Garbage Disposal Quit Working : Fix It in Minutes

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If your garbage disposal has stopped working, it may be due to a lack of power or a jammed blade.

Lack Of Power Supply

The lack of power supply is one of the common reasons why your garbage disposal may have suddenly quit working. When your garbage disposal lacks power, it becomes unresponsive and fails to perform its primary function of shredding food waste. There are a few factors that could contribute to this issue, such as a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker, and loose wiring connections.

Blown Fuse Or Tripped Circuit Breaker

One possible reason why your garbage disposal has stopped working is due to a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker. The garbage disposal is typically connected to an electrical circuit that is protected by a fuse or circuit breaker in your home’s electrical panel. Sometimes, the power surge or overload caused by the garbage disposal can trip the circuit breaker or blow a fuse, cutting off the power supply to the appliance.

If you suspect that this may be the issue, you can follow these simple steps to check and resolve the problem:

  1. Locate your home’s electrical panel. It is usually located in the basement, utility room, or garage.
  2. Open the panel door to reveal the circuit breakers or fuses.
  3. Look for a tripped breaker or a blown fuse. A tripped breaker will be positioned in a middle position between “ON” and “OFF,” while a blown fuse will appear black or have a broken wire inside.
  4. If you find a tripped breaker, flip it back to the “ON” position. In the case of a blown fuse, replace it with a new one of the same amperage.
  5. Once the breaker is reset or the fuse is replaced, test the garbage disposal to see if it now has power.

Loose Wiring Connections

Another potential cause for a lack of power supply to your garbage disposal is loose wiring connections. Over time, the constant vibration and movement of the disposal unit can cause the electrical connections to come loose, resulting in a loss of power.

To determine if loose wiring connections are the issue and fix it, you can follow these steps:

  1. Ensure the power supply to the garbage disposal is turned off. You can do this by turning off the corresponding circuit breaker or unplugging the disposal from the outlet.
  2. Using a screwdriver, remove the cover plate located at the bottom of the disposal unit to access the wiring connections.
  3. Inspect the wiring connections and tighten any loose screws or connectors. Make sure the wires are securely fastened.
  4. Once you have tightened the connections, replace the cover plate.
  5. Restore power to the garbage disposal and test if it is now functioning properly.

By checking for a blown fuse or tripped circuit breaker and addressing loose wiring connections, you can often restore power to your garbage disposal and get it working again. If these troubleshooting steps do not solve the problem, it may be a good idea to consult a professional electrician to diagnose and fix the issue.

Jammed Garbage Disposal

Discovering that your garbage disposal has jammed can be quite frustrating, especially when you have a sink-full of food waste that needs to be taken care of. A jammed garbage disposal can disrupt your daily routine and cause inconvenience in the kitchen. However, with a little bit of knowledge and troubleshooting, you can get your garbage disposal back up and running smoothly in no time.

Foreign Objects Stuck In The Disposal

One of the common reasons for a jammed garbage disposal is the presence of foreign objects that have somehow found their way into the unit. From small utensils like spoons and forks to accidental drops of kitchen tools, these objects can hinder the proper functioning of the disposal system. If your disposal has suddenly stopped working, it’s important to check for any foreign objects that may have become wedged in the grinding chamber.

If you do find an object stuck in the garbage disposal, it’s best to turn off the power before attempting to remove it. This will prevent any accidental injuries. Using a pair of tongs or pliers, try gently grabbing the object and carefully pulling it out. If you’re unable to reach the object or it’s too firmly lodged, it’s advisable to call a professional plumber to avoid causing further damage to the disposal.

Resetting The Disposal

An effective troubleshooting technique for a jammed garbage disposal is to reset the unit. This can help resolve minor electrical issues or temporary malfunctions that may have caused the jam. To reset the disposal, locate the small red reset button underneath the unit. Firmly press the button, and you should hear a click. This indicates that the disposal has been reset.

After resetting, run cold water into the sink and turn on the disposal to see if it starts working again. If the disposal still remains jammed or continues to malfunction, it may be necessary to seek professional help to diagnose and fix the problem.

Keep in mind that prevention is always better than having to deal with a jammed garbage disposal. Avoid putting large chunks of food waste and non-food items down the disposal to minimize the risk of clogs. Regularly cleaning the disposal, using citrus peels or ice cubes, can also help maintain its performance and prevent future jams.

Worn Out Or Broken Parts

When it comes to garbage disposals, one of the most common issues that homeowners face is a unit that suddenly stops working. If you find yourself in this situation, chances are that the problem lies with worn out or broken parts.

Dull Blades

Garbage disposals rely on sharp blades to effectively grind up food waste. Over time, these blades can become dull due to regular use or misuse. If your garbage disposal is making a humming noise but not actually grinding up the food, dull blades could be the culprit.

When the blades are dull, they are unable to slice through the food waste properly, resulting in a clog. This can also put additional strain on the motor. Trying to force the disposal to work with dull blades can result in further damage to the unit.

If you suspect that the garbage disposal’s blades are dull, it’s best to call a professional to have them replaced. Only a professional technician will have the knowledge and tools to safely and accurately replace the blades, ensuring that your garbage disposal returns to full functionality.

Malfunctioning Motor

An essential component of a garbage disposal is its motor, which powers the grinding process. If the motor is not functioning properly, the disposal may stop working altogether. There are various reasons why a garbage disposal motor may malfunction.

One possible issue is motor overload. Overloading the disposal with heavy or too much food waste can cause the motor to overheat and shut off as a safety mechanism. In such cases, simply giving the motor some time to cool down may solve the problem.

Another potential cause of a malfunctioning motor is electrical issues. Power surges or wiring problems can disrupt the motor’s operation, rendering the disposal inoperable. In such cases, it is best to consult an electrician to diagnose and resolve the electrical issue.

However, if the motor is beyond repair or completely burned out, a replacement motor may be necessary. As replacing the motor can be a complex task, it is advisable to reach out to a professional to handle the job.

In conclusion, when your garbage disposal quits working, worn out or broken parts are often to blame. Dull blades can lead to ineffective grinding and clogs, while a malfunctioning motor can result in a complete shutdown. Consulting a professional technician to replace dull blades or repair or replace the motor can save you from unnecessary frustration and expense.

Clogged Drain Line

One of the most common issues homeowners face with their garbage disposals is a clogged drain line. Over time, food particles, grease, and other debris can build up in the drain line, causing water to back up and the disposal to stop working. If you’re facing this frustrating problem, don’t worry – a few simple steps can help you clear the clog and get your garbage disposal back in working order.

Clearing The Drain Line

To clear a clogged drain line, follow these steps:

  1. Start by turning off the power to your garbage disposal. This can be done by switching off the circuit breaker or unplugging the unit.
  2. Once the power is off, locate the drain pipe that connects the disposal to your plumbing system. This pipe is usually located under the sink.
  3. Place a bucket or a towel underneath the drain pipe to catch any water or debris that may spill out.
  4. Using a wrench or pliers, disconnect the drain pipe from the disposal. Be prepared for some water to come out, so it’s important to have the bucket or towel in place.
  5. Inspect the drain pipe for any clogs or obstructions. You can use a flashlight to get a better look. If you see any debris, remove it using a long-handled brush or a wire hanger.
  6. Once the drain pipe is clear, reattach it to the disposal and tighten the connections.
  7. Turn the power back on and test your garbage disposal. It should now be working properly. If the problem persists, you may need to consider other options like calling a professional plumber.

Using A Plunger To Unclog The Line

If clearing the drain line manually doesn’t solve the problem, you can try using a plunger to unclog the line. Here’s how:

  1. Fill the sink with a few inches of water to provide a seal for the plunger.
  2. Place the plunger over the drain opening and ensure a tight seal is formed.
  3. Push the plunger up and down vigorously, using quick and forceful motions. This action should create enough suction to dislodge the clog.
  4. After plunging for a few minutes, remove the plunger and run water into the sink to see if the clog is cleared. If not, repeat the process a few more times.
  5. Once the clog is cleared, run hot water down the drain for a few minutes to flush out any remaining debris.
  6. Test your garbage disposal to ensure it’s working properly.

