Fix A Humming Garbage Disposal Fast And Easy DIY








You flipped the garbage disposal on and it just hums. How do you fix this fast and easy? There could be a few things wrong. Here is what to check first…

When a garbage disposal is humming or makes a buzzing sound, this means it is still getting power but it is jammed up and unable to spin or churn. To fix this fast, go under the sink, find the hex head wrench tool (Allen wrench), stick it in the hole (breaker socket) on the bottom of the disposer and turn it back and forth. This is to get the flywheel to “unjam” itself and turn freely. The hole we are talking about is on the outside and bottom of the disposer itself, not in the hole in your sink! Garbage Disposal Is Spinning But Will Not Drain?

humming garbage disposal








Other reasons a garbage disposal won’t turn on, will hum, or is completely dead:

  1. Foreign Object Stuck In Disposer: Something is jamming the disposer blades making them unable to spin freely. Unplug disposer and look into sink drain hole. Inspect for anything jamming the disposer. Remove foreign objects to free the blades.
  2. Disposer Jammed: Something put down the sink has jammed the wheel inside the disposer. Use the disposer “jam buster” tool and turn the hex fitting back and forth on the bottom of the disposer. If there is no tool under the sink, grab an Allen wrench set and find the correct Allen wrench to fit the hole. The “flywheel” hole in most garbage disposals is 1/4″. So use a 1/4 inch Allen wrench (hex key) if you do not have the “wrenchette” disposal tool.
  3. GFI Has “Tripped”: Check that the GFI or GFCI electrical outlet where the garbage disposal plugs in has not tripped. If so press the reset button.
  4. Disposer Has “Tripped”: Disposer has overheated or “tripped”. Press the red button on the bottom of the disposer to “reset”.
  5. Disposer Has Fried: Disposer has reached the end of it’s life cycle and is KIA. Remove and replace bad disposer.

fix garbage disposal

disposal wrenchGarbage Disposal Wrench is most commonly 1/4″ in size

Here is even more garbage disposal support for you if you
are still having issues getting your disposer to run.



Parts: Refrigerators, Washers, Dryers, Dishwashers
Appliance Parts for Refrigerators Washers Dryers Dishwashers



More "Do It Yourself" Tips, Tricks, Ideas, Repair:















{ 52 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gigi February 7, 2017 at 10:51 pm

So helpful! Got out the tool kit and used my Allen wrench to unstick the fly wheel. Thank you! (PS feeling pretty proud!! No husband required!)

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2 Tiffanie Church February 1, 2017 at 12:36 pm

thank you sooooo much. the allen wrench worked. i thought i would have to get a new disposal. neat little trick with the wrench. now i also know why that is with the disposal. i’m soo glad you were here to help.

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3 Robert December 5, 2016 at 3:05 pm

Nothing is jamming the blades, I’ve reset the button and turned the breaker socket several times but it still only hums when I turn it on. Any suggestions?

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4 Meghan D December 1, 2016 at 11:42 pm

Thank you so much! The Allen wrench worked in a second and you saved me a lot of stress! Very straightforward.

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5 Lacey S November 30, 2016 at 6:54 am

Thanks for this post! It left me feeling very proud to have fixed my own disposal. It also prevented a seriously gross sink situation! 🙂 Thank you thank you thank you!

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6 Stacia November 6, 2016 at 8:53 am

The hex wrench trick would work briefly but the disposal would jam again almost immediately. We unplugged it and felt for whatever it was jamming the disposal and tried using a flashlight but just could not find it.
What ended up working for us was plugging it back in again, filling the sink with hot water and Dawn, and my husband started turning the hex wrench back and forth while I took the stopper out of the drain and let the hot water and soap pour down the drain.
It was a solid 2-3 minutes of turning when the water suddenly started draining normally, so he turned it a little more and then tried the disposal and it worked!
We then did the ice cube trick you mentioned above just to make sure whatever was jamming it came out.
This was really helpful, thanks!

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7 Lynsey October 31, 2016 at 2:54 am

This was super super helpful!

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8 Susan October 23, 2016 at 9:26 pm

Thank you so much for this! I knew about the red button but didn’t know about the hex bolt spot. I thought my Sunday was ruined with the unexpected death of an appliance, but my trusty bicycle allen wrench set (and your instructions) saved the day.

