Garbage Disposal Not Draining? Do This Next

woman peeling a cucumber over a sink with a garbage disposal

Have you noticed that water is not draining from your sink on the same side as the garbage disposal? Maybe you see gross gunk bubbling out of the drain too. All signs point to a clogged garbage disposal drain.

Luckily, there are plenty of solutions. Let’s get started with some simple steps.

The Easy Fixes for a Garbage Disposal That Won’t Drain

Before you grab your tool kit, run hot water for 30 seconds at full power. With the water still on, turn on the garbage disposal (aka garburator) to see if the clog dislodged.

Next, try using a sink plunger on the drain. Push the plunger down slowly, and then pull up quickly. This will only work if the clog is in the disposal drainpipe—not the actual disposal unit or somewhere downstream.

If these steps don’t work, follow the more complex steps below. Or just tell your local Mr. Appliance, “My garbage disposal won’t drain!”

How to Clear a Clogged Garbage Disposal Drain

This technique for fixing a clogged garbage disposal drain requires some disassembly (and a minor mess).

  1. Grab a bucket and Channellock pliers.
  2. Locate your P-trap (or S-trap). This is the curved pipe beneath the sink, and it’s a common place for a clog to build up.
  3. Turn off the water supply to the sink and place your bucket under the trap to catch excess water.
  4. Find the lowest part of the inverted “P” or “S” on the trap pipe. If you’re lucky, your trap has a quick-disconnect design. If not, unscrew the slip-nut fitting with your pliers. Let the water drain into the bucket.
  5. Inspect and clean the interior of the trap. You may use a stiff nylon brush or even a wire coat hanger to remove the gunk.
  6. Check “downstream” in the trap arm that connects to the wall—especially if there was no visible clog in the trap itself. You’ll need a drain snake or auger to clean out this area.  
  7. Reassemble the trap, make sure the washers are set properly, and tighten the coupling nuts.
  8. Turn the water supply back on and run hot water for 30 seconds to clear out the remaining debris.
  9. With the water running, turn on the disposal to see if the water drains, and your problem is solved.

Garbage Disposal Won’t Drain, No Matter What You Do?

If your garbage disposal still won’t drain and you’re at the end of your patience, it’s time to contact a professional. We recommend taking one of two next steps: