jammed-garbage-disposal-pic2Using a garbage disposal allen wrench when you have a stuck garbage disposal is the best course of action.This method applies positive force at the right location to free up the impeller. Better yet, you don't have to take anything apart and most of the time it will take less than five minutes to get it working.

Most garbage disposals use a standard 1/4" allen wrench. The wrench that came with your disposal is probably shaped like a lazy 'Z'. If you can find that wrench, so much the better. The angle helps you keep your hand down where you won't hurt yourself if the wrench slips.

Not sure if this is your problem? See the article 'How To Fix Your Garbage Disposal' for all of the garbage disposal repair topics.

Purchasing a Garbage Disposal Allen Wrench

It would not be a suprise nor is there any shame in the fact that your garbage disposal allen wrench is lost. There are numerous reasons why you might not have it. It didn't come with the house, its in the basement somewhere or when my toolbox came back from by brother in law, it was missing.

No matter, you can purchase a complete set of allen wrenches for less than ten dollars. It will likely be a quarter inch allen wrench and you may have one of those. Worst case you have to go to the hardware store and buy a new set of allen wrenches.

Locating the Garbage Disposal Flywheel Lug

To you your garbage disposal wrench you need to locate the drive shaft lug that it fits into. You will have to clear out the cabinet below your sink for this operation. You are going to need to see the underside of your disposal.

On the bottom of your garbage disposal you will find a hex shaped opening in the center of the housing. this hex opening is attached to the drive shaft. Before you start working on the disposal you want to turn off the power. Unplug the disposal or shut the breaker off to make sure that no one inadvertently turns the switch on.

Loosening a Stuck Garbage Disposal

jammed-garbage-disposal-pic3Put the garbage disposal allen wrench into the socket and try to free up the unit. You may need to worry it back and forth several times to free up the jam. Use the pliers on the allen wrench if you need a little more torque. Keep working with it until the spindle turns freely.

If possible you want to remove the object from the disposal before you turn it on. Get a flash light and see if you can figure out where it is. Use tongs, pliers or a magnet to remove the object. No fingers or hands in the disposal, please.


With the object removed you can turn the power back on. Try the disposal and make sure it is running freely. Working? Great you have successfully dealt with a jammed garbage disposal. If you keep a journal you may want to make an entry.

WARNING!! Keep Your Fingers Out of the Disposal!!! Turn the Power Off Before Working On It!!! WARNING!!!


The hex shaped opening in the bottom of a garbage disposal is a great way to get the disposal unjammed. You should have gotten a wrench with your disposal. If not, no worries, you can get a replacement allen wrench that will work.