Allen Wrench for Garbage Disposal (All the Tips and Solutions)

Many times, when the garbage disposal gets clogged, jammed, or malfunctioned, a garbage disposal wrench works like a savior to solve the issue.

But not all of us have a garbage disposal wrench in our house. Most of us have Allen wrench for generic fixing purposes for different instruments of the house.

But is using an Allen wrench for fixing or unclogging the garbage disposal a good idea? If so, which type and size of Allen wrench would be perfect for fixing garbage disposal?

I am here with all these answers to your questions on using the Allen wrench for the garbage disposal in this article.

In this article, I will let you know which type of wrench is best for the garbage disposal, which size of Allen wrench fits the garbage disposal best, and how to use it properly to unclog or unjam the garbage disposal.

So, let’s not waste any more time and dig into this super informative article.


To fix the most of problems of garbage disposal Allen wrench is a simple and useful solution. A garbage disposal wrench is also the same tool as an Allen wrench which differ in size and type and some wrenches are manufactured as brand specified. In general set, the quarter-inch size of an Allen wrench (1/4) is best for the garbage disposal.

Are All Garbage Disposal Wrenches the Same?

Nope. All garbage disposal wrenches are not the same. Garbage disposal wrenches differ in type and size.

Set of Hexagonal Allen Wrenches
Different sizes of hexagonal allen wrenches can be used for garbage disposal

Besides the Allen wrench, there are two other types of wrenches that are used for managing clogs within the garbage disposal.

Among them, one is product specific wrenches that are manufactured specially for a particular disposal brand or model.

This type of wrench works in a similar way as the Allen wrench but it differs from the Allen wrench in the size of the tip.

Examples of such wrenches can be Jam-Buster and GIDDS which are specifically manufactured for two different models of InSinkErator disposals.

Plumbing Hex Wrench
Jam-Buster Plumbing Hex Allen Wrench for InSink Erator disposal – (Image source: eBay)

Again, the other type of wrench that can be used for garbage disposal is a garbage disposal wrench tool which is solely used to remove food waste particles stuck in the garbage disposal.

A garbage disposal wrench tool works slightly differently from Allen wrenches and product-specific wrenches.

The size of these tools also varies from regular Allen wrenches. As it comes in a wide range of sizes starting from 11 and a half inches to 26 inches.

What Size Allen wrench is Used for Garbage Disposal?

The size of the Allen wrench that is best to use for garbage disposal and is most commonly available is a quarter inch.

set of Allen Wrench set
Quarter inch size of allen wrench is the standard size for garbage disposal – (Image source: amazon)

Quarter inch is a standard size to remove all types of clogs from the garbage disposal. Besides, generally, most of the houses have an Allen wrench of a quarter inch too.

And if you don’t have one available in your house, nothing to worry about. A size like this can easily be found in any local or nearby plumbing shop.

Which Way Does an Allen Wrench Go on the Garbage Disposal?

The Allen wrench with a size of quarter inch should perfectly go into the hex hole on the underside of the garbage disposal.

If you have managed an Allen wrench with a size of quarter inch and are all set to insert in the garbage disposal to clean up the food clog, here’s how you do it.

Step 1: Insert the Allen wrench into the hex hole on the underside of the disposal.

Step 2: Crank it from side to side unless you feel the food is getting dislodged.

Step 3: When you will be able to move and turn the wrench in a circular motion in one direction smoothly without any obstruction, know that the clog has been completely dislodged.

Step 4: If you have been turning the Allen wrench for a long time but not being able to dislodge the clog completely, don’t hesitate to put some force while cranking the wrench as the shaft which reaches inside the garbage disposal is capable of handling a good amount of force.

How Do You Fix a Garbage Disposal With an Allen Wrench?

In case your garbage disposal is jammed and has shut down, an Allen wrench can help fix it. All you have to do is to insert the Allen wrench inside it and crank it until it’s completely unjammed.

Many times, the garbage disposal gets jammed up due to the accumulation of hard objects like bones between the internal impeller blades and the wall of the disposer.

When the jam takes place initially, a rough sound occurs from the garbage disposal as the motor strains against the hard accumulated object.

Gradually, this jams up the impeller plate. Because of that, the motor heats up. The motor of the garbage disposal heating up shuts off the entire garbage disposal system by shutting down the motor completely.

Follow the steps below to fix the jammed garbage disposal using an Allen wrench.

