel. Still not hearing any action? This could be an indicator that your disposal needs to be replaced and it’s time to call the pros at Robins Plumbing.

Check for Obstructions

  1. If you turn on your disposal and hear a humming noise, then your unit is jammed and you should immediately shut it off.
  2. Next, you’ll want to check who manufactured your unit. You’re in luck if you have a disposal made by Insinkerator; this brand’s disposals come with simple and safe options for you to unjam the device. Insinkerator disposals, sometimes labeled under other names like Badger, have an Allen key slot underneath the body. Insert an Allen wrench only when the machine is off, followed by gently pushing and pulling it back and forth to break loose any lodged food obstructions within the disposal. Remove the Allen key and test your results by turning the power source back on.
  3. If the disposal begins working, you’re back in business and good to go!

Not an Insinkerator?

You will have to use an alternative route by being innovative with some household items.

  1. First, make sure your power source is turned off.
  2. Next, find something to utilize as a tool with a wooden handle, such as a spoon or spatula. Insert the handle portion of the utensil into the top of the disposal, followed by gently moving it around and attempting to break loose any lodged food from within the top chamber.
  3. Additionally, try to rotate your disposal by latching onto the internal propellers to see if you have any movement. When you think you’ve given it your all, make sure to remove the utensil from the disposal and turn the power back on to see if you’ve made any advancements.

No luck? Looks like it’s time to call Robins Plumbing to diagnose the issue and see what’s going on!

Services in Phoenix & Beyond

When you’ve found yourself in need of plumbing services in the Phoenix, Glendale, Scottsdale, or Chandler area, you can trust Robins Plumbing to provide you with prompt and expert care, contact our team today! In addition to our toilet services, we also offer a variety of residential and commercial plumbing services, including: drain cleaning, water heater repair and replacement, sewer camera inspection and locating, backflow prevention, commercial and residential jetting, water treatments, and more. Visit our reviews online to see what others have to say about our local plumbing company!