There’s something so relaxing about the end of the day, right? That time of day when the sun has set, dinner is done, and the kids are in bed. The only thing left to do is wash the dishes. You go to clean the sink when suddenly…


Your garbage disposal starts making a horrible grinding sound. You turn it off as quickly as you can, but the damage is done.

A broken garbage disposal is a pain, but it doesn’t have to be a major source of stress. Instead, you just need a few tips and tricks up your sleeve.

No need to Google “how to fix garbage disposal.” We’ve got all the information you need right here!

Why Is My Garbage Disposal Broken?

A garbage disposal is a nifty little tool that sits inside of your sink drain and allows you to grind up bits of food waste that would otherwise clog up your plumbing system.

However, any homeowner will tell you that they are known for being finicky from time to time. So, how do they break in the first place?

man using sink with garbage disposal to peel vegetables

  • Miscellaneous Objects – When you have a sink full of dishes, it is easy not to notice when a stray fork drops down the drain. When you turn your garbage disposal on, you come face to face with a horrible noise, a broken fork, and a jammed garbage disposal.
  • Misuse – While a garbage disposal unit is designed to help get rid of food waste, many homeowners frequently misuse it. This could come in the form of allowing large pieces of food to go down the drain or food items that are too hard for the disposal unit to grind.
  • Electrical Issues – A less common but possible source of your problem could be an issue with the wiring of your garbage disposal.

6 Tips to Fix Your Garbage Disposal

Ready to fix the problem? Here are some easy DIY tips and tricks you can dry to get your garbage disposal back into working order.

1) Turn Off Power

Before you do anything with your garbage disposal, it is deeply important that you cut the power! Leaving the power on could result in electric shock and serious injury if you are not careful. Remember: safety comes first and is more important than a quick fix.

You can do this by going to your circuit breaker. You will then flip the switch that connects to your kitchen. This will help you create a safer working environment.

2) Identify the Problem

Before you dive in headfirst, double check to see if you can identify what the main issue is. Is the garbage disposal humming? Is there a leak? Is it not turning on at all?

All of these are clues that can help inform your next steps. For example, if your garbage disposal hums when you turn it on, it is an indicator that you are having issues with your flywheel. If it won’t turn on at all, you are likely dealing with an electrical circuit issue.

new garbage disposal having problems

3) Remove Any Objects

The most obvious culprit when it comes to garbage disposal problems is an object stuck in the drain. Once the electricity has been turned off, you can use a long object like a pair of tongs to reach down the drain and remove the fallen object. Do not stick your hand into the drain. Garbage disposals have sharp blades that could seriously injure you.

4) Replace the Flywheel

If you garbage disposal hums every time you turn it on, you are likely dealing with a broken flywheel. This usually occurred when it has been jammed with food or a piece of silverware. As usual, turn the power off, and then you can remove the object that is stuck there. If that doesn’t solve the problem, you can use a wrench to dislodge the stuck flywheel.

A broken flywheel often trips the disposal’s reset button. After you turn the power back on press the reset button for a disposal that works just like new.

5) Check for Leaks

Dealing with a leaky garbage disposal? Your first step should be to quickly clean up all of the water that has dripped underneath the sink to avoid damaging your cabinets and floors. You can then find the source of the leak and either try tightening the bolts with a wrench or use a little bit of plumbers putty at the seams of your pipe to try and stop the leak.

6) Break Up Clogs

Sometimes large bits of food can get past the disposal and get stuck in the drain pipe. If this is the case, you can try dissolving it with a baking soda and vinegar solution, followed by boiling water. If this doesn’t work, you may have to carefully remove the curved section of your pipe, known as the P-Trap, and clean it out.

How Much Does a New Garbage Disposal Cost?

In some cases, your garbage disposal may be impossible to fix or simply be too old to really be worth it. If that is the case, don’t worry. A new garbage disposal is relatively inexpensive. Typically, they cost between $150-$250. While they aren’t too difficult to install on your own, be sure to consult with a plumbing professional if you have any doubts about your own ability.

Get Help From a Pro Plumber!

Need a hand? Paladin Plumbing has you covered. Our expert plumbers are ready and waiting to tackle all of your plumbing needs. Whether you are looking to stop a leak, install a new garbage disposal, or revamp your plumbing system, we can help. Contact us today to set up your free consultation!