By following these methods to clear a clogged drain line, you can restore your garbage disposal’s functionality without the need for professional help. Remember to exercise caution and take necessary safety measures while working with the disposal and plumbing components. And if the problem persists or you’re unsure about performing these steps yourself, it’s always best to consult a qualified plumber.


Checking The Power Supply

If your garbage disposal suddenly quits working, before assuming the worst, it is essential to check the power supply. Many times, a simple issue with the power connection can be the cause of the problem. By inspecting the fuse box and testing the circuit breaker, you can quickly determine if this is the case.

Inspecting The Fuse Box

Begin by checking the fuse box in your home. Locate the fuse that corresponds to your kitchen appliances and garbage disposal. Check if the fuse is blown or damaged. A blown fuse will have a broken, darkened filament, while a damaged fuse may have burn marks or visible signs of overloading. If the fuse appears to be the issue, replace it with a new one of the same amperage. Remember to always turn off the power before touching the fuse box to avoid electrical hazards.

Testing The Circuit Breaker

If the fuse is intact and functioning correctly, the next step is to test the circuit breaker. Locate the circuit breaker panel, which is usually found in the basement, utility room, or garage. Open the panel and look for the breaker that controls the kitchen or garbage disposal.

Check if the breaker is in the “on” position. If it is already flipped to the “on” position, it would be helpful to try cycling the switch by turning it off and then back on again. This action may reset any tripped breakers. However, if the breaker keeps tripping repeatedly, it could indicate a more significant electrical issue and may require professional assistance.

In summary, when your garbage disposal stops working, the first step is to check the power supply. Start by inspecting the fuse box and replacing any blown or damaged fuses. Then, test the circuit breaker by ensuring it is in the “on” position and resetting it if necessary. By addressing potential power supply issues, you can save yourself time, money, and the hassle of more complicated repairs.

Identifying And Removing The Jam

If you have a garbage disposal, you know how frustrating it can be when it suddenly stops working. One common culprit for a malfunctioning garbage disposal is a jammed or blocked mechanism. However, instead of calling a plumber right away, you can try identifying and removing the jam yourself. In this section, we will go over the necessary steps to get your garbage disposal up and running again.

Turning Off The Power

The first step to safely removing a jam from your garbage disposal is to turn off the power. You don’t want any accidental mishaps while attempting to dislodge the object causing the jam. To turn off the power to your garbage disposal, follow these steps:

  1. Locate the electrical panel in your home.
  2. Find the circuit breaker that controls the garbage disposal.
  3. Switch off the circuit breaker to cut off the power supply.

Turning off the power ensures that you can work on the disposal without the risk of electric shock. It is a crucial safety measure that should not be skipped.

Manually Dislodging The Object

After you have turned off the power, you can now focus on manually dislodging the object causing the jam. Remember to avoid sticking your hand directly into the disposal chamber. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Take a flashlight and shine it into the disposal chamber. Look for any visible obstructions, such as utensils, hard objects, or large food particles.
  2. If you see an object, use a pair of pliers or tongs to carefully remove it. Be gentle and avoid applying too much force, as it may damage the disposal.
  3. If the jam is not visible, look underneath the disposal for a small hex-shaped hole or an Allen wrench socket.
  4. Insert an Allen wrench into the hole or socket and turn it back and forth a few times to manually rotate the disposal mechanism. This action may help to dislodge any stuck object.

Once you have manually dislodged the object causing the jam, it’s time to test the garbage disposal. Turn the power back on at the electrical panel and run some water to see if the disposal is working properly. If it is still not functioning correctly, make sure to contact a professional plumber for further assistance.

By following these steps, you can potentially save yourself the hassle and expense of calling a plumber to fix your garbage disposal. Just remember to exercise caution, especially when dealing with sharp objects or electrical components. With a little patience and care, you can get your garbage disposal back in working order in no time.

Replacing Worn Out Or Broken Parts

Replacing The Blades

If your garbage disposal has suddenly quit working, one of the common culprits could be worn-out or broken parts. When it comes to garbage disposals, the blades play a crucial role in chopping up the food waste into smaller pieces, allowing it to be easily flushed away. Over time, these blades can become dull or damaged, which can lead to poor performance or a complete malfunction of your disposal unit.

