Skip to main content

Find a plumber near you

We're Available 24/7! (360) 610-7901

Why Is Your Garbage Disposal Not Draining Properly?

Published on February 14, 2024
Written by Bo

Have you ever encountered the nuisance of a garbage disposal that just won’t drain? You’re not alone! 

At Full Speed Plumbing, we understand that your kitchen is the heart of your home, and maintaining its functionality is a top priority. Whether a simple service fix or an essential maintenance routine, staying one step ahead can mean the difference between a minor hiccup and a plumbing nightmare. 

Let’s dive into the common culprits of clogged garbage disposals and how to get things running smoothly again.

10 Potential Reasons Why Your Garbage Disposal Won’t Drain Correctly

Many families rely on their garbage disposal units daily, so it can be quite a nuisance when it doesn’t drain correctly. There are countless reasons why your garbage disposal isn’t draining correctly. Some of the most common examples include:

Food Build-Up

Food particles that accumulate over time can create a stubborn blockage. Regular rinsing and occasional deep cleaning are necessary to prevent this build-up.

Foreign Objects

Non-food items like utensils or sponges inadvertently slipping into the disposal can obstruct the drain. Always check for foreign objects before switching on the disposal.

Grease and Oil

Grease and oil can solidify within the plumbing, leading to significant drainage issues. Disposing of these substances in the trash rather than down the sink is best.


Cramming too much waste at once into the disposal can overwhelm the system. To avoid clogs, feed waste gradually and give it time to grind and pass through.

Worn Blades

Dull blades are less effective at chopping up food waste, which can lead to larger chunks clogging the drain. Blades should be kept sharp or replaced as needed.

Drain Pipe Blockage

Clogs can form further down the plumbing line, not just in the disposal itself. If problems persist, the issue might be in the drain pipes.

Maintenance Neglect

Like any other appliance, garbage disposals need regular upkeep. Not adhering to a maintenance schedule can lead to preventable malfunctions. Schedule periodic checks to ensure everything is in working order.

Electrical Issues

Sometimes, the problem isn’t mechanical but electrical. A tripped breaker or faulty wiring might prevent the disposal from operating correctly. Always exercise caution and consider professional help when dealing with electrical components.

Incorrect Installation

Improperly installed units are prone to problems, including drainage issues. Ensure that your garbage disposal is installed by a certified professional to avoid such setbacks.

Aging Disposal Systems

Over time, wear and tear can affect the efficiency of your garbage disposal. If your disposal is old and has been in service for many years, it may be time to consider a replacement.

By identifying and understanding these additional factors, you’ll be better equipped to diagnose and address any draining issues with your garbage disposal. Regular cleaning, proper use, and timely maintenance are the keys to keeping your kitchen sink in prime condition. If you’ve gone through this checklist and the problem persists, it may be time to call in the experts at Full Speed Plumbing.

DIY Troubleshooting Tips for a Non-Draining Garbage Disposal

If you enjoy taking on projects around the house or trust your DIY skills, there are several troubleshooting tips that you can use to deal with your non-draining garbage disposal. These troubleshooting tips include:

Safety First

Before attempting any DIY troubleshooting, make sure to disconnect the garbage disposal from its power source to prevent any accidents. Always use tools and wear protective gloves for safety.

Inspect for Obstructions

  1. Visual Check: Use a flashlight to look inside the disposal for any obvious obstructions. If you spot any foreign objects, use tongs or pliers to remove them carefully.
  2. Manual Rotation: If your disposal has a hex hole underneath, use an Allen wrench to turn the blades manually. This can help dislodge any items stuck in the unit.

Reset the Disposal

  1. Find the Reset Button: Locate the red reset button on the bottom of the disposal unit.
  2. Press the Reset Button: Firmly press the button and wait a few minutes. Turn the power back on and test the disposal.

Check for Clogs

  1. Drain Inspection: If there is standing water, use a sink plunger to attempt to clear any clogs in the sink.
  2. P-trap: Place a bucket underneath the P-trap and unscrew it. Clear any trapped debris and reattach the P-trap, ensuring it’s tight and secure.

Test the Blades

  1. Check Blade Movement: After clearing any obstructions and ensuring the disposal is still powered off, use a wooden spoon handle to gently nudge the blades. This can indicate if they are moving freely or if there’s a mechanical issue.

Evaluate the Impeller

  1. Inspect for Wear: With the disposal off, inspect the impeller for signs of wear or damage. If the impeller is damaged, it may be best to call a professional.

Professional Assessment

If these steps don’t resolve the issue, it’s likely time to involve a certified plumber. DIY repairs have their limits, and a professional can ensure the safety and functionality of your garbage disposal.

By methodically following these tips, you can safely attempt to fix a non-draining garbage disposal. If at any point you feel unsure or if the problem persists, do not hesitate to contact Full Speed Plumbing for reliable and efficient service.


In conclusion, a non-draining garbage disposal can be more than just an inconvenience; it can be a symptom of various issues, ranging from simple blockages to more complex mechanical or electrical problems. 

By following the detailed troubleshooting guide we’ve discussed, homeowners can address many common problems on their own. Remember, safety is paramount, and regular maintenance is key to extending the life of your disposal.

Should your issues persist after applying these tips or if you’re not comfortable performing DIY repairs, Full Speed Plumbing stands ready to assist. Our team of certified experts in Mount Vernon, Washington, is equipped to tackle any plumbing challenge, ensuring everything flows smoothly in your home. 

Don’t let a clogged disposal disrupt your daily routine. Contact Full Speed Plumbing today for reliable and swift service that gets your kitchen back in order posthaste.

Are you looking for a swift solution to your plumbing woes? Call Full Speed Plumbing or visit us online to schedule an appointment and experience the best customer service in the industry.

Request Service