How to Fix a Garbage Disposal Backing Up Into Other Sink

How to Fix a Garbage Disposal Backing Up Into Other Sink

Garbage disposals have become an indispensable feature of modern kitchens. It’s practical, it makes cleanup easier, and reduces the amount of trash in your household. But sometimes, when you turn it on, you can see water backing up into your other sink. Why does this happen and what can you do to prevent it?

How do garbage disposals work?

Garbage disposals have an electric motor. When turned on, it powers a grinding chamber, which is where food is broken down. It also has an impeller arm that forces food particles down the drain pipe. For it to work properly, you have to dispose of the food along with a medium to strong steady stream of cold water.

Why does water back up into the other sink?

Water backs into the other sink whenever there’s a clog in the drain line. If you’ve noticed this happening regularly, fix the problem as soon as possible. Failing to do so will result in the food particles that are blocking the drain to decompose, causing your drain to smell.

How to Fix a Garbage Disposal Backing Up Into Other Sink

To fix the problem, you’ll need the following items:


  • Sink plunger
  • Bucket
  • Wrench
  • Pliers
  • Plumbing snake
  • Flashlight


Step 1. Fill the sink next to the one where the disposal is located with several inches of water.

Step 2. Pump the sink plunger over the garbage disposal drain several times.

Step 3. Run water into the garbage disposal drain to see if the clog has cleared. If it has not, move on to step four.

Step 4. Empty the cabinets below the sink. Unplug the garbage disposal and place the bucket under the pipes.

Step 5. Use the pliers to remove the plug from under the sink trap.

Step 6. Use the wrench to remove the elbow that connects the drain to the garbage disposal.  Use a flashlight to see if the block is in the elbow. If it is, remove it. If it isn’t, move on to Step 7.

Step 7. Remove the tailpiece and check to see if the clog is inside. If it is, remove it and rinse the tailpiece. If it isn’t, move on to Step 8.

Step 8. Remove the sink trap.

Step 9. Push a plumbing snake into the drainpipe while cranking the handle in a clockwise motion until you feel resistance. Continue turning the snake until it fully removes the clog.

Step 10. Turn the plumbing snake’s handle counterclockwise to pull it out of the drain pipe.

Step 11. Empty the debris that comes out with the plumbing snake into the bucket.

Step 12. Replace all the removed parts.

Step 13. Run hot water into the drain.

How to Keep the Drains Clean

There are several things you can do to keep your drain clean. The most common practices include:

  • Avoid disposing of fibrous or starchy foods, grease, or any kind of oils into the garbage disposal – when they’re no longer hot, they solidify, causing a blockage.
  • Run cold water while disposing of food.
  • Rinse the pipes with vinegar.

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