Norma Vally's DIY Kitchen Sink Fixes

"No-No" Foods That Don't Belong in Your Garbage Disposal:

  • Fibrous stringy foods like cornhusks, artichoke peels, celery stalks, grease, bones, lemons, ice cubes.

To Clear a Jammed Garbage Disposal:

  1. Locate the flywheel opening (looks like a square) underneath the disposal, turn the flywheel with a ¼ inch Allen wrench also known as a hex key (usually comes with your disposal.)
  2. Turn it in both directions, which will release the jam.
  3. Then press the reset button, run hot water for a few minutes, and you're done!

To Clean Your Disposal:

  • You should use a product like these Liquid Plumr Disposal + Drain Cleaner Packs that are designed to clean and deodorize. They foam, clean, and leave it smelling fresh.

Tips for Buying a New Garbage Disposal:

  • When buying a new disposal, consider that the higher the horsepower, the less it needs to work when grinding, so the longer it will last!
  • A disposer with 1 full horsepower can grind just about ANYTHING, and it's very quiet, which is a big plus on any appliance.

Two Approaches to Clearing a Drain

FIRST APPROACH to clear a drain...

  1. Just pour in boiling water. This can melt grease and soap scum. It's also great maintenance for your pipes.
  2. If that doesn't work, try DRAINBO. It's an all natural green product with microbes in it that actually eat through a clog. You let it work over night and the next day you should be good to go.
  3. If you need to be more aggressive and want the clog cleaned right away, use something like Pro Strength Liquid Plumr. It's fast, effective, and safe on pipes.


  1. If you have standing water in the sink, first try to plunge it with a sink plunger. Just make sure there's enough water in the sink to cover the top of the cup and give a few good thrusts.
  2. The thrusting will physically dislodge the clog. If you have a double sink, have someone hold a stopper in the other drain, so the water doesn't splash up through that opening.
  3. For an extra big clog, use a SNAKE!
  4. First, open up the P-trap, the loop part of the pipe which is shaped like an upside down "P." You will loosen the two fittings at each end with a wrench. Be prepared with a bucket to drain the water sitting in the trap.
  5. The trap is there to prevent sewer gasses from coming into the house because the water in it creates a barrier.
  6. Now stick the tip of the snake into the waste line (the line which goes through the wall) and feed it in until you hit the clog. Crank the wheel on the snake. This is what physically breaks up the clog.
  7. When the clog is clear, reattach the P-trap, tighten the fittings, and run the hot water for a few minutes.
  8. If your clog is really far down the waste line, or simply massive, call in a pro who will snake it with a large MOTORIZED SNAKE.

Safety Warning Tip:

  • If you've poured a chemical cleaner down your sink, DO NOT try to plunge it or snake it and if a plumber comes, let him know you've used a chemical cleaner to avoid a chemical burn.