Safe Steps to Unclog a Garbage Disposal without Drano

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Can you put Drano in the Garbage Disposal?

You have standing water in your kitchen sink, and your kitchen sink drain is not draining properly. Can you put Drano in your kitchen drain even though you have a garbage disposal? Together, let’s explore the best way to clear your kitchen sink pipes, and understand if Drano is the best option for you, and your garbage disposal, or if there might be a better way to clear the drain. 

kitchen sink

Let’s start off by making it clear, that I am not a plumber, nor do I claim to be. However, I do have many experiences under my belt in cleaning drains and maintaining garbage disposals. 

I have also had personal experience with a clogged drain and have spoken to a plumber about it and have done some research for you that I hope will help. 

I enjoy maintaining a clean home, with drains that function and am looking to help you do the same. I am excited to share a few tips and tricks that can help you to maintain clear drains, and not destroy your garbage disposal in the process.

Garbage Disposal

A garbage disposal comes in handy to help remove food scraps, or small pieces of food waste, so that you don’t have to continually dig them out of your drain. However, there are many different types of food particles that should not go down your garbage disposal, especially if you are in a house that has a septic tank. 

Food waste or other organic matter such as banana peels, potato peels, carrot peels, coffee grounds, and fruit pits should never go down your garbage disposal. These items will likely clog your garbage disposal and could even ruin it. 

In general, a garbage disposal should not be used as your compost bin, because it goes into the septic systems for your house, or a central city sewage system, and could it cause major problems down the line.

kitchen garbage disposal running water

Clogged Garbage Disposal

It’s so appealing to simply pick up a liquid clog remover, or other chemical drain cleaners to fix your clogged drain. This is not always a good idea for your garbage disposal or other drainpipes.

Often a chemical cleaner seems like a great option to clear drains and let your water flow once more. Some drain cleaners include ingredients such as sodium hydroxide, or other very harsh chemicals that could actually cause damage to your pipes.  

Drano products such as Drano Max gel clog remover are tempting to use in your garbage disposal drain, to help clear it out, especially if it’s due to greasy clogs. It’s so simple all you have to do is pour down your drain opening, and it usually works its magic, to clear the drain.

But is Drano safe to use in your garbage disposal? Let’s look at if you can use Drano in your garbage disposal, as well as the manufacturer’s instructions.

Can you put Drano in the Garbage Disposal?

The short answer is yes, technically you can, but it may not be the best idea. Let’s expand on this.

Drano products, such as Drano Max buildup remover, and Drano Max gel clog remover, are advertised as being safe to use, and even help to remove stubborn clogs in a kitchen sink. This is because, the chemicals that makeup Drano, will go through the pipes, and eat away anything that is in the pipes.

garbage disposal

On the company’s website, they do state that most Drano products are safe to use in the garbage disposal, but you will want to carefully read the instructions on the package before using them in a drain with a garbage disposal unit. (Source) 

It’s also important to point out that Drano Professional Strength Crystals Clog Remover is not safe to use in a drain with a garbage disposal. Under no circumstances should this type of Drano ever be used in a garbage disposal. (Source)

The reason why using Drano in your garbage disposal, or simply in general, may not be the best idea is because of the way Drano actually works in your pipes. When Drano works and reacts inside of your pipes, it actually heats the pipes to very high temperatures and continues to work to clear the blockage, until it is completely dissolved.

Although this doesn’t sound bad, think about what the chemicals could be doing to your pipes. Your drainpipes are made of either plastic parts or metal pipes. When these chemicals react inside of your pipes, heating them so hot, it can cause CPVC and PVC to deform, no matter if you have plastic pipes or metal pipes.

Your Garbage Disposal also has rubber seals that liquid drain cleaner can eat away at and potentially ruin the electric motor.

Even though pouring a bit of the liquid chemical down your drain seems like a quick, and low-cost way to clear your drain of any blockage, I would strongly caution against this because it could end up costing you a significant amount to fix any damage caused by the chemical.

Besides simply pouring Drano down the garbage disposal, there are other solutions to easily clear clogged garbage disposal. Let’s look at some of these methods that you can easily do on your own.

Other Cleaning Solutions to Try: DIY Methods

Check for Foreign Objects

First thing, consider that your clogged sink could be caused by a foreign object sitting inside your garbage disposal. This could block the impeller blades from turning, and result in a clogged drain, or stuck garbage disposal.

Make sure that your garbage disposal is turned off, with no chance of getting turned on, then carefully stick an item, such as a wooden spoon down the drain, to check and see if there’s anything sitting in the garbage disposal that shouldn’t be. Do not stick your hand into the garbage disposal.

Check the Drain Trap

Next, you could consider removing the drain trap. The drain trap, also known as a P-trap, is the curved shape of a pipe underneath your sink. 

This pipe is shaped this way, to prevent harmful gases from coming back up the sink drain but can also catch items that fall through the drain, most commonly hair or other debris that fall through the drain. 

Cleaning the P-trap underneath the sink regularly will help prevent your drains from backing up, and becoming seriously clogged. 

drain p trap

Vinegar and Baking Soda

Another easy DIY solution is to take baking soda and white vinegar. Pour the baking soda down your drain and follow it up with a cup of white vinegar. 

This will make a chemical reaction in your drain and help to remove anything that could be clogging your drain. This is a very easy solution and is not harmful to your pipes like Drano is. You can rinse the baking soda and white vinegar solution down with hot water, to clear the pipe.

Ice in the Garbage Disposal

Another natural cleaner that you can use to help clean out your garbage disposal, is to pour a bunch of ice down your drain. 

Use a spoon to press it into your garbage disposal, then run cold water while running your garbage disposal. This helps to clean out any unwanted items from your garbage disposal. Add Lemon juice and dawn dish soap to eliminate any odors as well.

Sink Plunger

Another way you can clean out your kitchen drain is to use a sink plunger. Please note that this should be a different plunger than what is used in your toilet because that is just gross!

Using a sink plunger is especially helpful when there is water backed up in your sink. You can use running water and plunge the sink to remove any blockages down the way. 

You can also use this method to remove any garbage disposal clogs that have backed up into your sink. You may need to turn the garbage disposal on as you are plunging the sink, to help remove any foreign objects.

Call a Professional Plumber

Keep in mind that if you have tried these different methods, and you are still having difficulty, you may need to call a professional plumber and have them come to run a drain snake, to clean out your drainpipe. 

This is necessary, especially if there is something stuck in your drain, or down the pipes. If the clog is farther down the drain, you may not be able to clean it out yourself, and you may need to call in a professional.

kitchen drain

Other Clogs

If you have other drains that are plugged, Drano also says that it can be used in a variety of ways to remove clogs from your drain. I would strongly recommend you try other methods to remove the clog in your pipes, such as in your bathroom sink or tub drain before you pour Drano down them.

Clogged Disposal

There are a lot of different ways you can clean out clogged garbage disposal, or drain pipe. Together, we have covered many different methods that are not as harmful as trying to pour Drano down your pipes, and potentially causing other, much bigger problems later. 

Before pouring the liquid chemical down your drain, I would strongly recommend that you explore the other options first. Hopefully, this helps you to clear your garbage disposal, and get help if necessary.

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About the author

Hi! My name is Faith, I am the creator behind My Sweet and Saucy. I have so many different things that I enjoy doing, and this is my space to share them all with you. I really hope you enjoy it! Thank you so much for stopping by!

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