Repairing a Garbage Disposal (Disposer)

August 11, 2011

Repairing a Garbage Disposal (Disposer), Man's hands holding a power screwdriver to a garbage disposal.If your disposal hums but doesn't turn:

  1. Turn the power off.
  2. Use a flashlight to check if something is stuck.
  3. If there appears to be something stuck, unplug the disposal or shut off the breaker before putting your hand in to remove the object.
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  5. If there is no apparent blockage, use the "Z" shaped wrench that came with the disposal, insert in the bottom and turn.
  6. If you can't find the wrench, a broom handle inserted into the disposal and turned will do in a pinch.
  7. If there was no hum, check to make sure it is plugged in and/or the breaker wasn't tripped.
  8. If this doesn't work, replace the disposal.

By dakota from Denver, CO

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8 More Solutions

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September 1, 2011

I was told once when renting an apartment when my garbage disposal was stuck, and not working like it was suppose to. Take a broom handle and swirling it around turning the blades as you go round and round.



Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community.

April 17, 2017

My disposal has not worked for months. It stopped moving or even making noise. The reset button doesn't work and a hex wrench doesn't seem to fit on this model (I've used it on previous models). Also, the water will not drain.

Sometimes I can get it to go down to a certain point, but not all the way. When I run the dishwasher, the sink fills with water, but then goes back down. I can't figure out exactly what I need to do or fix. Please help!

Disposal Not Working and Drain Clogged - disposal tag photo


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
April 17, 20170 found this helpful

You need to clear the clog first. Then unplug the disposal and check that. Family Handyman has an article with pictures:


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
April 19, 20170 found this helpful

call the 800 number on the sticker and ask them what size hex. Lowe's will have them or they may even send you one.


Have you tried putting baking soda in it, then pouring in boiling vinegar? It cleans out many clogs.


Gold Feedback Medal for All Time! 949 Feedbacks
April 23, 20170 found this helpful

Ace Hardware (if you have one in your area) will usually help with finding the correct size wrench but their site states you can use a standard 1/4-inch Allen wrench.
Or you can order the correct one here (jam buster wrench):

If you have not been able to clear it you might ask support. Here is a link that might be able to answer your question.

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May 3, 2018

There is water leaking from the strain relief plug on my garbage disposal. Will replacing the strain relief plug stop the leaking or should the whole garbage disposal need to be replaced?

It is over two years old.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 677 Posts
May 3, 20180 found this helpful

You just may need to replace the putty around the sink flange


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 255 Posts
May 6, 20180 found this helpful

Husband says try to replace the plug. Also says to remember, that garbage disposals are a mixture of water and electricity. So, if that doesn't work, call a plumber or replace the entire unit.

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November 7, 2011

Which way is a garbage disposal suppose to spin clockwise or counter clockwise?

By Ez from Cincinnati


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
November 9, 20110 found this helpful

How old is the disposal? How often do you use it? It might simply be time to replace it. The life of an average garbage disposal is anywhere from 5 to 10 years and the chopping life function depends on the type of blades it has.


I don't know if it's possible but if you're handy and it's doable perhaps you could check into replacing the blades?


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
November 9, 20110 found this helpful

PS, I have no clue which direction a disposal spins. You could probably find out by calling a disposal manufacturer. ;-)

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December 12, 2014

It just makes a noise. How can I fix it?

By Nancy


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
December 13, 20140 found this helpful

Here is a great link.

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August 22, 2013

My garbage disposal is makings metal shavings under the sink. It seems to be working alright, but makes a mess under the sink. What causes this and what can I do to correct it?

By Bernice W


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 270 Feedbacks
August 24, 20130 found this helpful

You need to disconnect the power to this disposer and then remove it. Something is wrong and and you could get hurt. If you can't, call a plumber.


Do not stick anything down it, do not try to fix it while it is connect to electricity.

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July 11, 2012

How do you clear a garbage disposal?

By Nancy S


July 12, 20120 found this helpful

You say clearing not cleaning so, Every disposal comes with an allen wrench that fits into a hole made to accept the wrench in the bottom of the disposal. Turn the wrench counterclock wise. If you do not have the wrench go to a hardware store or a big box store and buy one. The people in the appliance or plumbing area will know what they are and how to use it. If you mean cleaning run ice cubes through the unit.

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August 8, 2017

If your garbage disposal is not working, there could be several reasons for that. This is a page about troubleshooting your garbage disposal.

Vegetable scraps in a sink with a garbage disposal.

Home and Garden Repair Home Garbage DisposalAugust 5, 2011
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