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How To Fix A Garbage Disposal Humming?

Humming garbage disposal? This guide will help you diagnose the problem and offer the best solutions to fix a humming disposal.

fix garbage disposal hummingFix garbage disposal humming

  1. Reasons For A Humming Garbage Disposal?
  2. Fixing Disposal Humming.
  3. Prevention/Maintenance Tips.
  4. Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does My Garbage Disposal Hum?

Jammed or Stuck Objects: Foreign objects such as utensils, bones, or fibrous food waste can become lodged in the disposal, causing it to hum.

Overheating: If the disposal has been running for too long, it may overheat and stop working, producing a humming sound.

Worn or Damaged Motor: If the motor is damaged or worn out, it may struggle to operate and create a humming noise.

Fixing A Humming Disposal

Safety First: Unplug the garbage disposal or turn off the circuit breaker before attempting any repairs.

Inspect the Disposal: Check for any visible foreign objects lodged in the disposal.

Use a Plunger: If you suspect a clog, try using a plunger to dislodge the blockage.

Allen Wrench Method: Use the provided Allen wrench to manually turn the disposal and free any jammed objects.

disposal wrenchGarbage Disposal Wrench is 1/4″

Reset Button: After dislodging any obstructions, press the garbage disposal reset button located at the bottom of the disposal.

Test the Disposal: Plug the unit back in or turn the circuit breaker back on and test the disposal for proper function.

Prevention And Maintenance Tips

Run Cold Water: Always run cold water while using the garbage disposal to help flush waste down the drain.

Avoid Fibrous Foods: Keep fibrous foods like celery, corn husks, and onion skins out of the disposal, as they can cause jams.

No Grease or Oil: Never pour grease or oil down the disposal as it can solidify and cause clogs.

Dispose of Bones Properly: Do not put bones in the garbage disposal, as they can break the blades or cause jams.

Clean Regularly: Clean your garbage disposal regularly by grinding ice cubes and lemon peels to keep it fresh and free of debris.

If you’ve tried the DIY methods and your garbage disposal is still humming, it might be time to call a professional plumber. They can diagnose and fix garbage disposal issues, such as a damaged motor, that may be causing the problem.

Garbage Disposal FAQs

1. What causes a garbage disposal to hum but not grind?

A humming garbage disposal usually indicates a jam or a stuck impeller. The motor is still running, but the grinding mechanism is unable to move due to a foreign object or built-up food debris. The humming sound is a result of the motor trying to turn the impeller but being unable to do so.

2. Is it safe to use a garbage disposal that’s humming?

No, it is not safe to use a humming garbage disposal. The humming indicates that the disposal is jammed, and continued use may lead to motor burnout, which can cause irreversible damage. Turn off the power to the disposal immediately and address the issue before attempting to use it again.

3. How can I fix a garbage disposal that’s humming but not working?

To fix a humming garbage disposal, follow these steps:

  1. Turn off the power and unplug the disposal.
  2. Inspect the grinding chamber for visible obstructions.
  3. Use a plunger or Allen wrench to free the impeller.
  4. Press the reset button on the bottom of the unit.
  5. Test the disposal to ensure it’s working properly.

If these steps don’t resolve the problem, consult a professional plumber.

4. Can a humming garbage disposal be a sign of a bigger problem?

While a humming garbage disposal is often a sign of a jam or stuck impeller, it may also indicate a more serious issue, such as a failing motor or damaged internal components. If you have tried the steps mentioned above and the disposal is still humming, it’s best to call a professional plumber to diagnose and fix the issue.

5. How can I prevent my garbage disposal from humming in the future?

To prevent your garbage disposal from humming, follow these tips:

  1. Run cold water before, during, and after using the disposal.
  2. Avoid putting fibrous or hard materials into the disposal.
  3. Cut large food items into smaller pieces before disposing of them.
  4. Regularly clean your garbage disposal with a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.
  5. Perform periodic maintenance checks to ensure the disposal is functioning correctly.

Need more help with your garbage disposal? Please leave a comment below with your problem and we will get back to you with an answer.

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74 thoughts on “How To Fix A Garbage Disposal Humming?”

  1. Garbage disposal – I have done all the troubleshooting and can only get the hex wrench to go half way.
    Have cleaned out teeth, nothing in each groove, but still won’t grind, hums only like it is on but no grinding noise to indicate it’s working. Did hot water, soap and vinegar try also, nothing. Is next step removal???

  2. The Allen wrench really worked. For some reason, there were pieces of a plastic cup in the disposal. I removed all that I could, and then tried the wrench. Worked, but it made a noise when it was running. I think there is something still in there, but will use the ice cubes as suggested to clear out any remaining pieces of plastic. Thanks.

  3. My garbage disposer hums when I turn it on. The hex bar won’t let me spin it. I’ve inspected it and I can’t find anything stuck. I also tried the baking soda/vinegar/hot water thing twice. I also tried pressing reset button. It’s an Insinkerator brand that’s about 2 years old. Any recommendations? I only want to call a plumber as a last resort.

