How To Safely Un-Jam A Garbage Disposal

We all rely on our garbage disposals, so it’s important to know what to do when it gets jammed!


It’s safe to say that we all rely on our garbage disposals for daily cleaning tasks, which is why it can be frustrating when it becomes jammed. The good news is that these types of jams are generally an easy fix, and our plumbing specialists will always be there for you when your jam is too serious for a DIY repair.

Below we’ve developed a comprehensive overview oriented around safely un-jamming a garbage disposal, so take it from the Master Plumbers at Beehive Plumbing in that the below information is what you’ll need to keep in mind when you find yourself in this situation!

Most Common Causes For Garbage Disposal Jams

If your garbage disposal is jammed but still humming, then it’s a sign that the jam is inside the machine and that you don’t necessarily need a replacement. Below are some of the most common causes for humming or jammed garbage disposals:

  • Pits or seeds: It’s likely that some seeds may have fallen into your disposal when you’ve sliced melons or other fruit near your kitchen sink. This can actually be a pretty problematic plumbing problem, because seeds and pits can potentially take root within your disposal and jam the blades.
  • Coffee grounds: Coffee grounds are one of the food products that should never go down your garbage disposal, but of course this is a common culprit for jams still today. Coffee grounds are very detrimental for your garbage disposal because they can easily clog up your pipes and even wear down the blades over time.
  • Eggshells: Although the shell itself may not be the main culprit for garbage disposal jams in many cases, the stringy egg shell membrane can cause all sorts of kitchen sink issues like lingering smells and of course disposal jams. This is why you should always throw your eggshells in your trash bin every time, and never put them down your disposal.
  • Grease: Cooking grease can be a serious issue for your garbage disposal’s blades when it cools and solidifies in your drain, and these types of clogs can be really difficult to get rid of. Grease is a common culprit for drain clogs when you can’t see a solid object jamming your disposal’s blades.

Safety Tips For Properly Loosening A Garbage Disposal Jam

Even when the disposal’s power is cut off, you’re still going to need to handle this type of DIY repair with a lot of caution. A good idea is to think about your disposal’s blades like you would a kitchen knife when you’re slicing fruits and veggies near your fingers.

Below are some important safety tips to keep in mind while you’re trying to un-jam your garbage disposal:

  • Conduct A System Reset: If you can’t visibly see the obstruction, then a good initial strategy is to reset your garbage disposal. There are some instances in which a disposal becomes overheated and automatically shuts itself off. The reset button should be under your sink and on top of the disposal mechanism, so you’ll only need to flip this switch to conduct the system reset. If this doesn’t work, then you are in fact dealing with a significant jam, or it may be time to consider a replacement.
  • Shutting Off The Power: You’ll never want to run the risk of your garbage disposal suddenly coming back to life while you’re working on it, which is why you must go above and beyond to shut off your disposal. It’s likely that there’s a switch just below your sink that will effectively shut off the electricity to your garbage disposal, but you can also consider switching off your kitchen’s breaker just to be safe.
  • Use A Long Spoon Or Tongs: It’s important for homeowners to try to avoid direct blade contact while they’re conducting a DIY disposal repair, and long objects are a great way to help you remove an obstruction safely. If you do have to touch your blades directly to un-jam the disposal, then you should make sure that there are zero chances of the disposal turning itself back on.

Reach Out To The Plumbing Experts At Beehive Plumbing When You Need Help Repairing A Jammed Garbage Disposal

Beehive Plumbing has supported countless homeowners with DIY plumbing repairs, but it’s understandable when you need the experts to support you with garbage disposal repairs. When it comes down to it, your safest option in these situations is to call in the professionals to effectively remove the jam and ensure that your disposal will run smoothly well into the future.

Reach out to us online or call us at 801-661-8155 to speak with our Master Plumbers today about what’s going on with your garbage disposal!  

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