How to Troubleshoot a Clogged InSinkErator Drain

The Badger InSinkErator is one of the most popular garbage disposals and drains on the market. When powered by your wall switch, the disposal's blades are engaged. This grinds food particles and sends them through the main body of the disposal and then out through the plumbing under your kitchen sink. According to the InSinkErator's operating manual, the most common cause of clogging is chunks of food or other particles accumulating in the grinding chamber.

Troubleshooting a stopped-up InSinkErator drain is a simple process.
  1. Check the power on your InSinkErator. Turn on the disposal's wall switch to make sure power is actually getting to the unit. If there is no sound when you turn on the wall switch, it means the unit is not getting power. Check the fuse in your circuit breaker. Flip the breaker once. Also, look beneath your sink and make sure the metal power cord that runs from the bottom of the InSinkErator to the power source is connected properly

  2. Check the disposal mechanism. Turn off the circuit breaker to your InSinkErator and place your hand down the drain. Work the blades with your fingers to determine if they will turn or if there are objects jammed beneath the blades. If there is an object there, work it free, turn the circuit breaker back on and test the disposal.

  3. Check the releasing disposer jam. If the motor stops while you are using the disposal or if you hear a high-pitched whining sound when running the disposal, the releasing disposer may be jammed. To address this you will need the "wrenchette" that came with your InSinkeRator--a small metal hand tool that resembles an Allen wrench. Place one end of the wrenchette into the center hole at the bottom of your disposal. Work the wrenchette back and forth until you can turn it one full revolution. Once you have done this, run cool water into your sink and try the disposal.

  4. Clean your InSinkEarator. Place the stopper in your sink and fill the sink about halfway with warm water. Add 1/4 cup baking soda to the water and mix it in. Pull the stopper out and engage the disposal at the same time.


  • If your troubleshooting efforts do not work, the problem is likely not with the disposal itself but in the pipes leading out from your kitchen sink. If this is the case, contact a plumber.
  • Do not use industrial-strength liquid drain cleaners, like Liquid-Plumr, as they can damage your InSinkErator.
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