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How to Fix Garbage Disposal: A Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners

To fix a garbage disposal, turn off power, clear the jam and reset the disposal. Garbage disposals are an essential appliance in the kitchen, but they can break down over time.

Common problems include jammed disposals, clogged drain pipes, and leaky seals. However, fixing a garbage disposal is often a simple task that you can complete without calling a plumber. In this article, we will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to solve these common problems and get your garbage disposal back to working order. By following these easy tips, you can ensure that your garbage disposal lasts for many years to come. So let’s get started and learn how to fix a garbage disposal.

Understanding Garbage Disposal Problems

When it comes to fixing your garbage disposal, understanding the common issues is key. Signs of a faulty disposal include strange noises and a failure to turn on. Factors that affect performance include clogs, improper use, and motor issues. One common issue is clogging due to improper disposal of food waste.

In order to avoid this, always use cold water and avoid putting non-food items down the disposal. Another issue is improper use, such as running the disposal without water or overloading it with too much food waste. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid putting fibrous foods like celery or potato peels down the disposal.

By understanding and avoiding these common problems, you can fix your garbage disposal and keep it running smoothly.

Safety Precautions

It is essential to follow safety measures before fixing a garbage disposal system. Firstly, turn off the power source and disconnect the disposal unit. Secondly, avoid touching any moving parts or sharp blades to prevent injuries. Thirdly, wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles to protect your hands and eyes.

Fourthly, identify any electrical or mechanical hazards and take necessary precautions. Lastly, read the user manual or seek professional help if you are not confident in fixing it yourself. Following these safety precautions can prevent accidents and ensure a smooth operation of your garbage disposal system.

How to Fix a Garbage Disposal | The Home Depot

Tools Required

When it comes to fixing a garbage disposal, you need the essential tools to get the job done. You’ll need an allen wrench, a screwdriver, pliers, and a flashlight. Most of these tools can be found in your local hardware store or online.

It’s important to have these tools on hand before attempting to fix your garbage disposal. These tools will allow you to take apart and reassemble the disposal properly and safely. You don’t want to cause further damage by using the wrong tools or not having the proper equipment.

With the right tools, fixing your garbage disposal can be a quick and easy task.

Turn Off Power And Water Supply

To fix a garbage disposal, the first step is to turn off the power and water supply. To shut off the power supply, locate the circuit breaker and turn off the switch. For added safety, it is recommended to tape the switch to prevent turning it on while working.

To turn off the water supply, locate the valve under the sink and turn it clockwise until it stops. If you are not sure which valve to turn, turn off the main water supply to the house. Following these steps will prevent the disposal from turning on accidentally and ensure your safety while working on it.

Remove Obstructions

Garbage disposal is a vital component of any kitchen, but it gets clogged frequently, leading to unpleasant odors and other issues. The most common obstructions are food scraps, bones, and fibrous materials, which can result in a jammed garbage disposal.

To fix it, you need to turn off the power to the unit, remove the obstruction using pliers or tongs, and reset the disposal. You may also try using natural remedies like ice cubes or vinegar to break down the buildup.

Regular maintenance and cleaning can also prevent blockages and extend the life of the unit. By following these tips, you can easily clear any obstructions from your garbage disposal and keep it functioning smoothly.

Resetting Garbage Disposal

Resetting your garbage disposal is crucial when it becomes clogged or stops working altogether. Start by turning off the power switch underneath the disposal and unplugging it. Use a hex wrench to dislodge any objects stuck inside the disposal. After that, press the reset button located on the bottom of the disposal unit.

If the disposal doesn’t spin, check for any other clogs. If none are found, you may need to call a professional to assess and fix the issue. It’s important to reset your garbage disposal before attempting any other repair solutions.

By following these steps, you can resolve any issues your garbage disposal may be experiencing and keep your kitchen functioning properly.

Replace Gaskets And Seals

Gaskets and seals in garbage disposal can get damaged over time, causing leaks and other problems. Signs of damage include leaks from the bottom of the disposal unit and unusual noises. To replace these components, first turn off the power and unplug the unit.

Then, remove the mounting bracket and the disposal unit. Next, remove the old gaskets and seals and install new ones in their place. Be sure to use the correct size and type of seals for your unit. Finally, reattach the disposal unit and mounting bracket, and test for leaks.

With these steps, you can easily replace damaged gaskets and seals in your garbage disposal and keep it running smoothly.

Fixing Leaks

One of the main issues with a garbage disposal is leaks. Thankfully, diagnosing and fixing leaks in your garbage disposal can be relatively simple. First, turn off the power supply to the unit. Check the sink flange, mounting bolts, and sink connection for any sign of leaks.