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9 Franco October 19, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Dreaded the idea of having to remove the disposal after a ceramic spoon accidentally fell inside the unit.
After inspecting and ensuring the disposal was clear of any major shards, I turn on the unit to find it still humming.
This google search saved me the aggravation of removing the unit completely.
A simple twist of the Allen screw on the bottom of the disposal did the trick.
I had forgotten about that tip.
Thanks for this helpful post!

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10 Troy September 26, 2016 at 5:33 am

Badger 1/3 hp disposal, getting power but won’t spin. Cleaned out unit and found some sting got wound up in the disposal. Cleared and still wouldn’t spin but has power. Tried reset, but no difference. Used hex wrench and unit is spinning free and clear. Powered up, still won’t spin but has power. Figured some of string may have worked its way under fly wheel so I pulled whole unit out, cleaned thoroughly, took main motor completely off, got under fly wheel and yes, there was a bit of string. Cut out, flywheel spun free and clear. Put whole unit back together, reinstalled, fired it up and yes it still has power but still doesn’t want to spin. What could possibly be causing this as I’ve troubleshooted everything I can think of.

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11 Adam September 15, 2016 at 4:30 pm

I have an Insinkerator evolution excel 2 garbage disposal. It has been vibrating more than it should. I removed the unit from the mount and loosened mounting screws. Now the vibration is better but the mounting unit moves. I can see the flange turn when unit fires up. When i adjusted it to make the unit snug so it wouldn’t move, the vibration returned. Unit spins freely and there is no debris in the unit.

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DIY Project Help Tips 12 DIY Project Help Tips September 15, 2016 at 10:13 pm

Adam,
If your garbage disposal is vibrating excessively, make sure the mount is snug and not damaged. If it is bent the disposal may move and vibrate. Adjust the disposal correctly and then tighten the mounting screws extra tight. If it continues to vibrate, take the disposal out and visually check all parts to see if something is damaged, bent, etc…
-RR

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13 km August 9, 2016 at 6:38 pm

Thank you for the great instructions! I was able to get it to turn with the wrench, but then it jams up again.

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14 Willie Buen July 30, 2016 at 7:38 pm

Thanks a lot ….You! and that magic wrench lol

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15 Dave Maharaj June 7, 2016 at 4:39 pm

This helped, thanks a lot. The hex key solution worked for me, needed to turn it both ways to free it up.

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16 Kristin June 3, 2016 at 12:31 pm

Yay! With this video I was able to fix my garbage disposal with an Allen wrench.

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17 Kathleen Scarbrough May 29, 2016 at 1:53 am

SavedSaved me & my daughter $300 using the instructions on this site!
Get out your Allen Wrench and fixit yourself!! Plumbers will not repair garbage disposals, only replace!
D I Y!

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18 Amanda April 27, 2016 at 12:16 am

Thank you!!!! The tool fixed it!

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19 Howard April 16, 2016 at 2:32 am

I have a KitchenAid garbage disposal that hums but does not spin. This disposal does not have any space to place hex wrench to unclog it. I have checked there is not anything large blocking the disposal. What do you suggest?

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DIY Project Help Tips 20 DIY Project Help Tips April 19, 2016 at 10:48 pm

Howard,
There should be an area on the bottom to place a hex wrench. What is the model number of your KitchenAid garbage disposal?
-RR

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21 Josh April 10, 2016 at 11:36 pm

Thank you so much for your suggestion. I was able to get a Allen Wrench for about $7 and loosened the wheels. Reset the switch and when I switched on it worked fine. Thanks for saving me a call to the plumber! 🙂

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22 VJ April 10, 2016 at 6:25 pm

I was able to freely spin from the bottom using an allen wrench but the humming continued. I then tried to get the blades on by giving it a spin while turned on. This actually caused the humming to stop completely – when I flip the switch on now, it’s totally dead. Hope I didn’t do any harm by attempting to spin it while on? Thanks so much for this helpful thread.

