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How to Fix a Broken Garbage Disposal – Complete Checklist

Your garbage disposer is not draining, has water leaks, creates weird noises, or has horrible odors? Troubleshoot your Faulty Disposer. If you are experiencing garbage disposal problems, you will find solutions on our checklist below to help you repair it. Before going out and spending a few hundred dollars on a new one, troubleshoot your existing sink garbage disposer to find the problem.

how to fix a garbage disposal

If water will not drain from your garbage disposal sink or water drains way too slowly see here.

Disposal does not run (no power):

If your garbage disposal is not running, first check to see if it is plugged in and receiving power. If so then check to see whether it will turn freely with your service wrench. Most disposers are sent with a self service wrench. The wrench is silver and should be located on or near your garbage disposal. (Check under your sink!) If it will not turn freely using the wrench, the disposal is most likely jammed. Check to see if the reset button has popped out.

Garbage Disposer not working – red reset button

Water leaks from your disposal:

If the water is leaking at the mounting assembly, make sure it is mounted as designed and not cocked. If the water is leaking at the dishwasher inlet, tighten the hose connector. If the water is leaking through the wall of the container body, your disposer probably need to be replaced. If the water is leaking from adjacent plumbing, tighten the connections as necessary.

Garbage disposal is not working or humming:

Make sure the reset button on the bottom is not popped out. If your disposal has a cord, make sure it is plugged in and there is power to the disposal. If your disposal has a cord, and there is no power to the disposal, check the breaker or GFI on the wall. If your disposer is hard wired into the wall, check the circuit breaker behind the electrical panel. If humming it is probably jammed. Use the small wrench that can with your disposal to unjam it and stop it from humming.

Garbage disposal repair

Disposal makes strange noise (squeak or grind noise):

If your garbage disposal is making a clicking or rattling sound, there may be some food particles that will not grind up inside. Remove power from disposer, reach into the sink hole with a pair of tongs and remove anything that is still down in the disposer. Test your disposer to be sure the noise is gone. If not continue troubleshooting your disposer issue (see below).

Disposal has odor coming from it:

Food particles will accumulate in the grinding chamber. Lasting smells from your disposer is food buildup from not enough water flow during and after disposer use. Run your disposer a little longer when grinding away food. Run the disposer while dripping a few drops of liquid dish detergent into the disposer.

To fully clean out your garbage disposer:

  1. Disconnect power to disposer.
  2. Reach into the sink hole with a pair of tongs and remove any chunks of food.
  3. Place a water stopper into the sink opening and fill your sink with warm water.
  4. Pour in a one pound box of baking soda.
  5. Turn the disposer on.
  6. Remove stopper from sink to allow water to wash away odor and pieces of food stuck inside.

Food waste remains in the disposal:

Some types of food remains are not easy to grind in a disposer. Do not put fibrous food items into your disposal. Help grind these items by putting in a few small bones or large ice cubes to the disposal. If the disposer won’t grind it up then turn off the disposer and remove the item with a pair of tongs. When using your disposer, make sure that the disposal is running with good water flow. Good water flow carries the waste down the drain line. Using too little water can create a clogged drain.

Do you have any suggestions on troubleshooting a broken garbage disposal? Please leave a comment below.

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