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Garbage disposals can make life easier, but they’re not without their occasional issues. Sometimes they can malfunction or get jammed. If your disposal i All Star Service and Repair have residential plumbing services in Salt Lake City, Utahsn’t working well, here’s what you can do to fix it safely.

Grab a flashlight and take a look at the disposal blades. If they’re covered in grease, coffee grounds, rotting food or other small debris, you need to clean them. Here’s one way to do that:

Get two cups of ice and a cup of salt (it’s best to use kosher salt or rock salt if possible.) Run the cold water and turn on the disposal for about 20 seconds before putting the salt and ice down the drain. Allow the disposal to run with the water on until all the ice is gone. This process should get rid of most of that sticky debris, but as an extra precaution you can grind up some citrus rinds in the disposal. Lemon juice and vinegar can help prevent sink odors too. You can repeat this whole process every month or two to keep your disposal blades clean, and your sink smelling fine.

If you see larger items in the drain (seeds, pits, bones, apple cores, avocado peels, egg shells, et cetera) turn off your disposal (there should be a switch down there somewhere) and use tongs or a large spoon to remove them. Metal can damage the disposal blades, so be as gentle as possible. After this step you can also do the ice and salt method described above.

If your disposal isn’t working but you can’t see any obstructions in the drain, even with a flashlight, see if your unit has a reset button. Some disposals shut themselves off if they’re overheated. If this happens, you can hit a reset button on top of the unit, or you can try turning the unit off and on again. If that doesn’t work, there may be a grease problem that’s hard to see, so you can try the salt and ice method. If that doesn’t work, it may be time to bite the bullet and get a new disposal, and/or call a professional plumber.

If you need a plumber, call All Star Service and Repair. We have over 60 years of combined experience providing residential plumbing services in Salt Lake County. We do drain cleaning, sewer line repair, trenchless sewer cleaning, whole-home repiping, you name it. We’re confident we can pinpoint the problem and recommend the best course of action using high-tech plumbing inspection equipment. Then, we’ll draw on years of knowledge and training to repair your pipes correctly the first time around. Call us today at (801) 305-3876 or contact us online to schedule the services you need in Salt Lake City, Sandy, Murray, Provo, or Orem.