You never really notice how much you rely on your functional garbage disposal until it stops working. A stuck garbage disposal can really throw a wrench in your daily routine. Fixing stuck garbage disposal is probably one of the least desirable things you want to do around the house. When your garbage disposal is not working, you have to find alternative ways to dispose of the food particles you would normally shove down the drain in your kitchen sink.

A severely clogged garbage disposal can even prevent you from using your sink at all without flooding your kitchen with water. Stuck garbage disposals can also lead to the development of nasty odors that spread throughout your kitchen.

If you have a stuck garbage disposal in your kitchen—or just want to prepare for the likely inevitability of a garbage disposal clog in the future—keep reading this guide that includes 3 ways to fix stuck garbage disposal on your own without calling in the help of a professional.

1. Use Pliers

Many garbage disposal clogs are caused by a large object getting stuck in the garbage disposal and blocking food particles from moving through the disposal and into the pipes beneath it.

You can use a flashlight and pliers to search for and remove any large object that is stuck in your garbage disposal. Never, EVER stick your hands down your garbage disposal—even if you have turned off the disposal, putting your hands inside of your garbage disposal is never worth the risk it poses.

The first step to extracting a large object that is blocking your garbage disposal is to shut off the power to your garbage disposal. You can do this by flipping the switch that is usually located inside the cabinet under the kitchen sink or on the wall next to the garbage disposal.

Then, use pliers to remove the object that is blocking your disposal. This task is easier with two people. Have one person hold the flashlight so that it shines into the garbage disposal and illuminates the inside of the disposal. The other person can use a pair of pliers to reach into the garbage disposal and remove the large object that is blocking it.

2. Use a Natural Cleaner

Using a cleaner to flush out your garbage disposal can unstick your disposal if the clog is caused by congealed food particles that have created a blockage in the disposal.

When your garbage disposal stops working and you’re not sure why, it’s natural to feel tempted to pour the harshest chemical cleaner you can find down your sink to try to unstick your disposal. This is not a good idea, however, because harsh chemical cleaners can corrode the pipes beneath your garbage disposal and lead to water leaks and more severe plumbing problems in the future.

Instead, mix up your own natural cleaner using a few basic household ingredients to safely flush out your garbage disposal and hopefully unclog it. Mix 1 part baking soda with 2 parts vinegar together and pour the mixture down your kitchen sink drain into your garbage disposal. Let the mixture sit in the disposal for a few minutes, then rinse it all the way down the drain with hot water.

3. Reset the Disposal

If you have already tried using pliers and a natural cleaner and your garbage disposal is still not disposing effectively, try resetting your garbage disposal entirely.

First, shut off the power to your garbage disposal by flipping the switch that controls it—again, this switch is most-likely located in the cabinet underneath your kitchen sink or on the wall next to your garbage disposal. Let the disposal motor cool down for at least 15 minutes—give it 30 minutes if possible. Then, flip the power switch back on and press the reset or overload protector button that is located on the bottom or backside of the garbage disposal to completely reset your disposal system.

Some garbage disposal clogs are easy to fix on your own. Other clogs, however, are more severe and require intervention from a professional plumbing expert. If you are located in Riverside County or its surrounding areas throughout Southern California and are unable to fix your stuck garbage disposal on your own, call Accurate Leak Locators and Plumbing today.

Accurate Leak Locators and Plumbing is a professional plumbing company that diagnoses and fixes any and all home plumbing issues—including but not limited to unsticking stuck garbage disposals—quickly and efficiently at fair prices.