The last thing you want to deal with when you’re in the middle of cooking is a clogged garbage disposal. If it happens, though, don’t despair. Our helpful DIY tips can get you back on track in a flash.


Pay Attention to the Sounds Your Garbage Disposal Makes

If you turn on the switch for your garbage disposal and don’t hear any sound, then there’s an electrical problem. On the other hand, if your garbage disposal makes a humming noise when you flip the switch, skip to the next section.

  • Check the cord on your garbage disposal – The problem could be as simple as the unplugged unit. For example, this could be a problem if you’ve recently moved things around under your sink.
  • Try resetting your garbage disposal – Your garbage disposal should have a red button on the bottom of the unit. If your garbage disposal overheated, it might have turned off automatically to prevent further damage. If the unit feels hot, let it cool down, then hit the reset button and try using your garbage disposal again.
  • Check your breaker panel – Garbage disposals often have their dedicated circuit, which means that the breaker for the disposal might have tripped even if the rest of the kitchen still has power. If one of your breakers has tripped, try resetting it and then using the garbage disposal again.

If your garbage disposal is humming, but the blades aren’t turning, then odds are your garbage disposal is clogged. With the tips below, you should be able to get it running again, however.

  • Unplug your garbage disposal – You should never try to work on your garbage disposal when it’s plugged in. If the blades start turning again while working on it, you could be seriously injured!
  • Look for obstructions – Look down into the garbage disposal through the sink drain. If there are any pieces of metal, toys, or other apparent obstructions, use needle-nose pliers to remove them. Never try to remove obstructions with your bare hands. Even if the blades aren’t spinning, they are still very sharp and can cut your hands.
  • Turn the blades manually – Your garbage disposal should have a hexagon-shaped socket on the bottom called a “breaker socket.” You can use an Allen wrench to turn the blades manually using this. This will often fix the problem with your clogged garbage disposal by getting the blades moving again, and then the motor can take over.
  • Hit the reset button – We recommend that you use the reset button after trying any of these fixes. Your garbage disposal will often shut down automatically if there’s a problem to prevent further damage and won’t start working again until you reset it.


Is your garbage disposal still giving you trouble? Our Experts Can Help

If your garbage disposal still isn’t working or if you’re just tired of being wedged under your sink, then it’s time to call a professional. Get back to your party and let someone else take care of the problem for you.