So, how do you go about replacing the blades of your garbage disposal?

  1. Start by turning off the power to your garbage disposal. Locate the circuit breaker that controls the unit and flip it to the “off” position. This will ensure your safety while working on the appliance.
  2. Next, remove the hopper chamber by loosening the mounting screws that hold it in place. Set the hopper chamber aside.
  3. With the hopper chamber removed, you will now have access to the blades. Carefully examine them for any signs of wear or damage. If they are dull or chipped, it’s time to replace them.
  4. To remove the old blades, unscrew the retaining nut located at the center of the blades. Use a wrench or pliers to loosen it and then lift off the blades.
  5. Now, it’s time to install the new blades. Place them onto the shaft and secure them with the retaining nut. Make sure to tighten it properly to avoid any future issues.
  6. Once the new blades are securely in place, reattach the hopper chamber by tightening the mounting screws. Make sure everything is properly aligned and secure.
  7. Finally, turn the power back on by flipping the circuit breaker to the “on” position. Test your garbage disposal to see if the new blades have resolved the issue.

Installing A New Motor

If replacing the blades didn’t solve the problem and your garbage disposal still isn’t working, the next step is to consider installing a new motor. The motor is the heart of the garbage disposal, responsible for powering the blades and ensuring smooth operation. Over time, motors can wear out or become faulty, resulting in a non-functional unit.

Here’s how you can install a new motor for your garbage disposal:

  1. Before you begin, turn off the power to the garbage disposal by switching off the circuit breaker.
  2. Disconnect the power cord from the electrical socket to ensure your safety during the installation process.
  3. Next, remove the hopper chamber by loosening the mounting screws. This will give you access to the motor.
  4. Using a wrench or pliers, disconnect the electrical connections and plumbing connections from the motor. Make sure to keep track of which wires go where.
  5. Once all the connections are detached, unscrew the motor from the mounting bracket and remove it from the appliance.
  6. Take the new motor and attach it to the mounting bracket. Secure it firmly with the screws provided.
  7. Reconnect the electrical and plumbing connections to the new motor, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  8. With everything properly connected, reattach the hopper chamber by tightening the mounting screws.
  9. Finally, turn the power back on by flipping the circuit breaker on and test your newly installed motor to ensure it’s working correctly.

By following these steps, you can easily replace the worn-out or broken parts of your garbage disposal. Whether it’s the blades or the motor causing the issue, these DIY repairs can save you time and money, restoring your garbage disposal’s functionality.

Garbage Disposal Quit Working


Clearing A Clogged Drain Line

Dealing with a Garbage Disposal that has quit working can be frustrating, especially when it’s due to a clogged drain line. A clog in the drain line can lead to a backup of water and debris, causing the garbage disposal to stop functioning effectively. However, there are a few simple steps you can take to clear the clog and get your garbage disposal back up and running smoothly.

Using A Plunger To Clear The Clog

If you notice that your garbage disposal isn’t draining properly, a plunger can often do the trick in clearing the clog. Here’s how you can use a plunger to get the job done:

  1. Ensure that the garbage disposal is turned off and unplugged for safety.
  2. Place the plunger over the drain opening, making sure it creates a tight seal.
  3. Push the plunger down firmly and then pull it up quickly, repeating the motion several times.
  4. After a few attempts, remove the plunger and check if the water starts to drain. If it does, the clog may have been cleared. If not, you may need to try an alternative method.

Running Water To Flush Out Debris

If using a plunger doesn’t resolve the issue, another method you can try is running water to flush out the debris causing the clog. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Make sure the garbage disposal is off and unplugged.
  2. Fill the sink with enough water to cover the drain opening.
  3. Quickly remove the stopper or cover from the drain and let the water flow forcefully down the drain.
  4. If the water drains freely and the clog is cleared, you can turn the garbage disposal back on to see if it’s working again.
  5. If the water doesn’t drain and the clog persists, you may need to seek professional help to prevent further damage to your garbage disposal.

