How to Fix a Jammed Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals sometimes jam on debris, or trip a circuit breaker when it’s overloaded. It might seem like the disposal has no power, is humming or simply won’t turn on. If that happens, you just need to take these quick steps to repair the jammed garbage disposal:

How to Fix a Jammed Garbage Disposal

  • Turn the garbage disposal on and off quickly and check to see if it has power. If it hums, the power is on but the blade is jammed. If it doesn’t hum, you may have tripped the reset button or the circuit breaker.
  • Restore power to the machine. Most disposals have an switch that can trip. To reset the switch, look for a small button on the bottom of the disposal, and if it’s there, push it in. If your disposal doesn’t have an overload switch or the machine still won’t run after you reset the switch, reset the circuit breaker that serves the disposal.
  • Clear the jam from underneath. On many disposals, you can insert a 1/4-inch Allen wrench into the bottom of the housing and manually move the blade to break-up the jam.
  • If needed, remove the foreign debris. Unplug the unit or turn off the circuit breaker that controls the garbage disposal. Reach inside with a pair of pliers and pull out whatever jammed the machine.

Read more about for preventing plumbing emergencies and jammed disposals while you cook or host family this fall.