Back Button

How to Run a Dishwasher With a Clogged Disposal

Maxwell Payne

Dishwashers are often connected to the same water and drain line as the kitchen sink. As the dishwasher drains, water runs into the sink drain pipe and in some cases into the garbage disposal. Some water in the sink during draining is normal, as long as it goes down the drain. If the garbage disposal is clogged up the water may not drain, causing it to back up into the dishwasher. This can result in dirty dishes after the wash cycle, and may cause both the sink and dishwasher to leak or overflow. Unclog the disposal before running the dishwasher.

A clogged disposal can cause problems for the dishwasher next to the sink.
  1. Turn off the main power switch, which is usually located under the sink near the disposal. If you do not see the switch, go to your main house circuit breaker and locate the breaker switch for the garbage disposal or "kitchen" and turn it off. Open the cabinet under the sink where the garbage disposal is located.

  2. Insert one end of the Allen wrench into the hole on the bottom underside of the garbage disposal.

  3. Turn the Allen wrench slowly. You will hear the blade inside moving as well as the clog. If you feel resistance, stop and turn the wrench in the opposite direction. Continue this alternating turning until the resistance becomes lessened.

  4. Locate the small reset button on the side or bottom of the garbage disposal. Press this button once. Remove the Allen wrench.

  5. Turn on the sink water and let it run for a few seconds down the drain. Turn the main breaker for the disposal or kitchen back on. Flip the power switch to activate the disposal and let it run for a few seconds. If it still sounds like there is a clog, repeat Steps 2 through 4.

  6. Turn on the hot water and allow it to run down the drain for a few minutes. The clog is cleared when the water does not back up into the sink and the disposal spins normally.