Clearing a clogged drain line can sometimes be a simple DIY task, saving you time and money. By using a plunger and running water to flush out debris, you can often restore the functionality of your garbage disposal. However, if the clog persists, it’s best to consult a professional plumber to prevent any further complications. Now that you know these methods, you can confidently tackle a clogged drain line and get your garbage disposal back in working order.

Regular Cleaning

Regular cleaning is key to maintaining a well-functioning garbage disposal. Over time, food residue, grease, and other debris can build up and cause your disposal to stop working efficiently, or worse, completely grind to a halt.

Diy Natural Cleaners

When it comes to cleaning your garbage disposal, natural cleaners can be just as effective as commercial products while being gentler on both your disposal and the environment. Here are a few DIY natural cleaners you can easily whip up:

  1. Vinegar and Baking Soda: This dynamic duo is great at cutting through grease and eliminating odors. Simply pour a cup of vinegar down the disposal, let it sit for a few minutes, and then sprinkle half a cup of baking soda. Let the mixture fizz for a while before rinsing it away with hot water.
  2. Lemon and Ice: Not only does this cleaner help eliminate odors, but it also helps remove any stuck-on debris. Cut a lemon into quarters, drop them into the disposal, and run cold water. The lemon will freshen up the disposal, while the ice helps dislodge any food particles.
  3. Salt and Water: Mix equal parts of salt and water to create a powerful cleaning solution. Pour the mixture down the disposal, scrub the interior walls with a brush, and then rinse it away. The salt acts as an abrasive, helping to break down grime and residue.

Avoiding Harsh Chemicals

While it may be tempting to reach for those strong chemical cleaners, they can actually harm your garbage disposal in the long run. Harsh chemicals can corrode the metal components of your disposal and even damage the pipes. Instead, opt for natural cleaners as mentioned earlier or consider the following alternative methods:

  • Boiling Water: A simple yet effective method is to pour boiling water down the disposal. This helps flush away any grease or debris that might be causing issues.
  • Ice and Rock Salt: Drop some ice cubes and a handful of rock salt into the disposal, turn it on, and let it grind away. The combination of ice and salt helps to break up any built-up debris, leaving your disposal clean and fresh.
  • Baking Soda and Salt: Combine half a cup of baking soda with half a cup of salt and pour the mixture down the disposal. Let it sit for a while, then pour boiling water to rinse it away. This method helps to loosen and remove stubborn grime.

By regularly cleaning your garbage disposal with DIY natural cleaners and avoiding harsh chemicals, you can keep your disposal in top-notch condition and prevent unexpected breakdowns. Remember to always follow proper safety precautions and consult your disposal’s user manual for specific cleaning instructions.

Proper Operation

Proper operation is crucial to maintaining the functionality of your garbage disposal. By adhering to a few simple practices, you can extend the life of your appliance and avoid unnecessary breakdowns. In this section, we will discuss two essential aspects of proper operation: avoiding hard or fibrous foods and running cold water before and after use.

Avoiding Hard Or Fibrous Foods

One of the most common causes for a garbage disposal to quit working is the presence of hard or fibrous foods. These types of materials can cause damage to the blades and motor, leading to clogs and malfunctions. To ensure the proper functioning of your garbage disposal, it is important to avoid disposing of the following:

  • Bones
  • Hard shells (such as crab or lobster shells)
  • Fruit pits
  • Large seeds
  • Stringy vegetables (like celery or corn husks)

Instead, opt for cutting these items into smaller pieces and disposing of them in your regular trash. By doing so, you can prevent unnecessary strain on your garbage disposal and maintain its efficiency.

Running Cold Water Before And After Use

Running cold water before and after using your garbage disposal is another important step in its proper operation. Cold water helps solidify any grease or fats that may have entered the disposal, making it easier for the blades to chop them up and flush them out of the system. Additionally, cold water keeps the motor from overheating during extended use.

Before turning on the garbage disposal, allow the cold water to run for a few seconds to fill the sink. Once you have finished using the disposal, continue to run cold water for at least 15 seconds to ensure all waste has been flushed away. This simple practice can help prevent clogs and keep your garbage disposal running smoothly.