Next, examine the dishwasher connection and reset button. If you spot any issue with connections, simply replace the faulty component. Tighten any loose bolts and fittings. Seal any gaps, if required. Ensure all connections are watertight before turning the power back on.

Remember, taking care of a leak in your garbage disposal as soon as you notice it can help prolong your unit’s lifespan and prevent more significant damage that might be costly to repair.

Replacing The Motor

When your garbage disposal starts making strange noises or stops working altogether, it might be time to replace the motor. Some signs that indicate a faulty motor are a humming sound, tripping circuit breakers, and the disposal not working at all.

First, turn off the power to the unit, and then remove it from the sink. Next, disconnect the wiring and remove the old motor. Install the new motor, reconnect the wiring, and reattach the unit to the sink. Finally, test the disposal to make sure it’s working properly.

With a little patience and attention to detail, replacing a garbage disposal motor can be an easy diy project.

Unclogging Drain Pipes

Symptoms of clogged drain pipes in garbage disposal: a stinky smell, a sluggish drain, and a loud garbage disposal can all indicate that your drain pipes are clogged. However, unclogging your drain pipes is a simple process that can be done at home without the help of a plumber.

Start by turning off your garbage disposal and unplugging it. Then, use a flashlight to peer into the drain to see if there are any visible clogs. Next, use a plunger to loosen any blockages and a drain snake to remove them.

Finally, run hot water for a few minutes to clear any remaining debris. By following these simple steps, you can easily fix a clogged drain pipe in your garbage disposal and have it back up and running in no time!

Cleaning Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals might be one of the most essential appliances in your home’s kitchen, but it can also be the most frustrating one when it malfunctions. One of the most important things you can do to ensure your disposal lasts long and functions well is to keep it clean.

But, how frequently you clean the disposal depends on the usage. For a household with an average usage of the disposal, cleaning it once a week should be sufficient. You can clean it using items such as baking soda, vinegar, and ice cubes, which will assist in removing odors and buildup.

By taking care of your garbage disposal, you will prolong its life and maintain the freshness of your kitchen.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial to ensure your garbage disposal functions smoothly. It helps prevent clogs, reduces unpleasant odors, extends the lifespan of the appliance, and saves you money in the long run. Here are some simple tips for regular maintenance: run cold water before and after use, avoid overloading the disposal, grind ice cubes and citrus peels to clean the blades, use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to deodorize, and avoid disposing of non-food items.

By following these tips, you can ensure the longevity and proper functionality of your garbage disposal, and avoid costly repairs or replacements. Incorporating these maintenance practices into your household routine can enhance the general livability of your home and reduce your ecological impact.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Fix Garbage Disposal

1. Why Is My Garbage Disposal Not Turning On?

Check if the unit is properly plugged in, and if the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. If it still doesn’t turn on, try pressing the reset button at the bottom of the unit.

2. How Can I Fix A Slow-Draining Garbage Disposal?

Turn off the disposal and unplug it. Using pliers, remove any visible debris in the disposal. Pour hot water and baking soda down the drain, followed by vinegar. Finally, flush the drain with more hot water.

3. Is It Safe To Use Chemical Drain Cleaners On My Garbage Disposal?

No, it is not recommended to use chemical drain cleaners on a garbage disposal as it can damage the unit’s internal parts. Instead, try natural remedies like baking soda and vinegar.

4. Can I Put Bones In My Garbage Disposal?

No, hard materials like bones can damage the blades of the disposal. It’s best to dispose of bones in the trash or compost.

5. How Can I Prevent My Garbage Disposal From Smelling Bad?

Run cold water and turn on the disposal for 30 seconds after using it. You can also grind up citrus peels or ice cubes to keep it smelling fresh.

6. What Should I Do If My Garbage Disposal Is Making Strange Noises?

First, turn off the disposal and unplug it. Check for any visible obstructions or debris. If none are found and the noise persists, it may be time to replace the unit.

7. Can I Install A Garbage Disposal Myself?

It is possible, but not recommended unless you have experience with plumbing and electrical work. Hiring a professional is the safest option.


After following the simple steps outlined above, fixing a garbage disposal may seem like a daunting task, but it is actually quite easy. Always remember to turn off the power before working on the disposal, and be careful not to put any foreign objects in the unit.

Regular maintenance can prolong the life of your disposal, and fixing minor issues can save you a lot of money in the long run. When a more serious issue arises, don’t hesitate to contact a professional for assistance. Keeping your garbage disposal in good working condition will keep your kitchen clean and efficient.

With the knowledge gained from this article, you can now fix your own garbage disposal, impressing your friends and saving money at the same time. Happy fixing!

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