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DIY Project Help Tips 23 DIY Project Help Tips April 11, 2016 at 9:50 pm

VJ,
Try pressing the red reset button at the very bottom of your garbage disposal. If that does not work, make sure the breaker the outlet the disposal is plugged into is not tripped. If power is getting to the garbage disposal and the red reset button did not reset it, you may have a dead disposal. The motor could be faulty. If so it can be repaired by taking it apart and fixing the motor. It may be simple wiring. The plug could be bad, cord, motor, etc… If it is totally dead, buying a new one is a good choice as an average garbage disposal is around $100 US dollars. Let us know what you find.
-RR

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24 VJ April 11, 2016 at 11:09 pm

Thanks so much for your prompt reply. The reset button worked – the disposal is now back to just humming (and I’m able to freely spin the wheel using an allen wrench on the bottom).

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DIY Project Help Tips 25 DIY Project Help Tips April 13, 2016 at 9:25 pm

VJ,
If your garbage disposal is humming, either it is STILL jammed, or the motor is bad. Remove anything that may be jamming the disposer or test to see if the motor is working properly. You will need a multimeter to do so.
-RR

26 Kelly March 20, 2016 at 1:56 pm

Garbage disposal hums, but when I use the wrenchette to try and loosen the wheels, it won’t work. I’ve tried turning it both ways but it just won’t budge. what do I do?

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DIY Project Help Tips 27 DIY Project Help Tips March 21, 2016 at 10:49 pm

Kelly,
If the garbage disposal will NOT budge using the wrenchette, then something large is in the disposal that will not let it turn. Unplug the disposer and use something to get down inside to see if you can get the item out that is blocking the disposal from spinning. You can use your hand but be SURE the disposal is unplugged from power.
-RR

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28 Jonathan March 6, 2016 at 7:24 pm

Thank you so much. Worked perfectly.

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29 Tina February 24, 2016 at 3:07 pm

Thank you! This helped!

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30 Tim February 10, 2016 at 12:16 am

I took the allen wrench and spun it around a couple times, which the motor went with it freely. Turned the switch back on and it continued to hum. While on, I took the allen wrench and spun it again, and the blades started to spin. Let it run for a few minutes, turned it off. I then turned it back on and the humming started again. The blades will now only spin if I start it with the allen wrench. Is the motor shot?

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DIY Project Help Tips 31 DIY Project Help Tips February 10, 2016 at 12:31 am

Tim,
If you have exhausted all measures to unjam your disposer, then yes the motor may be fried or on the fritz. You can take it apart and check it with a meter to be sure before replacing it. However there may still be some small foreign object in the disposer binding the cutters. Get the disposer running again with the allen wrench and pour some ice cubes down into it to try to fully clean it out and remove anything that may be binding it up. If the disposer still hums and will not start up after this, it may be time for a new one. Be absolute sure your disposer is not simply jammed before replacing it with a new one.
-RR

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32 Charlie June 5, 2016 at 3:24 pm

So, let me get this straight! This person stuck the allen in the bottom, then turned the disposal on, then turned the allen until the disposal stated to run ! Would the allen wrench then turn at the rpm that the motor is spinning? If so, this sounds a bit unsafe ? I am having the same issue. Is the mechanism where rthe allen is on a some sort of a clutch ? When I spin the shaft with the allen, it spins but seems on the tight side.

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DIY Project Help Tips 33 DIY Project Help Tips June 7, 2016 at 12:39 am

Charlie,
If it feels tight just keep turning as it is jammed and needs to be “moved” using the allen or hex wrench.
Common sense would hopefully make people realize that when un-jamming a garbage disposal with an allen wrench under the disposal, it needs to be TURNED OFF.
Read the info on the above page and you will see the correct method to unjam a humming disposer.
NEVER RUN THE DISPOSAL WHEN REPAIRING OR UNJAMMING IT, UNPLUG IT TO BE SAFE.
-RR

34 Gordon February 9, 2016 at 7:15 am

It worked! Thanks so much!

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35 Lynne February 7, 2016 at 8:33 pm

The bottom of my garbage disposal (PHCC 394) does not have a hole in which to insert a wrench. Do you have any suggestions for my humming disposal?