Routine Inspections

Regularly inspecting your garbage disposal is a crucial step in preventing unexpected breakdowns and ensuring its optimal functionality. By conducting routine inspections, you can promptly identify and address any issues before they turn into major problems. This not only saves you from the inconvenience of a malfunctioning disposal but also helps prolong its lifespan. In this article, we will discuss two essential aspects of routine inspections: checking for leaks or loose connections and lubricating moving parts.

Checking For Leaks Or Loose Connections

One of the first things you should inspect during your routine garbage disposal check-up is the presence of leaks or loose connections. These issues can cause water damage to your kitchen cabinets or even create electrical hazards. To check for leaks, start by visually examining the area around your disposal unit. Look for any signs of water accumulation, such as dampness or discoloration. Additionally, run your hand along the pipes attached to the disposal to check for any moisture.

If you detect any leaks or suspect loose connections, it is important to address them promptly. Start by tightening any loose connections using a wrench or pliers. Ensure that the connections are secure and snug. If you notice persistent leaks, you may need to replace the faulty parts or seek professional assistance. Remember, acting swiftly can prevent further damage to your disposal and save you from costly repairs in the long run.

Lubricating Moving Parts

Another crucial aspect of routine inspections is lubricating the moving parts of your garbage disposal. Over time, the constant grinding of food waste can cause friction, leading to wear and tear on the disposal’s components. By regularly lubricating these parts, you can reduce friction and enhance the overall performance of your unit.

To lubricate the moving parts, start by disconnecting the power supply to ensure your safety. Refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to identify the specific locations that require lubrication. Common parts that may benefit from lubrication include the flywheel bearings and the shredder ring. Apply a lubricant recommended by the manufacturer, typically a food-grade silicone or a specific product designed for garbage disposals.

After applying the lubricant, manually rotate the flywheel using an allen wrench or a wooden dowel to distribute the lubricant evenly. This helps ensure that all the necessary parts are adequately coated. Once completed, you can reconnect the power supply and test the functionality of your disposal. Remember, regular lubrication can extend the life of your garbage disposal and prevent unnecessary breakdowns.

By incorporating these routine inspections into your household maintenance schedule, you can prevent unexpected garbage disposal malfunctions and prolong its lifespan. Checking for leaks or loose connections and lubricating moving parts are simple yet effective measures that can go a long way in maintaining the optimal performance of your disposal. Dedicate some time to these inspections, and you’ll enjoy a smoothly running garbage disposal for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions On Garbage Disposal Quit Working

Why Did My Garbage Disposal Stop Working Suddenly?

There could be several reasons why your garbage disposal suddenly stopped working. It could be due to a tripped circuit breaker, a clogged drain, a faulty motor, or a jammed disposal unit. Checking these common issues can help you identify the cause and determine if you need to repair or replace your garbage disposal.

How Can I Troubleshoot A Jammed Garbage Disposal?

To troubleshoot a jammed garbage disposal, start by turning off the power and using a special wrench or an Allen wrench to manually rotate the disposal blades. Remove any debris or objects causing the jam, then restore power and run water to check if the disposal is working correctly.

If the problem persists, you may need to seek professional assistance.

What Should I Do If My Garbage Disposal Smells Bad?

If your garbage disposal smells bad, it’s likely due to accumulated food debris and bacteria. Start by running cold water and grinding ice cubes or citrus peels in the disposal to clean and freshen it. You can also pour a mixture of vinegar and baking soda down the drain, followed by hot water.

Regular maintenance and proper use can help prevent unpleasant odors in the future.

Can I Repair My Garbage Disposal Myself?

While some simple issues can be fixed by homeowners, it’s generally recommended to seek professional assistance for repairing a garbage disposal. Attempting to fix complex problems without the necessary knowledge and tools can lead to further damage or injury. Reach out to a reliable plumber or appliance repair service to ensure a safe and proper repair of your garbage disposal.


A malfunctioning garbage disposal can disrupt our daily routines and create inconveniences in the kitchen. Understanding the common causes and potential solutions is crucial to restoring its functionality. By taking proactive measures and avoiding common mistakes, we can extend the lifespan of our garbage disposal and minimize the need for costly repairs or replacements.

Remember to consult a professional in case of complex issues for a safe and effective resolution.