How to Fix Garbage Disposal – A Definitive Guide

If you buy something through a link in our posts, we may get a small share of the sale.

Quite a few things can get your garbage disposal clogged or worn. These might happen due to what you put into that or due to some unacceptable way of using it.

Moreover, The disposal requires that you make the necessary routine check and maintenance on it. When it gets out of order, this can be troublesome sometimes. Do not worry, however, as you can repair it yourself through some methods that would be discussed here.

Before you go about repairing your the disposal, you should try to (if you can) get your disposal’s instructional manual.

This will guide you, first, on the proper usage of the disposal. Second, it will lead you on how to assemble and dismantle the it, and third, it will guide you on the maintenance of the disposal.

How to Unclog a Garbage Disposer

  1. The first here mentioned is to get your disposal’s manual to guide on how to assemble the parts.
  2. After this, locate the wrench that comes along with disposal. This usually has six sides, and it is simply like a spanner that you can use to turn the bolts of it.
  3. Next, you must ensure to turn off your garbage disposal. Double ensure this by turning off the main circuit breaker or make sure you remove the plug from the circuit. This will serve as a good safety measure.
  4. Now, try to see through your disposal to check the major point of the clog. You can achieve this by using a flashlight. Check through the small opening to find out the exact place where the clog occurs.
  5. After you locate the clog, use a wrench, spoon, or other thin and small object that can easily penetrate the disposal to remove the food that’s causing the clog. Use the flashlight to get a good fix and after that, remove the material clogging your disposal.
  6. Do not force down the material that may be clogging your disposal down the pipe. This can weaken the pipe or even make it start to leak.
  7. After you are sure that the garbage disposal is wholly unclogged, turn on the power and check if the disposal is now functioning well.
  8. When you still notice that there remain some clogs in the disposal, then you would have to undergo the second stage of removing the disposal’s hoses and thoroughly cleaning it.
  9. Ensure to turn on the power only when you are done with fully unclogging the disposal.
  10. Check for the smooth functioning of it.

Tips: If your metal items have any rust then use a rust converter to recover it. We saw some time your kitchen sink and garbage disposal got attached by rust.

How to Fix a Garbage Disposer that Leaks

First is that you need to check and be sure if there is leakage in the hoses of your garbage disposal. You can do this by checking the underneath of your sink.

Do not be confused with any water that might have already been poured there. Verify this by pouring some water into your disposal.

When you see that the underneath of your sink is wet due to the leakage, you need to take action by fixing your hoses or the seals.

  1. You need to study the nature of the liquid. This will help you to know where the leakage has exactly occurred.
  2. If the water is brown and nearly colourless, then the leakage might be emanating from a drain pipe or the dishwater intake.
  3. If the water has a clear appearance, then the leak likely emanates from the sink.
  4. Try to know the exact place where the liquid is dripping. Do this by running your hand across the disposal’s seal.
  5. After you know the exact leakage point, you can easily fix the leakage by tightening the bolt that is used to hold the seal.
  6. If, however, the penultimate method (of tightening the bolt) does not work, (you can know if it works by re-checking whether the liquid still leaks after the tightening) then you might have to totally change the seal.
  7. Ensure to choose the appropriate and quality seal at the store.
  8. Then tighten the new seal with the bolts.
  9. Double-check to see if the leakage has abated afterwards.

Fixing a Garbage Disposer That Won’t Switch on

When garbage disposals fail to turn on, various things might be involved. The saddest, however, is that the disposal might want to be replaced with a new one.

But don’t fret yet. It might actually be some troubleshooting that is needed when the disposal is not turning on.

Some of those troubleshooting would include:

1. Resetting the Garbage Disposal

Try to reset the disposal by pressing the reset button. Sometimes, your disposal can turn itself off for some reason such as overworking, clogging, or overheating.

With this, you would need to reset it. You can try to give it a little time to cool down before pressing the reset button.

The reset button which you might not notice before your disposal turned off will appear after the disposal has turned off. So, you would just need to press this button, and you are good to go.

There might, however, still be a problem with the responsiveness of the button. This is another case, and this might be leading to a change of your disposal.

2. Verify the Power and the Connection

This may sound vague, but sometimes you might not notice that the actual power supply is the issue. So, try to ensure that the power is on and that the disposal is well plugged.

Also, ensure that there is no problem with the circuit breaker. You can verify if the circuit breaker is functional by testing another appliance with the circuit breaker. Then try to see if there is no problem with the disposal’s wire.

If you have the time, you can try to check through the wire to see if the connection hasn’t broken in any way.

3. Check to See if There Is No Clogging

Actually, clogs might be the reason why disposal turned itself off. So, try to unclog it by using the method that has been aforementioned. After you might have successfully unclogged it then go on to resetting once again.

Recently we reviewed two popular garbage disposal models.

1. Waste King Legend 1 HP Series

2. InSinkErator Badger 5, 1/2 HP

Frequently Asked Questions

1. There Is a Bad Odour Coming From My Disposer, How Can I Solve This?

You have to use, biodegradable and non-toxic cleaning agent to remove the odour from your disposer naturally and make it smell fresh again. If the chosen cleaning agent is not doing the work, attempt the bleaching agent that can kill the odour-causing bacteria.

2. Is There Any Issue of Running Water While Using the Disposer?

No problem.  During operation, run the full stream of water through the disposer and after use, you should also leave the water to run for about ten seconds.

3. Can I Put Anything in My Disposer?

No. There are some substances not to be put in a disposer. If they find their way into a disposer, they can destroy it. Some of the substances like highly fibrous food; can cause clogging.

4. What Are Substances to Be Put in a Disposer?

Depending on the type of disposer you have, there are substances not allowed in your disposers. But for most of them, soft food, ice cubs, coffee grounds are not a threat.

5. I Want to Buy Garbage Disposer, What Size Should I Go For?

Typically, garbage disposer comes as 1, ½ or ¾. So depending on your needs, you can choose the size that suits you most.


That’s all for this piece. If you have any further queries regarding your garbage disposal, drop them in the comments section below.