  4. Thanks so much for this video. This problem started this morning. The fix using the wrench worked for me. How did you know I was about to have a party :-)

  5. Thank you! The Allen wrench freed up the jam. I was worried that I may need to buy a new garbage disposal.

  6. It worked ! The allen wrench and the hot water fixed the problem. Filled sink with hot water twice,then took allen wrench and turned to the right and the magic happen. The garbage disposal worked. thank you for saving me the money and time….

  7. My garbage disposal started humming. Got on here and read about using the wrench at the bottom of the unit. Worked like a charm! Thanks for the tip :)

  8. Happy Thanksgiving!! have an older GE Disposall (1995/1996) in my mobile home that has started humming. Broom handle / wooden spoon method hasn’t worked. Re-set button, same same. There is no place for an allen wrench on the bottom, but there is a silver metal plate over the bottom center, similar to electric access on a water heater. Could that be hiding the Allen wrench hole?? Thanks for any help. Hope you have a great Holiday Season !! Ray

  9. I used a 1/4 inch allen wrench…it fixed the problem. I, too, was getting ready to buy a new disposal…..thought I’d search the internet for troubleshooting ideas….this fixed it. Now my wife thinks I’m a genius….thanks.

  10. Thanks! I had tried all the steps, except the allen wrench turning from the bottom. I hadn’t even seen the wrenchette? before, but sure enough there it was on the floor of the cabinet under the sink. A couple of full rotations in either direction until it turned relatively easy all the way around and I was good to go.

  11. The Allen wrench fixed it! Thank you. I didn’t even know that hole was there until I went looking for it.

  12. Thanks! Fixed it in 2 minutes with the allen wrench. Saved me $100. I was getting ready to buy a new garbage disposal.

  13. DIY Project Help Tips

    robert grover,
    When your dishwasher runs and drains, it goes through the bottom of the garbage disposal, check to see if there is a blockage in the bottom of the garbage disposal.
    Be sure the “knock out hole” is fully removed from the disposal and nothing is jammed up in the disposal.

  14. My Badger 5 Garbage Disposal has started stopping to run after our dishwasher runs.
    I am able to fix the jam with the wrench but it happens again after running the dishwasher.
    It continues to work ok until we start the dishwasher again. Any Ideas?

  15. Thanks!!! It was humming but not turning and following your advice turned it with an Allen wrench and it took care of it. Appreciate it!

  16. So a spoon fell in the disposal and I couldn’t pull it out. Watched a video of a guy saying to use the wrench on the bottom, so I turned it back and forth and my mom tried to pull it out. She still couldn’t get it and when we went to trade, I couldn’t feel the spoon at all. We turned it on to see if it was still rattling and it did for a second before it stopped and sounded normal again. Did the spoon drop through? Is this okay to leave or should we figure out how to take it apart to remove it still?

  17. Stephanie Anolick

    Thank you so much for the video help!!! We fixed it with the allen wrench trick and did not have to go to Lowes to buy a new one!!! Happy Father’s day to us!


    OH MY GOD! You saved the day! All I had to do was put the alan wrench in and unjam the machine. Best day ever!

    I thought I was going to have take the damn thing apart myself or worse yet call somebody!

  19. My problem is that the motor runs and then it stops after 2-3 seconds and starts humming.
    This happened even after I had cleared out all solids in the disposal and clear water is passing through.
    My disposal is just over a year old.

  20. The thing that finally worked for me was the very hot water and liquid soap. After no success doing all the standard stuff (reset, hex, which was totally free), I got all of the water out of the sink down to the blades and then poured liquid dish detergent in, followed by lots of boiling water. Took a while, but after churning and letting it stand and adding another pitcher of hot boiling water, it finally took off.

    Do NOT put parsnip skins and tops down the disposal!

    Thanks to the gal who told us about the dawn and hot water (any liquid dish soap will do).

  21. 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!)

  22. 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.

  23. 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?

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

  25. 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!

  26. 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!

  27. 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.

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

  30. DIY Project Help Tips

    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…

  31. 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.

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

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

  34. DIY Project Help Tips

    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.

  35. 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.

  36. Kathleen Scarbrough

    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!

  37. DIY Project Help Tips

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

  38. 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?

  39. DIY Project Help Tips

    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.

  40. 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).

  41. DIY Project Help Tips

    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.

  42. 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! :)

  43. 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.

  44. DIY Project Help Tips

    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.

  45. 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?

  46. 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.

  47. DIY Project Help Tips

    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.

  48. 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?

  49. DIY Project Help Tips

    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.

  50. 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?

  51. 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.

  52. 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!

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

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

  55. DIY Project Help Tips

    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.

  56. 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.

  57. 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?

  58. DIY Project Help Tips

    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.

  59. 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?

  60. DIY Project Help Tips

    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.

  61. 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?

  62. 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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