It appears that your browser does not support JavaScript

How to Clear a Jammed Garbage Disposal


Garbage disposal jams are common. If there is nothing seriously wrong, then following these simple steps should help to quickly resolve the problem.

Tools Needed:

  • Flashlight
  • Long handled tongs
  • ¼-inch Allen wrench (or special tool that came with the disposal, if there is one)
  • Broom or plunger handle (or similar heavy dowel-like object)
  • Dish soap
  • Ice cubes


  1. Turn off the power supply to the garbage disposal to avoid serious injuries. Unplug it or break the connection at the circuit breaker or fuse box and turn on/off switch to off position.
  2. Using the flashlight, look into the drain opening and try to find what may be causing the jam.
  3. Using the tongs, try to remove the object causing the jam. The blades may be very sharp, so avoid placing hands inside disposal unit.
  4. If able to remove object causing the blockage, then restore power and test the disposal.
  5. If disposal is still jammed, insert the broom handle into the drain opening. Wedge it against the drain and twist the handle. Try to gently move the masher plates or cutter blades around.
  6. If able to move the masher plates or impellers (blades), then place a little bit of dish soap in the disposal. Restore power and test the disposal. If it spins, turn on the water.
  7. If the jam still persists, then insert the Allen wrench or special tool into the impeller socket (hole), located in the center of the base of the unit. Gently twist the wrench or tool back and forth, until the impellers move freely.
  8. Once the impellers move freely, press the reset button (usually a red button located on base of unit). Wait three to five minutes, restore power to the unit, and test the disposal.
  9. If disposal works, place the ice cubes in disposal and run it. This will help clean the blades.
  10. If the unit still does not work, repeat all the above steps. If still not working, call a plumber or replace the unit.



“Garbage-Disposer-Troubleshooting.” Appliance Parts from N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2010.

“Department of Public Works Home Page.” Village of Shorewood Hills Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2010.

“Unclogging Jammed Disposers.” Home Depot. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Mar. 2010.

Copyright 2009-2018

Sophisticated Media LLC

Terms of Service l Privacy Policy

Contact Us