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How to Fix Your Garbage Disposal and Tips to Prevent Future Issues

How to Fix Your Garbage Disposal and Tips to Prevent Future Issues


Featured Image – from Instagram – SKU: LS8773DL Garbage disposals are a modern wonder of the kitchen. These units make cleanup simple and allow homeowners to quickly dispose of unwanted scraps of food. Without a garbage disposal, it is easy to quickly clog up a kitchen sink, but with a disposal, food is safely ground down to be effectively washed away with the kitchen’s gray water.

However, over time, garbage disposals can begin to wear out and stop functioning properly. This can leave homeowners at a loss for what to do to remedy the situation.

This guide will help break down the common issues that garbage disposals face, as well as tips to prevent issues from occurring in the future. This will help homeowners keep their kitchen in tip-top shape.

Fixing Common Garbage Disposal Issues

Nothing is more frustrating than going to turn on a garbage disposal, only for it not to work. Often, this results in homeowners doing away with their garbage disposal or working around the unit. Instead of counting a garbage disposal as a total loss, use the following tips to fix common issues with these units.

The Garbage Disposal Won’t Turn On

Most garbage disposals are equipped with a switch that is located above or near the sink. Once food scraps have been washed into the disposal, the switch is flipped, and the disposal turns on.

However, if the garbage disposal doesn’t turn on the moment the switch is flipped, it can be due to a few different common reasons.

First, homeowners should check to make sure that the disposal is plugged in. In some cases, the plug may have loosened and fallen out of the plug. After plugging the disposal back in, simply press the reset button on the bottom of the garbage disposal, and test the switch again.

However, if the unit is plugged in and resetting the unit doesn’t work, it could be due to a circuit breaker that has popped. This can occur when too many appliances are running at once, all operating off of the same breaker. In this case, homeowners should check their circuit breaker box to ensure that all switches are turned on.

If none of these common fixes solve the issue, it might be time to call in an electrician. There could be a larger issue with the wiring leading to the disposal.

The Garbage Disposal Turns On But Doesn’t Spin

What would happen if flipping the switch on the garbage disposal turns the unit on, but the blades do not spin? Homeowners will often hear a grinding noise, as if the disposal is trying to kick on, but nothing follows.

In this case, the issue could be due to the blades being jammed into place. Turn off the garbage disposal and unplug the unit. Next, use a flashlight to look into the disposal drain. Often there is an item lodged between the blades and the disposal wall that is preventing the blades from spinning. Remove any objects in the way, and using a wrench or long sturdy handle, try to spin the blades. Once they are moving, plug back in the unit, hit the reset button on the bottom, and test out the disposal.

If the unit still doesn’t spin, the garbage disposal motor may have burned out. In this case, the motor will need to be replaced by a professional plumber.

The Disposal Is Leaking

If a pool of water is forming underneath the garbage disposal, a leak has most likely formed in one of three common areas:

  • Where the flange connects to the sink
  • In the hose that connects the dishwasher to the disposal
  • In the hose that connects the disposal to the drain

To troubleshoot a leak, try running the disposal while looking underneath the sink. Look at the three main areas outlined above and locate where the leak is occurring.

In the case of a flange leak, it will be necessary to remove the existing disposal flange and install a new one with a better seal. In the case of either hose leaking, the connections around the hose may need to be tightened down or replaced.

Tips to Prevent Future Issues

Garbage disposals make kitchen work convenient, and when they stop working properly, it can be a headache. The following tips will help homeowners prevent issues before they occur.


  • Clean the garbage disposal regularly with natural products, such as lemon juice or vinegar. Simply pour ¼ cup of vinegar or lemon juice into the garbage disposal and allow the liquid to sit for 10-15 minutes. Next, run cold water and turn the disposal on to clear the liquid out.
  • Use ice cubes to periodically sharpen the blades. Simply throw a handful of small ice cubes into the disposal and run the blades.
  • Rinse the unit after use to prevent the build-up of grime.


  • Pour grease down the disposal. Hot grease will harden and clog up the disposal lines.
  • Put inedible items down the drain, such as cigarette butts, paper, or any other solid objects. These will cause the blades to jam in place and can also dull the blades over time.
  • Throw egg shells, fruit pits, rice, or coffee grounds in the disposal. These items will create a silt that becomes immovable as it builds up in the bottom of the unit.
  • Overload the unit. Put small amounts of food scraps into the disposal at a time.

Clogged Not Broken

In some cases, your garbage disposal might not be broken; it may simply be clogged. For clogs, follow this guide: How to Unclog a Kitchen Sink with a Garbage Disposal |

Products to Help Keep a Garbage Disposal Working

In addition to following the above do’s and don’ts, there are certain products that will help keep a garbage disposal working at its best. Consider investing in the following new, upgraded accessories.

Disposal Flanges

Disposal flanges connect the disposal to the sink. These fixtures act as a mounting component and play an important role in preventing leaks. Over time, these flanges can wear out, requiring a quick replacement. Not only that, but upgrading the disposal flange can improve the look of the unit and help prevent large objects from falling into the disposal.

Disposal Air Gaps

Disposal air gaps are used to prevent contaminated water from a disposal from flowing back into the dishwasher in the case of a clog. There are two hoses on an air gap, one is attached to the dishwasher’s drain line, and one is attached to the garbage disposal drain line. At the top of the air gap is a decorative head that is located above the sink adjacent to the faucet.

If a garbage disposal becomes clogged, the air gap will allow dirty water to pour through the head of the air gap into the sink. This prevents dirty water from, instead, backing up into the dishwasher. This accessory is an important addition for kitchens with both a disposal and a dishwasher.

New Kitchen Sink Drains With Built-In Strainers

In most kitchens, there will be two drains present — one with a disposal and one with a normal drain. Upgrading the adjacent kitchen sink drains to one with a built-in strainer can help prevent clogs. This allows homeowners to catch items that need to be washed off of dishes but are not compatible with the disposal. This can go a long way in protecting the disposal from pits, eggshells, rice, potato peels, and other items that will not be broken down easily.

Shop Kingston Brass for Garbage Disposal Products

Garbage disposals make a great addition to the kitchen. And, when they are working properly, they help make daily cleanups a breeze. For the latest and best in garbage disposal accessories, shop Kingston Brass. Not only will these accessories help homeowners keep their disposal operating smoothly, but they will also allow homeowners to upgrade the style of the unit. From oil-rubbed bronze to polished chrome, Kingston Brass carries garbage disposal accessories in premium finishes and styles. Find the perfect fit for any kitchen design today.

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