How to Empty a Garbage Disposal

Keeping your garbage disposal clean will ensure that it will run smoothly.

Empty your garbage disposal to keep it running smoothly.Empty your garbage disposal to keep it running smoothly.
If it gets clogged or doesn't work as well, it may need to be emptied. After you empty it, throw a cut up lemon and some ice cubes down the sink to keep the blades sharp and your sink odor free. Don't put things down a garbage disposal that don't need to be there, and always run the cold water when you are using the disposal and until you hear that all the food has gone down.

Remove the trap underneath the disposal with a wrench. Unscrew the pipe fittings and take out the trap.

Turn off the power to the disposal at the circuit before you begin repairs. This will ensure you can complete repairs without harm. Place a bucket underneath the drain and try to pull the food out with your hands. If this does not get all of it, you need a plumber's snake.

Run the drain snake down the sink to get any remaining food items or clogs and push them into the bucket.

Run cold water down the sink until you are sure it is free of obstructions.

Throw the limes or lemons down the sink along with some ice cubes to ensure the disposal will run smoothly. Do this about once a month to maintain the disposal.

Things You Will Need

  • Pipe wrench
  • Bucket
  • Plumber's drain snake
  • Lemons or limes
  • Ice cubes


  • If your disposal is clogged and you can't get the clog out yourself, call a professional.

About the Author

Christi Aldridge has been writing professionally since 2009. She graduated from Texas Christian University, where she was a featured contributor for several campus publications and won an award for best columnist.