Dishes pile up in the sink. You finally conquer Dish Mountain and as you wash the scraps down the sink, you flip the switch for the disposal and what happens next is either: nothing (wrong switch, dead disposal, no disposal), a humming noise (jammed motor), or the greatest hits from Grinding Fork.
In this case, it was an unidentified plastic object jamming the motor. Neither me or my wife took responsibility for the jam and it remains unidentified. The easiest solutions to break a disposal jam are wrench and/or Reset, if equipped.
Unplug the disposal or ensure the switch is OFF.
If your model has a Wrench Port underneath, you can use a Disposal Wrench like this one to manually break the jam. If your model doesn’t have the Wrench Port, you can try our style of Disposal Wrench which inserts from the top.
Use a shopvac/wetvac to extract the debris from above.
In extreme cases, the disposal may have to be uninstalled to retrieve or dislodge the object (like the example above), or replaced after your significant other sees the inside of it. 🤢
📌UNRELATED BUT KINDA RELATED TIP:
Disposals have a plastic dishwasher drain punch-out or knockout plug. This is because some dishwasher drains connect directly to the home’s plumbing. But, when a dishwasher’s drain hose is connected to a new disposal, this knockout needs to be knocked out. This is covered in every disposal’s installation manual.
Replaced your disposal and now your dishwasher wont drain or is having issues? This could be it. I’ve been called out many times to fix a dishwasher that wont cycle only to find out it couldn’t drain.
The hole just above the jam in the picture below is your disposal’s knockout-plug. This is sealed when the disposal is new. If you replace the disposal, and your old disposal was connected to the dishwasher drain hose, remember to follow the instructions to properly knock out the knockout plug.
🧼 BONUS: CLEANING TIP
This post is not affiliated with Glisten in any way. It’s just the stuff I choose to use. Please read and follow all instructions on the manufacturer’s packaging to receive best results.
1.) The cleaner I chose was Glisten Garbage Disposer Cleaner.
2.) Run a steady stream of HOT water for about a minute.
3.) Reduce flow to a pencil-width trickle and leave it on.
4.) Remove a cleaning packet from the Glisten Pouch or Container. DO NOT OPEN THE CLEANING PACKET.
5.) Place the entire packet into the disposal and, when all phalanges are clear, turn on disposal. Let it run for 10-15 seconds. It will grind the cleaning packet contents, mix with the water, and foam up into the sink. This is normal.
6.) After 10-15 seconds, it should start to clear and you may hear a swoosh noise as the foam rinses down the drain.
7.) Turn off disposal.
8.) Wash any foam from the sink.
Repeat above steps every 3-6 months to maintain your disposal.