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DIY Project Help Tips 36 DIY Project Help Tips February 8, 2016 at 11:46 pm

Lynne,
The cutter blades are most likely jammed. With the disposal OFF, try putting a wooden object down into the disposal and try to spin or turn the cutters to get them un-jammed. Once you have turned them and hopefully un-jammed them… Add some liquid soap and turn the disposal on while running water. If it still hums, try tapping on the side of it with a rubber mallet or similar as this may be able to get the disposal spinning again. If this does not work, you may have something really jammed inside the disposal. Unplug the disposal and feel around down inside for something jamming the cutters. Remove the item or items. Plug disposal back in and see if it spins as normal. USE CAUTION WHEN PUTTING YOUR HAND DOWN INTO THE DISPOSAL OPENING.
-RR

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37 Lynne February 10, 2016 at 4:19 am

Wow, the broom handle worked! I pushed as hard as I could and it suddenly broke free. THANK YOU!!!! I’m grateful for your advice.

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38 JOE February 7, 2016 at 3:53 am

I forgot all about the hex bolt on the bottom. After a couple of hours of stressing out I read your article. A quick twist of an allen wrench and everything is perfectly fine with the dosposal. Thank you.

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39 Eric January 28, 2016 at 5:08 am

You rock! Fixed my “humming” disposal. Thanks a ton!!

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40 Steph January 23, 2016 at 10:37 pm

Already had to spend money this month to replace the alternator on the car, this single mother is very grateful to you posting this so she could fix a jammed garbage disposal. Thank you!

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41 Carleen January 15, 2016 at 2:51 am

I’d forgotten about the wrench “trick”. worked like a charm — HURRAY! I can run the dishwasher now. THANK YOU!!!

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42 Egbon January 7, 2016 at 1:12 pm

Works great! Thanks a million.

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43 ANgela January 2, 2016 at 7:24 pm

Thank you so much the first tip worked.

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44 Robin December 9, 2015 at 3:05 pm

This totally worked. THANK YOU!!!! A couple of back and forth movements with 1/4 inch allen wrench!

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45 I. Galvin November 27, 2015 at 5:29 pm

The explanation was clear and precise. I did find the Allen wrench that came with my disposal and had no clue that that is what it is for. Thanks.

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46 Dick Sutton November 26, 2015 at 6:02 pm

I have tried to use the jam buster but I can’t turn the wrench in spite of considerable force.
Any helpful ideas before I have to call a plumber?

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DIY Project Help Tips 47 DIY Project Help Tips December 1, 2015 at 9:37 pm

D. Sutton,
Have you made sure there is nothing inside the disposer jamming it? Unplug the disposer and feel down inside it to be sure there is nothing jamming it. Then try the allen wrench at bottom to see if it will turn freely. If no jam and the disposer will not turn, try tapping the side of the disposer with a small hammer while it is running and humming. Sometimes a small jolt to it will get it working as the motor could be jammed and a small jolt will get it back spinning. If not then a replacement may be necessary.
-RR

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48 Jon November 1, 2015 at 7:43 pm

When I turned on the garbage disposal this morning it made a humming sound. It has done this before and I got it unstuck with the hex wrench. This time the hex wrench turns the unit freely but it still only hums when I turn it on. The reset button is okay. Hmmmm…..fried?

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DIY Project Help Tips 49 DIY Project Help Tips November 2, 2015 at 7:25 pm

Jon,
If the disposal turns freely with the hex wrench and it still hums, the motor may be bad or fried as you stated. It may have overheated and needs time to cool but usually will not hum if that is the case. Give it a few hours and try again, if it still hums and spins freely then remove and replace after doing some further troubleshooting.
-RR

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50 Joan October 10, 2015 at 6:23 am

I loosened the disposal by using the Wrenchette. When I turned it back on, it made a noise and the blade inside the disposer seems to be extremely loose and rattles. Can I tighten it? Or what should I do?

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DIY Project Help Tips 51 DIY Project Help Tips October 10, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Joan,
The disposal was jammed so you used the wrench on the bottom to get it to spin again, correct? Was there any type of rattling before this? You may have something that has fallen into the disposer such as a small metal object or similar. Unplug disposal and check with flashlight in the disposal. See if there is anything in there that should not be. If nothing visual is causing the rattle, you may have loose chopper or motor. Check that nothing is in there rattling first… If still rattles, let us know what make and model your disposer is and we can assist further.
-RR

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52 Geri Lyn September 6, 2015 at 2:07 am

Thanks…gotta love google. How did anything ever get done before?!
I searched garbage disposal troubleshooting; saw “not humming” and voila…all taken care of!

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