Sink Only Drains When Garbage Disposal Is On

Have you ever noticed your sink only drains when garbage disposal is on? This situation is not good when you have to quickly rinse dishes or wash your hands.

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has experience with clogged sink drains. Clogged sinks are the most common drainage issues homeowner faces. You need to fix this issue as quickly as possible otherwise debris and soap residues will sit in the drain and it will begin smelling.

It becomes irritating to work with a clogged sink. In the starting, it drains slowly but with time problem increases, and in the end, the sink doesn’t drain if a garbage disposal is not on.

The good news is that you can unclog the clogged sink by yourself without calling any expensive plumber and this guide will show you the whole process in the detail.

Why Does My Sink Only Drains When Garbage Disposal Is On?

sink drain when garbage disposal on

Water in the sink only drains when garbage disposal is on. Are you facing this issue? Let’s know its causes.

In the house, our kitchen sink is undoubtedly one of the most commonly used drains. People use it to wash dishes, vegetables, etc. Many people use a kitchen sink with a garbage disposal. If other things apart from water, pass through the sink drain, they may clog the sink.

  • In the sink drain, food and other debris slowly collect, and with time, it blocks the drain. In the starting, the sink drains slowly and people ignore this problem. But with time it increases and converts into a big problem and you need to turn on the garbage disposal to drain the sink.
  • The kitchen sink and garbage disposal are connected to a common drain pipe. When this drain pipe becomes clogged, water gets stuck and can’t flow freely. So, either sink won’t drain, or drain slowly. In this situation turning on the garbage disposal helps to drain the sink.
  • If the check valve of the garbage disposal isn’t working properly, it won’t stop water from flowing back to the sink and the sink won’t drain.
  • If the garbage disposal is not in the good condition, it won’t work properly and it will not grind debris as effectively as it should. So, debris will stuck in the drain and cause the sink to drain only when the garbage disposal is on.
  • Maybe you haven’t installed the garbage disposal correctly.
  • Maybe the sink trap or sink tailpiece is clogged so you are facing this issue.

Solutions To Unclog Sink

Sink Only Drains When Garbage Disposal Is on

Garbage disposal contains sharp blades that cut down food particles into small pieces. But sometimes improper food debris and soap residue start problems in the garbage disposal. If your sink only drains when you turn on the garbage disposal, then here are some solutions that you should try.

  • When we clean dishes food debris goes into the disposal and if the size of the debris is big then it is stuck there in the disposal. So, take a flashlight and put its light into the garbage disposal and if you see any debris there remove it. Wear safety gloves to avoid any injuries.
  • Now fill the disposal with water and turn it on or off it several times. Due to this water will try to remove debris from the disposal.
  • If still, debris is inside the disposal try this. Take baking soda and vinegar in equal quantities, mix them, and pour them into the disposal. Now leave the disposal for an hour. The mixer will do its work and remove debris. After an hour, take hot water and pour it into the disposal. It will clean all the debris from the disposal. Maybe you need to do this step 2-3 times if debris is not removed the first time.
  • Use a sink plumber over a sink drain. Push it up and down in the direction. It may help to remove the clogged sink.

Now the sink will drain properly without turning on the garbage disposal. At the time of installation of disposal, its level should be below the sink drain level so disposal and sink work perfectly without any issues.

How To Prevent Clog in The Sink?

Now, your kitchen sink is working properly. If you take care of the below little things then in the future you won’t face clogging sink issues. Make sure you follow all the tips to prevent sink clogging issues.

First, you should make sure that any harmful food items shouldn’t go into the sink drain. They are measure reason sink only drains when garbage disposal turns on.

  • Eggshells
  • Potato peels
  • Meat
  • Grease
  • Coffee grounds
  • Fat and oils or chemicals
  • Paint
  • Gum
  • Paper towels
  • Produce stickers
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Flammable substance

Above all things are not good to pour in the sink. These things overload garbage disposal and sink. Also, regular cleaning of the sink drain is essential. For this, you should pour hot water after every use of the sink. But this is not possible every time so you can pour hot water at the end of the day or 2-3 times a week.

Why Should You Use Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposal is used to get rid of food debris in the kitchen sink. Garbage disposal is a good appliance to drain food scraps, smelly leftovers in the fridge, etc. When you prepare food, there are lots of food discards produced, and every time you need to go to the trash can to drop discards.

It becomes irritating and also disturbs the flow of the cooking. At this time a garbage cleaner becomes important.

You can directly drop food discards into the sink. From the sink, discard goes into the garbage disposal. The garbage disposal cuts down the food into small parts for smooth draining.

A garbage disposal unit sends food scraps directly to the landfill. You just need to throw food scraps into the sink, open the faucet, and turn on the disposal. The disposal will shred food particles into small parts.

Benefits of Using The Garbage Disposal.

  • Save time
  • Reduce kitchen odor
  • Less trash
  • Fewer leakage in the sink
  • Protect the environment

How Do You Fix a Slow Draining Kitchen Sink With a Garbage Disposal?

How To Drain Garbage Disposal?
  • Check if any visible blockage is there in the disposal, if yes, try to remove it.
  • You should clean the garbage disposal thoroughly. For this, first, you need to shut off the power supply to the disposal. Avoid placing your hand on the disposal.
  • Check the disposal to find out any blockage inside it. If it is visible, use pliers to pull it out.
  • If the clog is due to hard-water build-up use a natural cleaner to remove it. Take ½ cup vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda and mix them.
  • Pour the mixer into the disposal and leave it for an hour. After that pour hot water to clean the disposal.
  • In some cases, you can manually rotate the disposal blades to remove debris from the disposal. This process is risky so remove the power cable from the power plug.
  • Also, you can use a drain snake or drain plunger to clean the drain. These all steps will drain the garbage disposal.


It is necessary that you should regularly clean the garbage disposal, so it works properly without any clogging issues in the sink drain. If you noticed that your sink only drains when garbage disposal is on, it is highly possible that there is a clog in the drain pipe. Ignoring this issue will lead to big problems in the feature. So, fix the issue as soon as possible with our given solutions.

Check also –

Leave a Comment