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How to Fix Garbage Disposal: A Step-by-Step Guide.

To fix a garbage disposal, turn off its power and look for any blockages or objects stuck inside. Then use an allen wrench to manually turn the disposal or press the reset button located on the bottom of the unit.

Garbage disposals are a convenient addition to any kitchen, but when they break down or malfunction, they can quickly become a nuisance. Getting your garbage disposal up and running again can save you time and money on a professional repair.

Whether it’s a clogged disposal or a jammed impeller, some basic troubleshooting can help you fix the issue and prevent it from happening again. In this article, we will go over some common problems and solutions for fixing your garbage disposal. So, let’s dive in and get started on restoring your kitchen’s functionality.

How to Fix Garbage Disposal: A Step-by-Step Guide.


Table of Contents

Understanding Your Garbage Disposal System

The garbage disposal system in your kitchen is made up of several components that work together to grind up and dispose of food waste. Understanding how your garbage disposal system works is critical to fixing issues that may arise. Below are the key components of a typical garbage disposal system:

The Components Of A Typical Garbage Disposal System

  • The grinding chamber: This is where the food waste is ground up by the blades.
  • The impeller: The impeller is a rotating disc that propels the food waste towards the grinder ring.
  • The grinder ring: The grinder ring is a stationary component that serves as the cutting tool for the food waste.
  • The motor: The motor powers the grinding chamber and impeller to grind up the food waste.
  • The drain: The drain is where the ground-up food waste flows out of the disposal and into the sewer system.

How To Identify Common Problems

Identifying the problem with your garbage disposal is the first step to fixing it. Here are some common issues you may face with your garbage disposal:

  • Clogging: A clogged garbage disposal could be due to food waste buildup in the drain or the kitchen sink plumbing. Signs of clogging include slow draining, a foul smell, or unwanted water backup.
  • Jamming: Jamming occurs when a foreign object, such as silverware, gets stuck in the grinder ring, obstructs the impeller, or damages the blades. You may hear a humming noise or notice the disposal not turning on at all.
  • Leaks: Leaks may occur due to a crack or a damaged component in the garbage disposal. You may notice water dripping from the unit or from the sink flange.

Understanding your garbage disposal system and the common issues it can face is critical to fixing any problems that arise. In the next section, we will cover step-by-step instructions on how to fix your garbage disposal.

The Tools Needed To Fix A Garbage Disposal

Essential Tools For The Job

Having the right tools is essential when fixing a garbage disposal. Here are the tools you’ll need to get the job done:

  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers
  • Hex wrench or allen wrench
  • Putty knife
  • Bucket or container

Safety Precautions To Take When Handling A Garbage Disposal Unit

Garbage disposals can be dangerous if not handled correctly. Before beginning any repair work, take these safety precautions:

  • Always turn off the power to the unit first. This can be done by unplugging it or turning off the circuit breaker that powers the disposal.
  • Never put your hands inside the disposal unit. Even when the power is off, the blades inside can still be sharp and potentially cause harm.
  • Use pliers or tongs instead of your hands to remove any items that may be stuck in the disposal.
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands from any sharp edges.

Remembering these safety tips and having the right tools should make fixing your garbage disposal a breeze. Good luck!

Step-By-Step Guide To Fixing Your Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals are a convenient feature to have in the kitchen. However, if they start malfunctioning, they can turn into a major headache. Attempting to fix them without proper knowledge may result in a waste of time and effort. We will provide you with a step-by-step guide to fix your garbage disposal.

Follow these simple steps to get your garbage disposal up and running in no time.

Turning Off The Power To The Disposal Unit

The first step in fixing your garbage disposal is to turn off the power to the unit. Here’s how you do it:

  • Locate the power source of the garbage disposal.
  • Turn off the power source by unplugging the unit.
  • Alternatively, switch off the circuit breaker connected to the garbage disposal.

Removing Any Blockages Or Foreign Objects In The Disposal Unit

The next step is to check for any blockages or foreign objects in the disposal unit. These objects can prevent the blades from rotating, leading to a malfunctioning unit. To remove these objects, follow these steps:

  • Disconnect the garbage disposal from the sink.
  • Check the unit for any foreign objects or blockages.
  • Use tongs or pliers to remove the objects or blockages, being careful not to damage the blades.

Resetting The Disposal Unit

If you have tried the above steps and your garbage disposal is still not working correctly, it may need to be reset. Here are the steps you should take:

  • Locate the reset button underneath the garbage disposal unit.
  • Press the reset button and hold it for a few seconds.
  • Release the reset button and check if the unit is functioning correctly.

Cleaning The Disposal Unit

Another reason why a garbage disposal may not be functioning correctly is due to a build-up of dirt and grime. Here are the steps you need to take to clean the unit:

  • Turn off the power to the garbage disposal by unplugging it or switching off the circuit breaker.
  • Use a cleaning brush or an old toothbrush to clean the blades, the walls of the unit, and the rubber flaps.
  • Mix baking soda and vinegar and pour it down the disposal.
  • Leave it for 15 minutes to let it fizz.
  • Run cold water and turn on the unit to flush away any dirt or grime.

Testing To Ensure That The Unit Is Fixed

The final step is to test the garbage disposal to ensure that it is working correctly. Here’s how to do it:

  • Turn on the cold water and run it down the sink.
  • Turn on the unit and listen for any unusual sounds.
  • Check if the garbage disposal blades are spinning.
  • If the unit is still not functioning correctly, repeat the above steps or call a professional.

