Clogged kitchen drain, downstream of garbage disposal

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New Member
Mar 23, 2020
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Please remove this post if it is not appropriate to post here.

I am a tenant in an apartment that has a garbage disposal in the kitchen sink.

This happened last night and progressed today. I was using my garbage disposal (Waste King 1001) regularly last night for vegetable peels (carrot, onion, potato) and everything was working fine. Then when I drained the potatoes (no debris sent down, just water), most of the water went down the sink but then stopped draining altogether.

I tried the garbage disposal. It operates just fine, but water doesn’t drain beyond it. I don't own a plunger and due to some other commitments last night I couldn't attend to the sink and eventually went to bed. In the morning the sink was empty of water (perhaps it drained very slowly?). I turned on the tap but the water did not drain through the disposal. Same issue as last night. I left for work for the day.

When I got home there was still about 1 cm of standing water in the sink. No obvious changes in standing water level since I left this morning.

I do not own a sink plunger but remembered that I have a 900mL bottle of drano gel, which I emptied slowly into the drain, waited 40 min, then flushed with hot water for about 1 min. No improvement. I have now turned off the circuit breaker for the garbage disposal. I am worried about using it or even a plunger for fear of spraying Drano around me/my kitchen.

I realize now that I probably ought to have started with purchasing a sink plunger and seen where that got me, but here we are now. I cannot call in a plumber right now due to COVID19 restrictions. Any DIY suggestions are gratefully welcomed since I feel like I really screwed up. I am also happy to provide more information. Thank you.


Well-Known Member
Oct 16, 2019
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North Carolina
Yes, you should have purchased a plunger.

Not all disposals are created equal. I am not familiar with the Waste King 1001. I did look it up, and its "only" 1/2 HP which means it doesn't break down things quite as nicely as a larger unit. I've had a series of Insinkerator Badger models, in 1/2 HP and I used to experience the same problem you have had. It was particularly bad with certain foods like asparagus shavings/bits, or celery. Also, if I did a large quantity of potato peelings.

The trick is to leave the water running, leave the disposal running, and do small amounts continuously rather than batches. Batches caused clogs.

Part of my problem was also the plumber did the sink drain in 1.5" PVC instead of 2". There were also some sharp bends as opposed to smooth bends. Bad plumbing design.

However all of my disposal problems went away when the Insinkerator quit. Replacement at that time was $95 or so for the same model, but who wants the same trouble? A 3/4 HP Insinkerator was $225. What I did was go to Costco and get their "American Standard" model, which was 1.25 HP, and with a discount at that time cost just $79. NOTHING would stop that beast! Everything that used to clog the pipes or the disposal with the small Insinkerator was no match for the American Standard.

The only thing I can think of is that it chops the bits smaller. The extra horsepower means it won't clog itself.


Just call me Macgyver
Supporting Member
Sep 28, 2014
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right here right now, over there later on.
Go buy a 3/8'' snake and rod the drain
or call a plumber to rod the drain.

from now on. toss the chopped up bits from the veggies into the trash
A small disposal like you have is designed to grind up small batches of stuff like left over peas scraped off your plate.
run water before using it, during the process and after . to wash the stuff down the pipe line


Well-Known Member
Nov 14, 2019
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One way to avoid clogs with disposers is to keep the drain lines clean.
Most people will no run water long enough to get the ground up stuff down to the main sewer line.
Once a month, or sooner:
  • Put stopper in sink.
  • Fill the sink with water.
  • Turn on disposer.
  • Remove stopper.
  • When empty, turn off disposer.
Hi-speed rush of around 7 gallons of water, all at once, rinses out a lot of crud from drain line. HTH


Well-Known Member
Aug 19, 2017
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North Reading, Mass.
Translation of Post #5
Leave the water overnight and use hot water, dish washing oil, if you have more vinegar, the better, the red into the pipe.