How to Fix a Jammed Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals can sometimes get jammed and are typically a quick fix. Follow our 4 step process below to unjam your garbage disposal in less than 5 minutes.
1. Unplug the unit
You want to make sure the unit is unplugged from the outlet to ensure it won’t activate while you are working on it.
2. Press the reset button
The garbage disposal unit and motor are found directly underneath the sink it’s installed on. On the underside of the garbage disposal there should be a reset button, if it looks like it’s sticking out, press in back in to reset the unit. This may resolve the jam right away, plug the unit back in and see if the disposal is now working. The reset button will continue to pop out if the unit is overheated, give it 15 minutes to cool down before giving up on this option. If this doesn’t resolve the jam, move on to the next step.
3. Manually remove blockages
Grab a flashlight and look into the garbage disposal drain. Turn the light in all directions especially the outer edges since this is where blockages typically happen. Find the teeth of the disposal blades on the outer edge and see if there’s anything stuck in them. If you do see something blocking the blade, get a pair of tongs or pliers and use them to release any jams you may see. Plug the unit back in and see if that resolves the problem. Move on to the next step if it doesn’t.
4. Rotate the disposal blades
Each new disposal is equipped with an Allen wrench that will allow you to rotate the disposal blades from underneath the unit. If you’ve lost your wrench, any ¼” Allen wrench will do. Again, make sure the unit is unplugged from the outlet. Climb underneath the sink and find the hole on the disposal’s underside. It will be hexagonal-shaped and in the center. Insert the Allen wrench head into the hole and crank the wrench to turn the disposal’s motor shaft. First, rotate the wrench in one direction and then reverse and go the other direction. Continue cranking the wrench back and forth until you are able to rotate it in a complete circle. It’s ok to apply force while doing this, the unit is designed to allow you to be able to dislodge the blades this way. Plug the unit back in and turn on the cold water and then turn on the garbage disposal to see if it now works.
If none of the above options work, it might be time to replace your garbage disposal.