Step 1: Disconnect the garbage disposal unit from the outlet it has been plugged with.

Step 2: If your garbage disposal is hardwired and doesn’t have an outlet, then it is very important to turn it off completely. So that it doesn’t turn on accidentally resulting in injuries and accidents.

Step 3: After you turn off the switch of the garbage disposal, turn the circuit breaker of your disposal in the breaker box of your home as well for utmost caution.

Step 4: Open the disposal and using a flashlight observe the sink to find out if there is any obstruction jamming the impeller.

Step 5: If you figure out the obstruction, then try to remove it with your hand. In case you are not comfortable using your hand, you can use needle-nose pliers too.

Don’t hesitate to take your hands inside the disposer as there are no sharp materials inside it. Even the impeller teeth are made of blunt metal.

Step 6: Then, insert the wrench into the hex socket on the center of the underside inside a little round hole in the motor housing of the garbage disposal.

Step 7: Now, move and turn the Allen wrench back and forth, first, anticlockwise and then, clockwise. The hex socket is directly connected to the impeller hub, and so, moving the wrench back and forth loosens the obstruction jamming the disposal.

Step 8: Stop moving the Allen wrench once you feel the obstruction is removed and the motor shaft spins freely.

Step 9: For freeing the motor shaft from the obstruction, you can use some force but make sure you are supporting the disposal unit while doing it.

Step 10: After the jam is completely fixed, remove the Allen wrench from the socket and restore the power of the garbage disposal by plugging it into the outlet or turning on its circuit breaker.

Step 11: Not all garbage disposal contains a reset button, but if your garbage disposal has one located generally on the bottom of the unit, then press it.

Step 12: Your job is almost done. All you need is to make a test run now to check if the garbage disposal is working properly and if the issue is completely fixed. That’s it!

Garbage Disposal Allen Wrench Won’t Turn: How to Solve?

It is not unusual for the Allen wrench not to turn easily while fixing the garbage disposal. You just need to make a good force to make it turn.

Generally, right after inserting the Allen wrench, it doesn’t turn properly and it feels like it won’t turn at all.

This is because the obstruction might be too hard to remove. Even though you might feel that Allen wrench won’t turn rather forcing it to turn might break it down, but that won’t happen.

The Allen wrench is designed to digest a lot of force to break down the toughest clogs and jams. So, don’t be hesitant to give your full force to turn it if it doesn’t.

You just, need to make sure that you are using strong support for the disposal unit while turning the Allen wrench forcefully.

How Do You Unclog Garbage Disposal with an Allen Wrench?

As mentioned before, an Allen wrench of a quarter inch size can help unclog a clogged garbage disposal just by inserting it by the hex hole and cranking until the clog is dislodged.

We have already mentioned the steps and process to unclog the garbage disposal using an Allen wrench before in this article. So, if you have read the full article, you already know how to do it.

Just make sure you turn off or unplug the garbage disposal completely before going for the process to avoid accidents.

And after the clog is dislodged make a test run to check if the garbage disposal is working properly now draining the wastewater and food completely without any obstacles.

What Can I Use Instead of a Garbage Disposal Wrench?

As I have mentioned earlier in this article that there are mostly three types of wrenches appropriate for garbage disposal. So, you can use either the Allen wrench or the product-specific wrench instead of the garbage disposal wrench.

The garbage disposal wrench is designed especially for the purpose of fixing and unclogging different types of garbage disposal.

These wrenches are quite different in both structure and method of use than the Allen wrench and the product-specific wrench.

The product-specific wrenches are generally manufactured differently for specific brands or models of garbage disposal.

So, if there is no product-specific wrenches for the model of the garbage disposal you are using, you might not be able to use them as a substitute for a garbage disposal wrench.

Hence, the best option for alternating the garbage disposal wrench is with a quarter-inch sized Allen wrench.

An Allen wrench of the size quarter inch generally perfectly fits the hex hole of most of the garbage disposals. And so, it would be the best option for all types.

Final Words

Now that you know that an Allen wrench can be the perfect tool to fix your garbage disposal problem, you don’t need to waste any more of your time or money on any other tool.

Use the Allen wrenches you have in your house without any doubt to fix your garbage disposal problems.

As long as the size of the Allen wrencher and the method you are using to handle it is correct, an Allen wrench should serve your purpose in the most satisfactory way.

I hope I was able to help you with this article and didn’t leave you confused with any questions left in mind.

Thanks for reading till the end!

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