This step-by-step guide will help you to fix your garbage disposal quickly and easily. Remember to turn off the power to the unit before attempting any repairs and to clean the unit regularly to avoid blockages and malfunctions. Follow these simple steps, and you’ll be able to use your garbage disposal without any issues.

Preventative Measures For A Healthy, Functioning Garbage Disposal

The garbage disposal is often taken for granted and forgotten until it stops working correctly. Avoiding future issues with your garbage disposal is dependent on taking preventative measures and following proper maintenance tips.

Proper Maintenance Tips To Avoid Future Issues

Here are some maintenance tips to help keep your garbage disposal working correctly:

  • Run cold water while disposing of food waste. It helps keep the blades sharp and prevent clogs.
  • Cut large food waste into small pieces before disposing of it. Doing so will ensure that the disposal can process the waste effectively.
  • Avoid disposing of tough or fibrous waste, such as eggshells, bones, and celery stalks. They can damage the blades and cause clogs.
  • Clean the disposal periodically by grinding ice cubes and citrus peel to remove unpleasant odours.

What To Do If A Problem Persists And Professional Intervention Is Required

Sometimes, despite taking preventative measures, issues with your garbage disposal might persist. When this occurs, do not take apart the disposal or attempt to fix the problem yourself. Doing so can result in injury or further damage to the disposal.

Instead, it is best to call in a professional to inspect and fix the disposal. A professional will have the necessary tools and knowledge to solve the issue effectively.

Following proper maintenance tips is crucial in preventing issues with your garbage disposal. When problems persist despite taking preventative measures, it is best to call in a professional instead of attempting to fix the issue yourself.

Final Thoughts: Clearing Up Common Misconceptions About Garbage Disposals

Common Myths And Inaccuracies About Garbage Disposals:

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding garbage disposals, which can lead to costly repairs or even replacement. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about garbage disposals that you should be aware of:

  • Myth #1: Garbage disposals can handle anything. This is simply not true. Garbage disposals are not designed to handle certain types of waste, such as bones, shells, or fibrous materials like celery or banana peels. Putting these items down your disposal can cause clogs, damaged blades, or even motor burnout.
  • Myth #2: You don’t have to clean your garbage disposal. Neglecting your garbage disposal can lead to unpleasant odors, clogs, and other issues. It’s essential to clean your disposal regularly to prevent buildup of food debris and bacteria.
  • Myth #3: Ice cubes sharpen the blades of your disposal. Some people believe that running ice cubes through their garbage disposal will sharpen the blades. However, the blades in a garbage disposal are not actually sharp – they are blunt metal impellers that push waste against the shredder plate. While ice cubes can help to clean the blades, they won’t sharpen them.

Essential Tips For Maximizing The Lifespan Of Your Garbage Disposal:

If you want your garbage disposal to last as long as possible, there are a few things you can do to help extend its lifespan:

  • Tip #1: Be mindful of what you put down your disposal. As mentioned earlier, garbage disposals cannot handle everything. Be sure to avoid putting bones, shells, fibrous materials, and other difficult-to-process items down your disposal.
  • Tip #2: Keep your disposal clean. Regularly cleaning your disposal can help reduce unpleasant odors and keep it functioning properly. To clean your disposal, you can use a mixture of ice cubes and vinegar, or a specialized disposal cleaner.
  • Tip #3: Run your disposal regularly. Running your disposal for a few seconds every day can help keep it in good working order. This can prevent buildup of food debris and other waste materials that can cause clogs.
  • Tip #4: Use cold water when running your disposal. When using your garbage disposal, it’s best to run cold water. This helps to solidify any fats or oils in the waste material, which makes them easier for the disposal to process.
  • Tip #5: Get professional help when needed. Although many garbage disposal issues can be resolved with a little diy know-how, some problems may require professional assistance. If you’re unsure about what to do, or if you’re experiencing persistent issues with your disposal, don’t hesitate to contact a qualified plumber or appliance repair technician.

By following these tips and understanding the common myths and inaccuracies about garbage disposals, you can help ensure your disposal lasts as long as possible, while avoiding costly repairs and replacements.

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Fix Garbage Disposal

How Do I Know If My Garbage Disposal Needs To Be Fixed?

If your garbage disposal is making unusual noises or not grinding properly, it probably needs to be fixed.

Is It Safe To Fix A Garbage Disposal Myself?

If you have experience with plumbing and electrical work, it can be safe to fix a garbage disposal yourself.

What Tools Do I Need To Fix A Garbage Disposal?

To fix a garbage disposal, you’ll need a hex wrench, pliers, a screwdriver, and possibly a flashlight.

How Do I Reset My Garbage Disposal?

To reset your garbage disposal, find the red reset button on the bottom of the unit and push it.

How Can I Prevent My Garbage Disposal From Breaking Down?

To prevent your garbage disposal from breaking down, avoid overloading it, run cold water while it’s in use, and avoid putting non-food items down the drain.

When Should I Call A Professional To Fix My Garbage Disposal?

If you don’t have experience with plumbing or electrical work, or if your attempts to fix your garbage disposal haven’t been successful, it’s time to call a professional.


We hope this guide on how to fix a garbage disposal has been helpful for you. Remember, even though fixing a garbage disposal may seem daunting at first, it’s actually quite manageable if you follow the proper steps. Before attempting to fix your garbage disposal, make sure to unplug it and take safety precautions.

Once you’ve identified the issue, try the troubleshooting tips we’ve listed. If the problem persists, it may be time to replace the disposal altogether. In any case, always remember to use your garbage disposal as directed and avoid putting improper items down it to avoid future issues.

A properly functioning garbage disposal can make a big difference in your kitchen, so it’s worth taking the time to correct any issues that may arise.