My disposal is clogged with artichoke shreds.

DiAnn W
by DiAnn W

I removed all that were in there and let the water drain out overnight. However, when I ran it again this morning, it is still clogged. What can I do now to clean my garbage disposal?

  12 answers
  • A good quality drain cleaner may help or you will need to drop the trap and clean it out. Try to use the drain cleaner when the water has drained out. More water in disposer will dilute the chemical taking it longer to work. Best time is to do this overnight. But if that does not work, you will need to remove the trap and clean. Just be sure the power is off the unit before you work on it. If the disposer is stuck and not spinning then you need to reverse it. Many disposal units have a little wrench that came with it. Oftentimes its taped to the side of the unit. Under the bottom is a little plug right in the center. Remove this plug put wrench in it and turn. This is a direct connection to the back of the blade and motor system. You can manually turn this back and fourth to clear anything that may be stuck preventing it from moving. If you do not have this access point in bottom for wrench. Then you will need to get a plumber to remove the disposal unit to clear the stuck unit for you.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Dec 17, 2011
    Is the disposer able to start? or is it too clogged for that? If it will not "run" you may need to get out the special allen wrench tool that is used for manually rotating the motor. This tool sticks into the main axle shaft on the bottom. Give it a few spins manually then run some water and bump the motor again. If that does not work then you will need to "drop it" and clear the obstruction. For that you will need to unplug it or turn off the breaker. Loosen the side arm pipe from where it joins the rest of the pluming and then unscrew the "lock ring" that holds the disposer to the drain flange. once down you can clear both the grind chamber and the outlet.
  • Charles R Charles R on Dec 17, 2011
    Be sure to UNPLUG the Unit before you work on it. Then remove the rubber drain gasket(you know that nasty rubbery thing!) then begin to remove the artichoke sinew. Maybe a needle nose plier might help you, along with a flash light. Afterwards, get a very large bowl of Ice from the Freezer, fill the Disposal Unit, Plug in the Unit, Turn on the Water, Turn the Unit on and get ready for the crunching! The Hard ice helps to clean the Blades and Junk in there and inside the drain hose. I do this on a very regular basis.
  • DiAnn W DiAnn W on Dec 22, 2011
    Thanks to Woodbridge Environment. I put Draino Max Gel into the disposal until it filled up. It took a couple days of draining and reapplying the Draino before it all cleared out, but once it was clear, I ran some water in, covered it with a pot lid (for protection should it explode) and turned it on. Everything worked fine.
  • CR Draves . com CR Draves . com on Dec 22, 2011
    The wrench is called a 'Z" wrench. Garbage disposals are really plate scrape disposals. There are not designed to throw large amounts of waste into them. If in the future this should happen, it's best to remove the disposer, clear the lines with a snake, and clear the branch as well. If you put chemicals into your disposer, you'll damage the bearing and plate eventually. If you don't have ABS pipes you could damage the cast iron pipes as well, if the acid isn't flushed properly.
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Dec 23, 2011
    CR...most drain cleaners are not "acid" but Lye...( Sodium Hydroxide) which is on the opposite side of the pH scale....equally so they are nasty and can eat pipes...and any caustic materials are bad for mechanical devices. Compost the big chunks...use hot water on the little stuff...Prevention is the 1st route to take.
  • DiAnn W DiAnn W on Dec 23, 2011
    Thanks to everyone for some good preventive advice. This was the first and last time for me to eat a fresh artichoke. The experience prompted me to give out some advice of my own: Never eat an artichoke that does not come in a jar ready to eat!
  • CR Draves . com CR Draves . com on Dec 24, 2011
    KMS...says, "CR...most drain cleaners are not "acid" but Lye.." Thanks for the heads up...I knew they were caustic...out of the PH scale
  • John N John N on Dec 27, 2011
    I had potato peels clog my disposal. What I found is that the peels were not actually in the disposal, but in the drain pipe right after the disposal. I suggest you check the drain.
  • What some people do not understand is that disposals need lots of water when they are running, not only to help the machine to grind up the materials in it, but to flush out anything that is ground up. You should always run the water for at least 15 seconds after you turn off the grinder. Not doing so will result in exactly what John said. The drain will slowly plug up in short order.
  • Shelbyt Shelbyt on Mar 02, 2016
    For anyone to is trying to unclog their disposal due to artichokes being put in there, we had to first get the water out of the sink using a bowl and putting it somewhere else. We then watched a video on how to dislodge the disposal from underneath the sink. After that, we dislodged the side component on the disposal itself, where we found a huge chunk blocking the drain. Once the disposal is detached, you are able to see in it and find where your problem is. Remember to never stick your hand in, and always turn the disposal breaker off first! Good luck!
    • Lucky Kat Lucky Kat on Oct 22, 2016
      Ill try this, I also had never had an artichoke before and was never told to not put them down the garbage disposal. Now mine is really clogged, i will wait, and try the ice thing, crossing my fingers.....ty
  • Eileen Crosby Eileen Crosby on Oct 15, 2017

    We made the mistake of trying potato peels in our disposal in our home on Thanksgiving in our first home. Never had a disposal before. My husband and brother had to disconnect the drain pipe in basement to unblock the clog. It was not a pretty job. Lots of mess that wasn’t planned, but it worked. No more hard foods in dosposal for us.