So, your sink is filled with water that won't go down the drain and it seems your garbage disposal may be clogged! This can be a big mess, especially if it's happening right in the middle of your time preparing a meal for a holiday event, a party or just having some friends over.

So, what can you do to unclog a garbage disposal with standing water in the sink? - You can first try using a sink plunger to dislodge anything that may be causing the clog

Why Is My Garbage Disposal Not Draining?

The first thing to know is that there's most definitely a clog in your drain pipe somewhere, maybe even in the garbage disposal unit (but most likely the clog is in the drain).

Since there is standing water in the sink it will be difficult (and most likely ineffective) to use some of the natural solutions such as baking soda and salt and boiling water. So, let's go over what you can do to try to resolve the situation.

  1. Easiest thing to do first is to use a sink plunger which may work to dislodge anything that may be clogging the drain. More information on how to do that below.
  2. If that works to drain the water from the sink but you notice that the garbage disposal is still not working correctly then there may be an additional clog in the disposal unit.
  3. You will want to clear out the garbage disposal.
  4. DO NOT PUT YOUR HAND IN THE DISPOSAL UNIT!
  5. Instead, what you need to do is to spin the rotor back and forth a few times. This usually means that you need to use a wrench (a hex wrench normally) on the garbage disposal unit itself. We would recommend to look up online the model of disposal that you have under your sink to get information on how to get to the rotor on your specific unit.
  6. Once you've moved the rotor back and forth a few times (which may dislodge whatever was clogging the disposal unit) - then you can turn the water on, start the disposal and it may solve the problem.
  7. If the plunger does the trick and the garbage disposal is working well but you are still seeing that the sink is draining water slowly, you can try using the plunger again and perhaps following it up with any of the methods we talk about in our article on When To Call A Plumber For A Clogged Sink.

Can You Plunge A Garbage Disposal?

A plunger may be the solution you need to completely unclog your disposal or at the very least, dislodge the clog enough so that an additional solution such as using baking soda

Here is the step by step guide on using a plunger on your kitchen sink.

  1. Place the sink plunger over the drain.
  2. Pump the plunger - begin actually using the sink plunger by pumping it up and down. Make sure to not lift the plunger off the drain, you want to maintain that seal so that it can generate a good amount of suction to dislodge the clog.

    If your sink is shaped in such a way that it's difficult to get that seal, you can try putting petroleum jelly on the rim of the cup of the plunger. This sometimes works to seal the plunger to the sink.

    Pump the plunger about 6 to 8 times before you lift it. If the water in the sink drains easily, then you most likely loosened or completely removed the blockage in your drain. If not, repeat the process several more times.
  3. To finish the job, turn on your hot water faucet and let it run for about 3 minutes. This should help to clear out any remaining debris in the drain.

How Do You Unclog A Double Kitchen Sink With A Garbage Disposal?

If your clog is in a double sink that happens to have a garbage disposal attached to it, you want to use a sink plunger on the basin that has the disposal unit in it first. Use the instructions listed above on how to do this.

Once you've cleared any standing water in the basin with the disposal unit you can then repeat the process on the adjoining basin.

If the clog is not cleared - it's recommended you contact a plumber to help resolve the problem.

Can You Put Drano Down A Garbage Disposal?

Using a drain cleaner like Drano is not recommended. The reason is that the chemicals can be abrasive to the plastic parts and the metal blades in the unit.

If you have any questions about garbage disposals or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.